Sunday, March 7, 2010

Does your bike shop know who you are?

This is a post about loyalty.

Back in CT where I started cycling, there was pretty much only one shop I went to, until they moved and changed owners, which coincidentally was the same time I moved up to school. Now when I go back I go to another shop, which feels a bit friendlier, but still not as awesome as my shop now. Plus, they're never open when I'm at my parents.

When I went to school I lived behind and a street over from a bike shop, which means convenience was the key. I kept going to that shop, and that shop only until I realized they would never change. Neither of the owners seemed to ride, and they never hosted rides. This turned into a big deal since I was forever looking for someone to ride with.

A couple years later (last October) I started looking for a place to bring the bike to for a tuneup. There are four bike shops in Beverly (Google says five, but one went out of business a couple years ago). The first is the one I wasn't happy with, the second is right down the street, and though I've never gone in, I never will. They reek of elitism and trendy, with all those heavy 'beach cruisers' hanging in the window. No thanks. The third I went in to check out, and though it was new, it was way too clean (seriously, bikes are dirty things!), the prices were high and I got a strange vibe. The fourth is my shop of choice, Beverly Cycles.

I went in there on my way back from shop #3 on a whim, and have been back there at least once a week (lately almost everyday). First thing that happened when I walked in was Bill, the owner, asking if I wanted to make myself a sandwich. Then we bullshitted about everything except bikes. Then we actually talked about bikes, and found out his rates, and I had found my new shop. By the third trip I felt like part of the family.

Oh yeah, and they host rides, so far inside, but outside rides are forthcoming. I've met a lot of great friends, and I can't imagine making another shop the place to be Mon/Weds and Fri nights. I even have a nickname.

So, do you have shop loyalty? Does your shop know who you are?


  1. I bought my bike from what is probably the biggest bike shop in town. I still make frequent purchases there. But because of their size, they don't know me, and I can't name any of their clerks or mechanics, although the woman with all the tattoos is unforgettable. (To be fair, I'm in there less than once a month.) I've found another mechanic, who charges less and seems to do better work than I've gotten from these guys, so I guess whatever loyalty I once had for the shop is waning. Oh, and these guys are also big enough that I don't feel guilty if I buy something by mail order. I expect to get a complete fitting for my current bike at a different shop in town, where the owner is renowned for his fitting ability. We'll see if that leads to a more personal relationship.

  2. Yeah I feel ok buying parts elsewhere because, well, parts are expensive, and the same part can usually be found cheapest online. I don't skimp on the install though, having someone who know what they're doing is worth spending a bit extra per hour, but then again, my shop has the best prices.

  3. I've only been into one LBS so far since I started riding on the open road, only because it's close to where I live. I haven't completely introduced myself, but they recognize me as a regular when I shop there.

  4. "They reek of elitism and trendy"
    Funny seeing as how many of your posts detail the expensive clothing and accessories that you have. However, I have to agree whole-heartedly with your recommendation of Beverly Cycles. They have been there forever and I have never heard a bad word about them. I have only been in once myself but they were very friendly and helpful.

  5. Elitism as in...they walk their bikes around more than ride, and seriously who buys one of those beach cruisers to actually ride? They weigh a ton.

    I think you have the shop mixed up...Bill has only had Beverly Cycles there for a year or so.

  6. And trendy as in single-speeds, expresso drinking, least that's a lot of what I got around my school.

    I don't deny I buy expensive gear for riding...but at least I use and abuse it. Bill's shop has such a down-to-earth, hey we work here feel.

  7. Hey Redd, AH! THAT kind of trendy and elite! I might have them mixed up but I don't think so. In any even I was referring to the shop on Cabot St. right near the Theater. Ha-ha! A little Googling shows me that it's Browns that I was thinking of. I suck at The Real World.

  8. Hey no worries :) I've been to Brown's plenty of times, but they're the one I used to live behind...just not enough passion from these guys sometimes.