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R.I.P. Red Lantern Bicycles

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R.I.P. Red Lantern Bicycles

Old 07-09-18, 01:25 PM
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Roypercy
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R.I.P. Red Lantern Bicycles

Going out to get some service this morning I was very sad to learn that my favorite local bike shop, Red Lantern Bicycles on Myrtle Avenue in Brooklyn, has gone out of business, another victim of rising commercial rents in a gentrifying neighborhood. It was a cool place; they had a little bar where you could get a beer or a decent coffee and sandwich while you waited on your bike, and the mechanics there not only did good and reasonably priced work, they were afficionados of vintage bikes. I found Red Lantern when a Motobecane I used to have needed the helicomatic hub serviced, and two other bike shops I tried professed never to have seen or heard of such a thing. The guys at Red Lantern not only had the tools and expertise to work on a helicomatic hub, they were kind of thrilled to see the bike come through the door. I was always glad to bring my bikes there, and over the years they did all my service and even built a couple of wheels for me. A very sad loss of a good, local business.
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Old 07-09-18, 02:15 PM
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Bike shops are an endangered species. Even the good ones are vulnerable. With this shop, I have to admit that most won't recognize why a bike shop might be called red lantern. Bicycle racing enthusiast will know where the name came from right away. Sad to see them close.
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Old 07-09-18, 06:17 PM
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Originally Posted by Velo Mule View Post
Bike shops are an endangered species. Even the good ones are vulnerable. With this shop, I have to admit that most won't recognize why a bike shop might be called red lantern. Bicycle racing enthusiast will know where the name came from right away. Sad to see them close.
i am the red lantern!
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Old 07-09-18, 09:16 PM
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Yeah, I liked Brian and the shop a lot. But the fact you just found out about this is probably partially indicative of why they closed, because I believe they have been gone almost a year.
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Old 07-10-18, 03:12 AM
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I think its pretty tough for a local shop these days, the shop I favored here in West Seattle (closest to me) went down at the end of 2017 but there are a few long running places still going that have solid customer bases but it can't be an easy gig
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Old 07-10-18, 05:43 AM
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Retail is dieing a slow death. I was in a Target store yesterday. All remodelled and stocked with new items. But at the ssme time looked so sparse. And couldnt help thinking 90% of whats in there will be in a landfill in 10 years. Cheap junk. Third world america.
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Old 07-10-18, 07:46 AM
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I think that some or even many of the well established old shops might have owned their property. This gives them a little more room to be profitable since the mortgage may be old or even paid off. With newer shops, they need to make rent each month and that is the first bill to be paid each month. It has to be hard to keep up when you are competing with internet retailers. One problem is you may have people that walk into the shop to see a bike, a helmet or something and then go buy it online.

I have to admit that most of my purchases are online. I do go to local bike shops for some things, but sometimes I think I am just nickel and dimeing them to death.
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Old 07-10-18, 08:52 AM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Yeah, I liked Brian and the shop a lot. But the fact you just found out about this is probably partially indicative of why they closed, because I believe they have been gone almost a year.
True enough. I think they closed in October. It was a bit of a hike for me to get down there, so I only went when I really needed something I couldn't do on my own.

Any shops in the city you'd recommend for the occasional service?
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Old 07-10-18, 09:40 AM
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Originally Posted by Roypercy View Post
True enough. I think they closed in October. It was a bit of a hike for me to get down there, so I only went when I really needed something I couldn't do on my own.

Any shops in the city you'd recommend for the occasional service?

Frankly I do all my own work, I just went to RL for cables, housings, tires and consumable stuff like that, + a beer, though I would send friends there for service. I don't really know where else is good these days.
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Old 07-10-18, 09:53 AM
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+1 Bike shops are a dying breed, and ones that know vintage stuff, even more so. I don't know of a single one in my area.
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Old 07-10-18, 10:15 AM
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Originally Posted by lostarchitect View Post
Frankly I do all my own work, I just went to RL for cables, housings, tires and consumable stuff like that, + a beer, though I would send friends there for service. I don't really know where else is good these days.
Hal at Bicycle Habitat in SoHo is a legend. Go see him during the week!
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Old 07-10-18, 10:24 AM
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Originally Posted by Roypercy View Post
True enough. I think they closed in October. It was a bit of a hike for me to get down there, so I only went when I really needed something I couldn't do on my own.

