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Is your LBS older-rider friendly?

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Is your LBS older-rider friendly?

Old 09-21-13, 01:18 PM
  #1  
Badenoch
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Is your LBS older-rider friendly?

It had been three decades since Iíd last visited a bike shop. In my day I rode a lot, followed bikes and knew a fair bit about them. Now firmly in my mid-50ís and having decided to take it up again I checked a few websites and started on a tour of the local outlets.

Store #1
Good reputation. Nice website. Dingy location, crammed with bikes, salesperson with tats, piercings and whose main contribution was saying, ďDude, this bike is AWESOME.Ē Next.

Store #2
Probably the best known in the area. Caters to the local races clubs. Smallish well-appointed store in the downtown. Two sales people there. Very intense and fit looking young men who seemed to regard me as a bit of a fossil which while perhaps somewhat justified is not all that conducive to me opening my wallet. Sorry to have wasted their time. Moving on.

Store #3
Two season store. Bikes in summer, snow sports in winter. I understand the logic but they werenít pure LBS in my opinion. The sales person was a part owner, a bit closer to my age and seemed genuinely interested in walking me through what had changed in the last 30 years and what would be most suitable for my needs. My many questions were answered and I was treated like an adult. I didnít buy the bike he suggested but he certainly didnít object when I chose an upgraded version of the same model. Iíve been back for service and to correct a small problem and was warmly greeted both times. I've bought several accessories there and am now thinking about buying a second bike next year.

So is your LBS older-rider friendly?
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Old 09-21-13, 01:24 PM
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Yes, mine is very older rider friendly. Even the other local one, which is part of a chain, seems quite older biker friendly(at least, that was my experience).
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Old 09-21-13, 01:40 PM
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The main LBS here seems to try to cover most of the market -- you can buy an Electra cruiser from them, or a $4-5K Trek roadie. Kids' bikes, MTB's, BMX -- pretty much everything but triathlon, which another shop in town specializes in. I don't go there too much anymore, since it's not as much fun to me to look, fondle and drool over parts. I've bought saddles from them, energy products, they handled a manufacturer's part purchase for me once, so they do their job -- I just do my own work. (When you spend 13+ years trying to make big-box crap useable, you learn tricks & how things SHOULD work....)

I wouldn't hesitate to walk in there if I felt they could fill a need I had.
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Old 09-21-13, 01:40 PM
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The guys with tats and piercings at my local bike store (#1) are great, friendly guys and provide the best service and value in the area.
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Old 09-21-13, 01:56 PM
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LBS? what's that? My most 'local' stores are at least ten miles away. One deals with liberal-arts college kids on fixies, and the others are 'chain' stores that look at me like I'm from Jupiter for 1- being over 40, 2- no tats or piercings, 3- riding a steel lugged frame with 27" wheels (and I have several of those ) 4- I don't ride in Spandex 5- They knew nothing of any of the many local charity rides in the area -- even though their shop chain is a sponsor of one of them! Not even any info on the local rides either. 6- absolutely nothing I wanted was in stock. Their whole attitude was "Why don't you come over here and look at our latest CF Uber-bike" -- with a list price of more than I've paid for several cars!

The 'local' co-op is 30 miles away, and only has retail hours one afternoon/week. Well, that's real convenient to a working guy... and their prices are outrageous, to boot! $250-up for a used cro-mo frame ten-speed frankenbike.

Even some of the resale shops have prices based on fantasy. Just because it has the right brand name does NOT mean it is 'well worth $300'

And they wonder why I buy my parts online... Seriously, I tried to support my local shops, but they want nothing to do with 'my kind'...
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Old 09-21-13, 02:12 PM
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I'm going to say "Not particularly."

I can remember when buying a Santana tandem at a local shop the sales person stopped talking to us so he could wait on a fellow who wanted a wheelset built. I might not have been his in his target customer group but, at the time, I thought that tandem was all of the money in the world. The last two bikes that I bought at an LBS I had difficulty convincing the sales people that I really was interested in a better than entry level bike. Eventually I bought my mountain bike from a different shop simply because I didn't feel like I was being taken seriously enough. All of this was after I had amassed decades of riding experience. I can't imaging how someone over 40 with no riding experience or knowledge must feel.

Since that time I've bought several recumbents all via internet. I've had no such issues there - maybe it's because they can't see how old I am.

