General Cycling Discussion - What's your LBS like?
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05-10-02, 06:08 PM
Every bike shop has its own character, right?
I got my bike at Team 2 Racing. It's a fairly big store in Green Bay, WI. The front part is dedicated to motocross and dirtbike gear, the second part is bikes, and the back of the store is the mechanic's workshop. About four employees, and they are very friendly and even remember my name. (I haven't been in the store more than four or five times!) The mechanic has tattoos everywhere. :D Only drawback is, they don't have much in the way of accessories.
The other day I was in another bike shop--I took a wrong turn and saw it, and I stopped to check it out since I was looking for smaller toe clips than Team 2 sold. There was barely room in that shop to turn around, it was so tiny, and there were a row of bikes taking up most of the room. Every single square inch of wall was covered with parts, hanging bikes, and accessories. An old man was at the counter, and was able to get me just what I needed as soon as I asked. Good thing, I'd never have found it in an hour of searching. He also made sure I had all the maps of the local trails and chatted for a while.
Good shops, both of them. :)
Well, my LBS is about 95 miles from my home, in North Platte, NE. The shop, Cycle Sport, is simply awesome! Outside is a big bike rack of used bikes of every descriptoin....and inside...utopia! New bikes take up most of the space, with a pretty fair number of them also hanging from the ceiling. In the back is the sales counter and work area...the domain of Patty and George, the owners. An amazing couple...between the two of them, they have over 50 years of biking experience! They have about every accessory known to man.....and maybe even a few you have never thought of! Clothes, pedals, lights, computers, saddles, and on and on and on!
The greatest thing about the shop? These people RIDE! If hanging out with Patty and George wasn't good enough, there is a great bunch of people who also stop in all the time! When I go up there and fool around for a day, I usually get to see a lot of other riders....kinda like an old fashioned general store or something, a meeting place for the locals to stop in. And, on the weekends, weather permitting, they usually ride Saturday and Sunday, and now they are doing time trials on Wednesday nights!
That is what my LBS is like! Wish everybodies was!
05-10-02, 08:40 PM
My LBS is about a 15 minute drive from my house. You can only enter from the rear in the alley, but is easily viewed from the street. The front has a large window and stage with about 20 of their bikes hanging around it. There are 4 rows of bikes in the rest of the small shop and the mechanics area in the back wich is somewhat open to everyone. There are at least 3 employees there at a time. There aren't many accesories in the actual shop, they are all nextdoor in their warehouse, so you pretty much need to know what you want before you get it. Most of the employees are young, but for some reason talk about everything except biking. I don;t complain though, they know their stuff and are very much liek me and my freinds.
05-10-02, 08:42 PM
I work Saturdays at my LBS, that way I get bikes and parts at discount prices. That and I've got first hand info on what new and what's on sale!
Relatively small shop about 2100 sq ft, of which I'd say 1800 is sales floor and the rest being the repair/storage area. About 60-80 bikes on the floor at any given time. That keeps them tight, but not so tight that you feel closed in or makes them difficult to pull out to demonstrate.
We specialize in performance road bikes including a lot of Triathlon bikes. The brands we carry include Kestrel, Cervelo, LeMond, Cannondale and FELT. For mt. bikes we carry Gary Fisher, Cannondales and Haro's and we do have a full line of bikes including BMX and Beach Cruisers.
I wish we would carry more mt. bikes, but afterall, we are in Florida and surprisingly, there's not a HUGE market for mt. bikes.....Hmmm I wonder why?
Roadies are our bread and butter. We also cater to a lot of Triathletes in the area. As a matter of fact, the woman who handles a lot of the sales is competing in her 3rd Ironman distance race in Pensacola this weekend! Go Elaine! She did finish her other two, and I have a lot of respect for her and all the others that can finish an Ironman distance.
My swim sucks, so I'd probably drown if I tried one! I wouldn't even have a chance to ride 112 miles then run a full marathon!
The manager and I are good friends and we ride together at least twice a week. (Mostly Road, but we both prefer mt biking!)
Cool place all and all! Laid back, yet professional!
Sounds like you stumbled into JB's, Inkwolf. The owner is a nice guy. You're right, asking for what you want is a lot easier than finding in in there.
I like Team 2 too. The last time I was in there they were letting some young kid work on his own bike in the shop. The kid had bought a couple items for his BMX bike and they were letting him use the tools to install them, along with giving him some advise. Real nice touch - lots of kids don't have a parent that will/can help them with bike maintainence.