Any shops in the city you'd recommend for the occasional service?
I can recommend Hal at Bicycle Habitat in SoHo, he's a walking encyclopedia for classic and vintage and probably modern as well, is friendly, and does really good work at a fair price. He also particularly likes to build wheels (very well) and tends to turn them around quickly.
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Old 08-04-20, 12:40 PM
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I am very sad when local business is closing. I love all small shops or cafe, they have special charm that a big franchise doesn't have. Thanks to worldwide virus pandemic and a long lockdown many local business had closed this summer. So, I can say that we lost another cool bike shop. It was a shop where I could find all tools and parts for my bike, like led lantern or chains, pliers or screwdrivers. At this shop worked an awesome guy who knew everything about bikes and always helped me with the consultations and advices. There I bought my favorite bike that I have already owned five years.

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Old 08-04-20, 01:09 PM
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Originally Posted by specialmonkey View Post
I can recommend Hal at Bicycle Habitat in SoHo, he's a walking encyclopedia for classic and vintage and probably modern as well, is friendly, and does really good work at a fair price. He also particularly likes to build wheels (very well) and tends to turn them around quickly.
I believe Hal is gone. He was moving to the southwest (Arizona? Utah?). I'm not 100% sure if he already moved.
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Old 08-04-20, 03:54 PM
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Originally Posted by big chainring View Post
Retail is dieing a slow death. I was in a Target store yesterday. All remodelled and stocked with new items. But at the ssme time looked so sparse. And couldnt help thinking 90% of whats in there will be in a landfill in 10 years. Cheap junk. Third world america.
reminds me, in 1979 I bought two Ralph Lauren Polo oxford buttondown dress shirts.
I retired one in 1987, the other in 1989, the material at the collar fold had finally worn out.
so it goes.
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Old 08-04-20, 05:32 PM
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Bike shops are ephemeral, always have been. The C&V ones are almost exclusively owner operated, and when the owner wants to get out (retire, low sales, rent increase), they're gone. Others seem to pop up to take their place.
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Old 08-04-20, 07:47 PM
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on top of that brick & mortar bike shops becoming vulnerable as business, the modern world is no more keen on to 'repair & maintenance'. idea of 'fixing' is dying. knowledge-base skills also has become an inferior commodity. you buy a new when one's not in perfect shape. can't survive just serving hobbyists—who are also rapidly becoming the 'old' part of generations...
RIP, indeed.
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Old 08-04-20, 08:06 PM
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The funny thing about Red Lantern to me is that I didn't know they were there even though I rode through Fort Greene to and from my office. I usually took either Dekalb or Flushing from Vanderbilt going into work and either Flushing or Myrtle coming home, except that I always turned off at the park at Washington Park when I took Myrtle. All of these routes missed Red Lantern. But it's old news at this point as this thread is two years old. B&M shops were getting hammered by online retail, and then the repair business was dwindling since many parts are no longer fixable but need a straight replacement. Covid changed that and there is always a line at every shop I pass by.
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Old 08-04-20, 08:24 PM
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Originally Posted by lucky92 View Post
we lost another cool bike shop. It was a shop where I could find all tools and parts for my bike, like led lantern or chains, pliers or screwdrivers. At this shop worked an awesome guy who knew everything about bikes and always helped me with the consultations and advices.
That's a shame you lost awesome guy who helped with advices and amazon lanterns.
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Old 08-04-20, 08:34 PM
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Originally Posted by SurferRosa View Post
That's a shame you lost awesome guy who helped with advices and amazon lanterns.
Back in the day, we did all of our repairs with a pliers and a screwdriver, under the soft glow of an LED lantern.
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Old 08-04-20, 11:35 PM
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^
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Old 08-05-20, 01:49 AM
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Lanterne Rouge - Red Lantern


Aad Van Den Hoek - Lanterne Rouge - 1976 TdF

The lanterne rouge was/is the red warning light on the last railroad car on a train in France.

For those unaware of the tradition, in the Tour de France the rider who finishes last rather than dropping out along the way, is accorded the distinction of lanterne rouge.

Because of the popularity it affords, riders may compete for the last position rather than settling for a place near the back.

@Roypercy sorry to hear of your loss - LBS that is...

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Old 08-05-20, 02:58 AM
  #23  
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In Ventura County we are lucky enough to have a couple of vintage friendly bike shops that are small and independently owned. I use them regularly even if only for cables, tools, or other maintenance items as I do all my own work. If I don’t have time I will take them my vintage bike to have them do it but that is rare. They are both really busy most of the time because a lot of folks like the vibe of talking to these guys and drooling over some of their old race bikes.
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