The Chainlink

I want to hear from everyone, what do you hate about a bike shop? What do you love? What is missing from shops in Chicago?

We are changing our name and want to improve our store. We are Chicago bikers as well as a community bike shop and really want to figure out how a shop can do it best. We are creating more events as well.

What kind of events do people want to participate in? Information sessions? Mechanic workshops? Rides? Social events? Art shows?

Here is what I love and hate:
I hate when a bike shop staff talks down to me.
I love when I can have a great conversation in a bike shop.
I love when someone will go out of their way to order that extra part and call me when it's in.
I hate when a shop simply wants to sell stuff. They don't care about you, they just care about your money.
I love when the staff in a shop is passionate about bikes instead of the paycheck they're recieving that week.
I love when a shop feels inviting.

Your turn. Share some great or bad experiences and what you love, hate, and want to see.

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I have no recollection of any incident involving an Audi. It certainly must be a joke.
I love all you Marauders as well, and will do anything I can through the shop for you. This applies to clink members as well, though I don't necessarily love you all yet.
Martin
Dude, you remember. It was that guy named Audi...really mean european guy that jumped in front of you while we were riding...Man that guy is an a-hole! ;-)

Martin Hazard said:
I have no recollection of any incident involving an Audi. It certainly must be a joke.
I love all you Marauders as well, and will do anything I can through the shop for you. This applies to clink members as well, though I don't necessarily love you all yet.
Martin
Gabe said:
Dude, you remember. It was that guy named Audi...really mean european guy that jumped in front of you while we were riding...Man that guy is an a-hole! ;-)

Martin Hazard said:
I have no recollection of any incident involving an Audi. It certainly must be a joke.
I love all you Marauders as well, and will do anything I can through the shop for you. This applies to clink members as well, though I don't necessarily love you all yet.
Martin

That Audi he is a crazy guy.....
And he was made of metal, rubber and plastic! One weeeeeeird-looking guy!

Gabe said:
Dude, you remember. It was that guy named Audi...really mean european guy that jumped in front of you while we were riding...Man that guy is an a-hole! ;-)

Martin Hazard said:
I have no recollection of any incident involving an Audi. It certainly must be a joke.
I love all you Marauders as well, and will do anything I can through the shop for you. This applies to clink members as well, though I don't necessarily love you all yet.
Martin
That was him! I can't believe it was the same bastard! ;-)


h3 said:
Gabe said:
Dude, you remember. It was that guy named Audi...really mean european guy that jumped in front of you while we were riding...Man that guy is an a-hole! ;-)

Martin Hazard said:
I have no recollection of any incident involving an Audi. It certainly must be a joke.
I love all you Marauders as well, and will do anything I can through the shop for you. This applies to clink members as well, though I don't necessarily love you all yet.
Martin

I think he's isreali, not european. Did he try to get you picture with your bike up over your head?
I wouldn't say woman only, female owned and friendly. Like a women's salon or male specialty spa. =)

h3 said:
I'm still mulling over Ammo's woman-only bike shop.
According to federal law it would actually be legal if the business employed less than 15 employees:
-----
Title VII of the Civil Rights Act of 1964 protects individuals against employment discrimination on the basis of sex as well as race, color, national origin, and religion. Title VII applies to employers with 15 or more employees, including state and local governments. It also applies to employment agencies and to labor organizations, as well as to the federal government.

It is unlawful to discriminate against any employee or applicant for employment because of his/her sex in regard to hiring, termination, promotion, compensation, job training, or any other term, condition, or privilege of employment. Title VII also prohibits employment decisions based on stereotypes and assumptions about abilities, traits, or the performance of individuals on the basis of sex. Title VII prohibits both intentional discrimination and neutral job policies that disproportionately exclude individuals on the basis of sex and that are not job related.

----
I don't know if there is a state or municipal law that overrides though.
You should talk to Claire from Blackstone. She was once upon a time a mechanic at Rapid, and I think Sarah at Westtown (she teaches classes there) knows he stuff as well. There are a few lady wrenches out there. Hopefully, I'll be one too.

Bean said:
I really like to see women in cycling and in bike mechanics. Never ever met another female mechanic from a shop though. As much as I agree, I don't think it matters WHO exactly runs a shop. Tell me more, if a shop was all women, vs. men and women, what advantages would it have for you?

justJason said:
Uptown is woman-owned and has a lot (relatively-speaking) of female employees. And I never get the holier-than-thou/too cool for school intimidation that's unfortunately too prevalent in many shops.