05-10-02, 11:04 PM
Well the real local one sucks big time. Very few bikes, no high end stuff at all, very few parts and they are behind the counter. When you call them they always act like you're bothering them. Needless to say, they don't get any of my business.
On the other hand, there are 3 in Columbia, MO. All friendly and helpful. But I have to shamelessly plug Cycle Extreme. The owner (Tom,) replaced my rear wheel within 4 days of my bringing it in. Even had a new disc brake rotor on it! So now I have a spare. And I didn't even buy the bike from him. Tried, but he didn't have one and couldn't get one. So I will frequent that shop above all others from now on. :)
There are 3 LGS's that I regularily patronise. The first is a good store for all sorts of stuff-tyres, fenders, parts, etc, but specialises too much in ATB and cruiser bikes.
The best one is my local 'roadie' shop. Prices are a bit high, but these guys know what they are doing.
The third is the local 'bike boutique', and these guys don't know squat. A friend of mine has a Trek 820 MTB, and somebody stole his saddle and seatpost. He went to this shop, and they sold him a 26.8 post for his 27.2 seat tube. I let him know that was why his seat is always slipping. They are a Trek dealer, too!
05-11-02, 09:05 AM
I live in the 5th biggest city in Denmark, population 80 000.
My LBS is small, but pretty well stocked. The owner is a former olympic cyclist for Denmark (Los Angeles 1984) and regulary shares his bike knowledge with customers.
05-11-02, 09:17 AM
my local LBS is about 45 km from my house, but i would go out of my way to really see them if i have something that i want done to my bike, I don't trust anybody touching my bike except them
05-11-02, 09:31 AM
The local shop here in Omaha--is basically the only show in town---sure there are a couple of other shops in town but they offer no real competition----Anyway--they are fairly well-stocked and helpfull----problem is has a corporate atmosphere with monopolistc prices and policies---with no real love of riding---I generally avoid the place.
The shop I consider my LBS is the Cycle Works in Lincoln NE--about 50 miles away----WOW-what a difference 50 miles makes!!!
Well stocked---very helpfull bike geeks working there---great prices----let me take extended test rides on several high-end bikes without even asking for a drivers license--car keys or a credit card----3 month lay-a-way.
I bought my Klein Quantum there---enough said??
If you're in the Lincoln area--give them a look--and NO--I don't work there.
05-11-02, 11:52 AM
I'd been hoping for a chance to beat the drum a bit for our local!
The shop we visit (all too frequently, tsk!) is The Bike Gallery on NE Sandy Blvd in Portland. It's a family-owned business since 1974. Go to www.bikegallery.com to peruse their site. They have four locations around the Portland area but we've not visited the others as yet. This shop is about 8 miles from home though we haven't ridden our bikes to the store (note the NE Sandy Blvd address -- any grizzled veteran bike commuter would probably tell you it's a harrowing route for anyone not familiar).
This particular branch is smallish though I believe they have a warehouse facility a bit further down the street. As you enter you see racks of accessories and tires to your left as well as the service counter, behind which the wrenching and prep is performed. To your right is the cashier's counter and a split-level area where you'll find helmets, clothing, gloves, racks, panniers and bags, and of course the machines themselves. Not a lot of room but they do a good job of making things accessible. The stock appears to be heaviest in the mtb and hybrid/comfort catagory, but roadies are represented well also. The brands are predominately Trek, Gary Fisher, Klein, LeMond, Batavus (very cool-looking cruisers, by the way!) and a few others.
Okay, so far nothing stands out. But the staff! I've never had a more pleasant buying experience. Everyone with whom we speak, from our primary salesperson (also named Rob, a student who works part-time on weekends) to the mechanic who took time to explain my loosened bottom bracket when I voiced concern on our follow-up 'tweak' visit, was enthusiastic, knowledgable, and immune to stupid newbie questions. When considering purchases, we're always asked questions as to our intended use of the items, and on many occasions were steered to less-costly options (!). As voiced by almost everyone we met on our first visit "We want you back in here, even if just to return something that doesn't work. We'll make it right". I've actually had to do that (bought a clamp-on mirror that I couldn't get to position properly, a last-minute purchase I selected without the aid of a salesperson) and true to their word, we were given a store credit on the spot and were then led right to a mirror that was perfect but had been out of stock initially.
I'm always curious about other bike shops (there's a Bike'n'Hike store downtown that I haven't visited) but the above reasons are why Bike Gallery will always be 'my lbs'.
