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Old 09-02-09, 09:23 PM   #1
ddez
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How i found my LBS

I grew up in southern Alberta.Ranch country in the foothills of the Rocky Mountains.Some ranchs in the 1000s of acres up to 100000 acres.Any farming is just for winter feed for horses and livestock.Calgary (home of the famous Calgary Stampede) is closest city.I always wore western garb,Wranglers, boots yes the buckle and ball cap or cowboy hat.Not unusual to see that in Calgary as well,but i now live in Northern Alberta. In Edmonton, western garb is far less common.Started riding again in my 40s.Wandered into lbs stores and was mostly ignored(strange looks)Or got wrong advise thinking i didnt know anything.Ended up in a specialty store,which now sell bikes like Brompton folders ,Pashleys,Surly etc(Talking of bringing in Moultons)Owner of store introduced himself and we hit it off,good advice and took the time.Ive laid a lot of cash down there over the years as my whims changed.Asked him once why he didnt just pass me up dressing as i do.He said he never judges book by the cover.Very smart man.No i dont wear boots when riding.Lol.Except horses
Just a side note,im alone now and have met ladies riding,if i think they may be interested i always mention how i dress when not riding(mention my old pickup truck which is comfy like a old boot)and that generally changes that situation rather rapidly.Actually funny i think.
What am i saying? Find a shop that respects you know matter what you may appear to be or what you look like.I dont deal with snobs.
So whats your story on how to find a shop????

Last edited by ddez; 09-02-09 at 09:27 PM.
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Old 09-03-09, 12:16 AM   #2
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Have to admit that my first experience with my LBS was not good. The owner was arrogant and tried to tell me that My bike was not the right one for me. Both facts were right- the bike was Cr*p and he was very arrogant. 6 months later and out on a ride and got a puncture near his shop. Had to call in for a new tube and the Owner was still arrogant- "Haven't got time to repair it today" was about all he said. But I bought the tube- and he even came out to the bike to check the tyre size. Sold me the tube and he started again- "Those Tyre levers won't get THAT tyre off"- but he loaned me the shop ones. Replaced the Tube and as I was pumping it up outside the shop- he came out with a Frame pump to make things easier.

He may have been the owner- he made have got my back up but he was helpfull and very informative. He was only standing in for his son who ran the business while he was on holiday. He had retired a couple of years earlier and when he did holiday duties for his son- the only place for him to work was in the shop. He was normally the mechanic as he knew his faults. A man of few words and all of them wrong to a prospective customer. But that shop is fantastic. They offer good information and knowledge to their customers. Just don't go in for your first visit if the old man is there.
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Old 09-03-09, 06:38 AM   #3
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Since I am a bit of a 'tinkerer', I go for the down home kind of bike shop instead of the 'ritzy' ones. The present one is the only one in town but is friendly to all. caters more to mountain riding but the guy put my Lightning P-38 up on the rack to try and sell...no luck....but it is a good LBS and not trying to just get your money.
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Old 09-03-09, 07:42 AM   #4
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Just my experience, but when the bike store owner puts his name on the shop, you are probably going to get good service. A couple of my trusted ones were Vern's Bike Store in Inglewood and Joel's Bike Store in Thousand Palms. Both were great to me and went above and beyond the call.
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Old 09-03-09, 08:18 AM   #5
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My choice is easy. We only have one. Fortunately the owners are decent folk, the manager is a friend and riding buddy of mine and the kids/wrenches are respectful of the old guy who rides bikes with parts they think belong in a museum more than on the road.

It is a small shop that has its limitations, but they recognize those limitations and don't begrudge me going to other sources when they can't really supply what I need, be it bikes, parts or services. I more than make up for it by sending lots of new customers their way.

The best thing about my LBS is being able to hang out there and talk bikes and plan rides with the other bike nuts in town.
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Old 09-03-09, 08:20 AM   #6
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I dug my '83 Gianni Motta,that I built, out of the basement several years ago, and started riding it again. Stopped by a local shop and was asking the guy if there were any upgrades that might be good for it(that he could do).. "Naw, thats one of them goddamned Italian race bikes, they are no good for anything, sell it on Craigslist and get something new"...
couple hundred bucks later, its a 10sp,indexed,double, , with Open Pro, And I still have not had work done in an LBS since 1950, (when I took my first bike completely apart, and put it back together)...(My best pals dad had a LBS/lawnmower repair/ locksmith shop that we spent a lot of time in..)
Great, fun, bike. Like it much better than the new ones I have tried out..

