Anyone out there living in Williamsburg, I thought I'd let you all know that I made a trip yesterday to my true LBS, the unmarked place near the Lorimer L train stop, between Metropolitan and the BQE. The guy trued a wheel for me and helped me take a BMX freewheel off of an old wheel for ten bucks. He didn't work that long, but I thought that considering the city's prices, that was a reasonable price. I figure that if I had gone into Bicycle Habitat or someplace glamorous like that, there'd be a 50% chance they'd charge me extra for the 5 seconds of labor it took to wrench off the freewheel.
So anyway, I asked the guy if he needed any labor. He gave me a sarcastic smirk and in a thick Brooklyn accent, said,
"What I really need aw customaz!"
I told him I was kind of surprised by this, because there were so many bike riders around, and he shrugged and said everyone seemed to love "that guy ovah on Havemayaz." As I take any opportunity to rip on them, I began to do so, to which he immediately responded,
"Hey, you don't need to tell me 'bout 'em! I've had customaz tell me that they told 'em it would take a week to fix a flat!"
Anyway, I found the guy to be pretty straightforward and obviously hard-working. He also didn't make me wait too long. I don't think there's any reason he should be hurting for business other than the fact that the locals (esp. the hipsters) probably don't trust an unmarked storefront with a bunch of ratty old bikes in the window. And besides that, he doesn't advertise. I don't think he even knows what Craigslist is.
For me, I appreciate having a good LBS provided I don't think they're going to scam or overcharge me. It's nice to be able to walk down the block and get something fixed quickly, instead of having to do it all in my tiny apartment. Furthermore, I hate NYCBikes, and since I've now found what I consider to be a better option (his place is also closer to mine), I thought I'd spread the word. It's in my interest to for him to stay open . I thought I'd put this plug in for anyone in the area to at least give him a try. He definitely seems to know his way around his bikes. He also has a lot of older bikes and frames, thinks he sells them for the going Williamsburg prices. But at least if something needs fixing, he'll probably be around to help.
Also, I don't assume most people in this particular forum really need to buy a used bike, but I figure that like me, you all probably get requests from friends for help in buying a bike. Might want to try this guy out first. He's local, after all...