05-11-02, 12:12 PM
The shop in Faversham is okay, but is really only interested in the kids market - BMX's and Saracen £200 full suspension bikes. In Canterbury, Trev's is great on bikes with two good staff and one who's okay, but lousy on accessories. Canterbury Cycle Mart is great on accessories, with very helpful staff and okay on bikes. I tend to get upgrades to the bike at Trev's but buy accessories (panniers, rack, guards etc. at CCM). Clothes wise I shop over the net.
05-11-02, 01:42 PM
We had two stores that were really good--but of course they went out of business. Of the two that are left one is mainly for mountain bikers and the other is for racers. The mt. bike store sells on commission, which makes the sales people really annoying, and they don't sell any accessories. The racer store employees treat anyone who is not a regular (ie: a racer) like they're dumb as a rock. I may only be a commuter, but I've been riding a long time. Granted I don't know as much as a mechanic, but they don't need to be so condescending. It wasn't until I spent $100 there that the owner quit acting like I was wasting his time. Now he just acts minorly annoyed--I'm sorry I don't buy a new bike eveytime I come in. Of course the other half dozen employees don't know me, so I have to start over with each one. They have lots of good commuter gear, but they seem to forget that I can buy all that stuff off the internet if I want. And I'm getting to that point. I would also like to learn to overhaul a bike so I don't have to put up with them. These people forget they're running a business. I'm a very friendly person and really into cyclist's rights, and it actually kind of hurts my feelings that I'm not considered "good" enough to even be polite to. The drivers hate me, and the local cyclists won't have me--you guys are my only friends, boo hoo!;)
05-11-02, 02:28 PM
Originally posted by Oxymoron
I'm a very friendly person and really into cyclist's rights, and it actually kind of hurts my feelings that I'm not considered "good" enough to even be polite to. The drivers hate me, and the local cyclists won't have me--you guys are my only friends, boo hoo!;)
I'll wager that forums such as this one are very handy resources for anyone venturing into the retail environment. I know this to be true in my case. Though my experiences have been only positive thus far (see my previous post), I'm sure the bit of homework I did reading these forums helped a great deal; I'm sure I didn't sound quite as if I'd just stumbled in from the street. I assume one would treat a bike shop as one would an auto dealership: be prepared and assert yourself as an informed consumer, or at least bring a friend who is! Might not be a bad idea to interject at some point "Ya know, I read this Bike Forum on the internet frequently and...".
My LBS is one of my team's title sponsors. They've been with us from the very beginning. Which, is a good thing because I get everything 10% off! :)
The shop is located about ten minutes from my house, and almost right across the road from the local velodrome where all the cycling takes place (the road rides always leave from there, too), so it's VERY convenient.
It's a fairly small place. It's a little heavy on the bikes, and a little light on the accessories, but since I know the staff, they can order almost anything I want. It's great because it carries track equipment. I don't know what I would do without it for the track, because your normal LBS's don't carry track gear at all & surely wouldn't order it special for you.
I love my LBS!
My closest LBS is a crappy chain store where they don't
know diddly and charge exhorbedent prices to all the
yuppie types here.
the Shop I frequent is here (http://www.bikemart.com)
They are the shop that sponsered Lance when he first started
riding. Needless to say there is alot of lance memoriabilia around
(including my favorite an autographed coke machine, post 1999
TdF). All that aside, they carry Serotta, Seven, Calfee,
Trek, Bianchi, Quintana Roo, amoung others. The products are
about 60/40 road and Mountain mix, which seems
about right for this area. The wrenches
are really good, and never seem too busy to help out and
give advice on any questions you have.
Prices are pretty much in line with the online stores
(with the exception of a store in Ireland) however even if they
were relatively more expensive I would continue to support them.
What I really the fact that they won't sell you something if you don't need it.
They are not just about sales.
05-11-02, 04:30 PM
Trail Blazers Cycles in Toronto, Ontario. Relatively close to my house and they are awesome. They always cut me a deal especially when dropping a lot of cash and know their shyte!