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Old 09-03-09, 09:17 AM   #7
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There are 4 bike shops within driving range (90 miles or less) and 2 of them are worth the cost of the trip. We've bought bikes and accessories from both and since they're 150 miles apart, they aren't exactly in competition.

Cycle Mania in Show Low is a nice small shop, family run with a couple of part time employees. They aren't large and they don't have decades worth of accumulated stuff, but they are friendly, knowledgeable, and helpful. You just might have to wait 1/2 hr for your turn to get the f/k/help you need.

Absolute in Flagstaff is part of a small chain. The shop isn't much larger than Cycle Mania, but it is crammed from floor to 2-story ceiling with bikes and accessories. They cater to a broader range of cyclists,since Flagstaff is Berkley-East both in politics and income, so you can buy a $200 grocery hauler or a $9,000 mountain bike off the floor. Most of the employees are 20-somethings, but they have good attitudes and are more than willing to share their opinions and insights with anybody who wants to chew the fat. They also have a certified bike-fitter, Linden, who is a gem and you get a free basic fitting and 2 tune-ups with every new bike purchase. Even before we had dropped $XX,XXX in their shop, when we were just looking at lights and tubes for our Giant comfort bikes, they gave us friendly attention and help. Naturally, now they know our names and probably go a little farther for us, but we still see them taking good care of the mom bringing in her son for his first bike.

I hope I haven't waxed too rhapsodic...
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Old 09-03-09, 01:32 PM   #8
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Last time I looked we had 40+ bike shops in King County (Seattle). When I got back into biking I started planning my Saturday/Sunday rides around bike shop visits - I started visiting them all, sometimes 2 or 3 times, until I found the ones I am comfortable with.

We have some amazing shops - we have 4 active custom builders in town - and even a couple of bike co-ops where I can donate older bikes and parts after I'm done torturing them.

One thing I've found is it pays to be patient in shopping for a shop. You can have a bad experience on one visit, and then have a much better experience on the 2nd or 3rd visit. Shouldn't be that hard, but sometimes it is.
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Old 09-03-09, 09:34 PM   #9
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Bicycle Tech

I live in Northern NJ. I got back in to cycling this year after a very long hiatus. I went to many of the stores in this part of NJ before finding Bicycle Tech in Lincoln Park. This has become my LBS. While several of the stores I stopped in had nice sales people and a vast inventory my experience at Bicycle Tech was just better. As a new customer I stopped in and asked about getting clipless pedals. Rich, the owner, asked me to choose a day and come in with my bike an hour before he opens the store. This would allow me time to put my bike on the trainer and get a feel for clipping in and out. He strongly suggested I do this so that I would be safe when I went out riding later in the day. So he came in an hour early to help me. Yes, he made a sale that day. However, the next time I asked him how to do a very simple bike repair, he asked me to pick a day and come in before the store opens so he could teach me and we wouldn't get interrupted. He did not sell me anything that day. When I recently decided I wanted to buy my wife and I new bikes the choice was easy.
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Old 09-03-09, 09:38 PM   #10
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I lived and worked in Canada in the 90's for a couple of year, drilling a lot of wells out at Dinosaur. We had a condo in the Eue Claire back when there was a block of hookers between there and the downtown area. I grew up in south and west Texas. I still wear boots and jeans.

When you want to take a week and do the icefields touring route on a bike let me know and I'll get the fenders and racks put on the Trek 520. I'm looking forward to Calgary to Jasper, with a loop back through Edmonton or such.
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Old 09-04-09, 06:26 PM   #11
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Originally Posted by Monoborracho View Post
I lived and worked in Canada in the 90's for a couple of year, drilling a lot of wells out at Dinosaur. We had a condo in the Eue Claire back when there was a block of hookers between there and the downtown area. I grew up in south and west Texas. I still wear boots and jeans.

When you want to take a week and do the icefields touring route on a bike let me know and I'll get the fenders and racks put on the Trek 520. I'm looking forward to Calgary to Jasper, with a loop back through Edmonton or such.
Hav'nt done that one in awhile but could be up for it next year.Too much happening for this year and getting a bit late in year,it can get real cold at nite up there starting around Aug,Sept.Great riding through there.
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