When I was younger and knew about jack-squat, I couldn't STAND when someone at the bike shop would come at me with that clinical bicycle jargon. I'd just sit there and nod and wish I knew what the hell this person was talking about. And I felt because I didn't "talk the talk", I was getting sold an expensive bill of goods that may or may not be what I REALLY needed. I also had a bike shop talk up a bike to me, eventually selling me a 16" MTB (I'm 6'1"); I suspect it was because it was the only model of that bike they had built up at th shop. That STILL pisses me off to this day.

I'd also love to see FUN rides at shops. Not those supposed "no-drop" rides that are still draped in some sort of competitive dressing. That's bound to be off-putting to so many riders, and it kinda stinks of elitism.

Ammo said:
I love when a shop will tell me the extra things I need to know sans attitude.
I love when they go out of thier way to help.

I hate the attitude "you're a girl and you don't know anything about bikes" that I can come across.
I hate it that when I tell them all of what I need they look at me surprised, "wow, you know what a hex wrench is?"

I would like to see an all woman owned shop. There are a lot of women cyclists and I feel we should have a safe haven for workshops (I already know of the existing women's workshops), place to go for advice without feeling intimidated. Either that, or a place that completely revamps their attitudes and keeps an open mind for newbies without the pretentiousness.
i just had a very strange exprerience over OSCAR WASTYN. i was treated very abruptly from, i guess, the elderly owner after making a basket purchase. i got the basket for cheap because they tagged the basket w/ the wrong price, but is that enough reason that "owner" told his guy to avoid helping me.
has anyone had shitty experience at WASTYN or any other shop?
Wastyn is a surly mofo.

thang van ung said:
i just had a very strange exprerience over OSCAR WASTYN. i was treated very abruptly from, i guess, the elderly owner after making a basket purchase. i got the basket for cheap because they tagged the basket w/ the wrong price, but is that enough reason that "owner" told his guy to avoid helping me.
has anyone had shitty experience at WASTYN or any other shop?
great thread and replies.

here are my darts and laurels :

love -

personalized service
discounts (Freebies) for frequent / local / loyal customers
feeling like the owners / employees / wrenches are friends or family; not enemies

hate -

overpricing. 'nuff said.

selling shitty stuff cuz they have agreements with the vendors (a friend bought $1000 wheels
and they put the cheapest rim tape on - he had 3 spoke flats the first ride !)

when they strip off good gruppo and replace it with shit (a famous store in the suburbs lost there
Trek distributorship for doing this (and they sell the group sets separately for more money - talk about
lame)

selling you what they want to sell; and not what you need (if you are a novice or uninformed buyer)
I've seen this done correctly.

bascially assign one (regualr) rider to be the leader. he/she recruits others to keep track of stragglers
(red lights. hills, etc.). this lets them know who to look out for.

people that just latch on are basically on their own.

another option is to have everyone sign in (with or without a liability waiver) pre-ride.
this ensures a correct head count. Then if anyone chooses to end early - they notify a rider
who then notifies to leader to adjust the count at the finish or checkpoints.

good thread btw


Ron said:
Keep your eyes open for the "Winter Solstice Ride". It should be posted here later today or perhaps tomorrow. All are invited and encouraged to attend.

As far as shops go. We are looking for Ideas from all of you. We are starting all over from scratch and want to be less about bottom line and more about the cycling community as a whole.

What works for you? Please tell.

J said:
I see. I ask because I've never really heard of a no-drop shop-sponsored ride open to the public. That would really be odd and unfortunate. But then again, I don't really know which shops in Chicago host rides.
I do know that sometimes this can be confusing, especially if a club/team ride meets or departs from a shop. New and prospective members will show up, and sometimes hop on. And unless there's a clear ride leader, who identifies the new person -- drops or confusion can occur. I've heard plenty of stories like this about the open xxx ride and even down here on the ucvc rides. Sadly, this can turn prospects off of the club without really getting a chance to know other riders.
Bean said:
More of a shop-sponsored ride. Where everyone is invited, meet at a place, have a planned route, and a planned end point being anything from a social gathering to dinner to a work on your bike session.

J said:
Are you referring to shop-sponsored rides or club-sponsored rides or both?
one more thing (saw this at a cool shop in Wisconsin recently)

post group ride happy hours

basically - everyone throws $5 into the pot; and an employee grabs a keg, some wine and some munchies.

then people are more relaxed and more likely to purchase unneeded gadgets and toys that they
just "gotta have" (OK - I am half-kidding here)

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