Check out their website at http://www.trailblazercycles.com (www.trailblazercycles.com)
05-11-02, 05:06 PM
I patronize two shops:
Martin Swiss Cycle is about 3 km from my house. I've been buying bike stuff there for about ten years now, and I know the staff very well. They're great guys -- knowledgeable, helpful and fun to hang around with. In fact, I sometime drop by at the ends of ride just to say hello. They sponsor an MTB team, a road team and a Tri team, and I'm hoping to get them to sponsor my embryonic cyclocross team in the fall. I've had a reparte going with Steve, the manager for about a decade and the other guys, including Freddy and Eric the Wrench [who is probably the greatest wrench on the planet] are great. I help them out with Web stuff and casual IT consulting and they give me prices. This is good because I can spend a whole lot of money on bike stuff.
Rossi is about 10 km in the opposite direction. It used to be owned by Tino Rossi, one of the forces behind the Mardi Lachine crits [the race series where Genevieve Jeanson first got noticed]. These days, it's owned and operated by a former Columbian pro named Owen, who has turned it into a very nice high-end shop [Colnago, Look, Marinoni, Lemond, Bianchi...] with great service. Owen is one of the nicest guys on two wheels -- and one of the smoothest climbers in the Montreal area. I got my marinoni at Rossi, and they did such a brilliant fit/measure that I could stay in the saddle for days at a time.
Two great shops.
Actually, the LBS closest to me geographically is just few blocks away, and it's known among us as "the Bikeless bike shop." It's truly a joke- a dingy, dungy hole with decrepit bikes in the windows hidden behind huge branches of ferns. No one ever seems to buy anything there, and the guy who runs is a surly, miserable loser who snarls at you when you come in to buy anything. Most of his stock was there during the Trudeau era. No cyclist even bothers with it. It's a theory tht the place is a front for drugs, which seems entirely possible.
There was a bike shop in my neighborhood when I was growing up, kind of like the Bikeless. It was owned and run by a miserable Quebec separatist who resented any english speaking person coming in and would ignore you. It was kind of ratty and old but they were there and did repairs when you got their attention. I was a kid, so who cared what kind of bikes they had. I thought they'd gone asunder back when, but on a recent trip through that neighborhood, I saw that the shop had been totally reincarnated- snazzy neon signs, nice bikes in the window (a cannondale that day), apparently it's a pretty good shop, too.
05-11-02, 05:39 PM
Four, all helpful.
Three downtown, all about 2 miles from my job, and one about 4 miles from home. I usually go to one downtown.
The one nearby home takes about 20 minutes by car. The downtown LBS's take me about 10 minutes by bicycle.
05-18-02, 12:19 AM
Since moving to AZ I haven't really looked around for a good LBS, but when I lived in Colorado Springs I was just a couple miles from Colorado Cyclist. I wasn't the biggest fan of their bikes (not that they were bad or anything) but they had just about any accessory you could ever want and a great selection of junk for cheap on their close-out table.
05-20-02, 02:22 PM
I have three that I go to. My favorite people are the ones at Jocelyn's. A very young BMX crew. They don't always have the right answers, but they can usually tell you where to get them, and they're friendly. I also like Winning Wheels. They helped me get the cog for my fixed gear, and they're closer to my house than anybody else. And then there's Sports Center Bicycles, where I got my first bike. I'm not as wild about them as I am about the other two, but if I'm in the neighborhood I'll stop by.
05-20-02, 04:02 PM
My local bike shop is in this nice pic that is an attachment :)
One one side is a chillies (good food!) and then on the other side is a kincos copys!
05-20-02, 04:16 PM
I forgot to mention this one in my earlier post. It's sorta local; about 40 miles at the Lake of the Ozarks. The guy that owns it is cool. It's where I ordered my Bianchi.
Site is pretty lame now but he is in the process of completely re-doing it now.
Forgot to add he now carries Giant, Trek, Specialized and Bianchi.
Schwinn and GT used to be his main lines.
05-20-02, 05:50 PM
This (http://www.cycleogical.com.au/index2.html) is my LBS. It's a couple of minutes walk from my office, so it's handy if I need any work done. My brother reckons they're pretty average mechanics in there, but I've got no complaints as I do most of my own maintenance and installation of new parts. They have built a few wheels for me, which have been good jobs as far as I can tell.
A new Victor Cycles (http://www.victorcycles.com.au/) has just opened up a bit further away in the city. I'm thinking of checking them out as they're a Cannondale dealer and my Fatty needs attention I'm not qualified to give it. If I drop my name I might even get a discount: Little Brother is racing for them this year.
Other than that, I sometimes drop into Riders Cyclery (http://www.riders.com.au/easyweb/?pageno=10) in Morningside to borrow their track pump - it's on my way to work and I was getting a lot of punctures earlier in the year - I'd never shop there, it's way too ovrepriced, Wynnum Cycles - not bad depending on who's working there, and it's a few minutes bike ride from home, Capalaba Cycles - a bit of a drive from home, but the cheapest prices for accessories I've seen, and Wheels in Motion (http://www.rebelsport.com.au/wim/wim_index.cfm) - part of the Rebel Sports chain, but pretty good despite that: average bikes, but a good selection of accessories at good prices considering they're in the centre of the city, and they give away a lot of prizes during bike week. O, mustn't forget Planet Cycles (http://www.planetcycles.com.au/), who found a second hand headshock for me at a third of the price of a new one when mine got run over by a truck.
05-20-02, 06:08 PM
I have a two LBS's I regularly visit. Aardvark Cycles (http://www.aardvarkcycles.com) and Mad Dog Cycles (http://www.maddogcycles.com/). Both are geared to the mountain bike community. I purchase alot of gear from aardvark, and have my bike tuned up, and other misc shop needs at mad dog. I have two LBS's that are closer to me, but one offers really bad service. And the other is in a mall, there prices are insane.
The only "road bike only" LBS is ~50miles away in SLC, I make it there atleast once a month.
05-20-02, 10:23 PM
My current local bike shop is a most excellent place to visit. or to email questions to. It's called Hubbub Custom Cycle Shop, and they only sell custom made frames from Seven Cycles, Calfee, Waterford, Co-Motion and outfit it anyway you want. They have one of the best technicians in the area, and they are extremely helpful. They also have two cats who hang out in the shop which is most cool.
I found them because my old technician left the bike shop he was with - and my Trek was totaled in an accident, necessitating my purchase of a new bike and I only wanted him to touch the new one. I was planning on following him to his new digs - Century Cycles - but didn't because though they talked about fit being most important, they did not use a size cycle. Hubbub uses a size cycle and measurments and they are rated highly even by competitors in the area.
However, I have gotta say that this site has added to my knowledge. Thank you BikeForums - - job well done. :beer: - this is draft root beer
My lbs of choice is Ben Haywards Cycles (http://www.benhaywardcycles.com/) in Cambridge. They aren't necessarily the cheapest around, but they never sell me crap. There's another shop that's good for bolts and things, but that's all second hand stuff (mostly shoppers) so I've never bought any accessories/bikes from there. That's King Street Cycles, for anyone who's ever in Cambridge!
I'll tell you WHAT my LBS is like,
I bought Conti Sprinters about 6 months ago,
had em nicely stretched on clean rims. When I
mounted them (about month ago) one of the tires
would not hold air. No receipt, No box, Glued tire
they exchanged it for a new one. They will be my
LBS for as long as I am in this area.
05-24-02, 10:54 AM
My LBS isn't the best-stocked shop. It isn't the largest shop. The owner (my friend, BJ) doesn't make a lot of money at it. But the service is excellent. The atmosphere is friendly. It's a good place to hang out. And there is this:
Earlier this week a guy stuck his head in the door. He looked shabby. His bike, a cheap department store model, was out on the sidewalk, loaded with gear.
"How much are your inner tubes?" he asked.
"$2.27" BJ replied.
The guy mumbled "thanks," shook his head, and walked away.
A few hours later, one of the local police officers came in. He asked, "How much for an inner tube?" And BJ told him "$2.27"
"Okay," the cop said, "I need to go cash my check. But I'm going to send a guy in here. Set him up with an inner tube and I'll come by later to pay for it."
BJ said, "Don't worry about it. We take care of our own."
After the policeman left, the shabby man returned, with his bicycle. As BJ worked on his bike, the man's story came out. He was broke. He was trying to get to Beloit (about 80 miles away) where he had family, or a job, or something. He had slept under a highway bridge the night before. When he woke up, his front tire was flat. He pushed his bike 14 miles up the highway when he came upon BJ's shop. He didn't have enough cash on hand to buy an inner tube. He didn't want to beg. He hung around downtown until the police stopped him and asked his story. The police officer was ready to pay for his inner tube out of pocket.
BJ repaired the guy's tire. He also adjusted his headset and replaced a frayed brake cable. Then he sat down and looked at maps with the man, helping him choose a good route to Beloit.
After the man left, BJ thought, "I should've bought him some lunch."
And that is why I love my local bike shop (http://www.greenrivercyclery.com).
05-24-02, 11:08 AM
Admirable.... BJ sounds like a champ.
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