In the interest of full disclosure, our experience buying a recumbent trike for Mrs. Grouch was MUCH different. We called first to be sure of when they were open on Sunday and walked in knowing pretty well what we wanted. The owners definitely gave us the attention that I thought we deserved. I told them that, if they could show Mrs. Grouch how she could load the trike into her Saturn car, we'd buy it. They did and we drove the Greenspeed trike home.

I've got pretty good relations with the shop owners near my home, I just don't buy anything but the most mundane stuff from them. Mostly the stuff that I buy is so far out of the mainstream that nobody carries it and I'm picky about buying exactly what I want.

Whew! I didn't realize there was that much resentment built up in there. It was good to let some of it out.
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Old 09-21-13, 02:49 PM
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So is your LBS older-rider friendly?[/QUOTE]

The local shop is quite friendly to me. I spend money there, don't crab about the price, don't expect parts that were obsolete 20 yrs ago to be in stock, and I'm not condescending towards their employees. I buy the same stuff that the general population buys, so why would there be an age issue. Maybe it is less about the store, and more about individual expectations
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Old 09-21-13, 02:59 PM
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Mine has one older guy that relates well to age and/or medical specific issues, since he has some.
The other 2 are coming around as they realize I KNOW what I want and WHY.
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Old 09-21-13, 03:09 PM
  #9  
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I have six bike shops that are all within the same distance from my house. Five of the six are extremely people friendly and I have never heard them talk down to anyone of any age. The one that I use the most actually regards me as one of their better customers and tell other customers about the miles I put on the bike. The sixth of the group, I wouldn't step in there even if they were giving away free bikes. They are a T**k shop and are the rudest people I have ever dealt with, especially if you don't own a T**k.
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Old 09-21-13, 03:20 PM
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Originally Posted by Badenoch
So is your LBS older-rider friendly?
I am fortunate in having two LBS owned & operated as one man shows by gents even older than I.
As far as I can tell they aren't particularly friendly to anyone, they do what they do well a bit curmudgeonly.

One has more C&V knowledge & experience than can reasonably be expected anywhere and the other looks somewhat askance at my FG machine and AW bike as obsolete. OK w/ me, both are fine mechanics and cover opposite ends of cycling technology's time scale for me.

-Bandera
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Old 09-21-13, 04:12 PM
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Bike shop #1 - Very friendly, caters only to high end bike riders (not I) - many in 70's. Colnago, Tommasimi and Pinarello and Campy. I have bought one bike (mtn bike when he used to carry them), and he has done some maintenance, and some redesign of my bike for a better fit. Increasingly out of my comfort zone. Hourly maintenance/repair rate is $65 (How does that compare with you folks?)

Bike shop #2 - nothing to do with my age, as there are a LOT of older riders around here - folks in their 70's and 80's. But, in the recent past very poor customer service to everyone. One of 3 LBS's under same name. I have interacted on this issue twice with the owners - I used to be an avid customer when it was under different store management. It had a lot of turnover, but now seems to have improved. I may go back.

Last edited by DnvrFox; 09-21-13 at 07:49 PM.
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Old 09-21-13, 04:23 PM
  #12  
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My guys are older than I am. Been there for years. And they appreciate my vintage ride.
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Old 09-21-13, 05:04 PM
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two older guys work there. and 4 younger . 30s .. 40 .. & 55 & 65..

Last edited by fietsbob; 09-22-13 at 10:33 AM.
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Old 09-21-13, 06:19 PM
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10 miles IS local around here.

The bike stores I've been to don't care if I'm near my expiration date as long as my credit card is still good.
I treat the staff with respect and don't go during their busiest times if I want to use up a lot of their time.
Yes some of the staff are characters and I think a few crashed a few too many times without a helmet.
But they love bikes and want others to enjoy riding.
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Old 09-21-13, 06:35 PM
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Mine are friendly to cyclists of all ages and don't treat a $500 customer any different than a $10,000 customer. The guys tattoos are ok but mine is better.
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Old 09-21-13, 06:49 PM
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The two LBSs I go to are geezer friendly. The smaller of the two give me great service. The larger can be a PITA if you get the wrong sales human.
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Old 09-21-13, 07:36 PM
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One bike shop in central Louisiana. Owner and employees very courteous to me. Haven't bought a bike there but have bought accessories. Owner calls me by name when I come in.

Seven bike shops in northwest Arkansas. Shop where I have bought bikes is a one-man operation. Owner is somewhere in our 50+ age group. Very courteous, excellent mechanic, reasonable prices. When I have the chance, I direct new bike sales and mechanic work his way. Bike shop nearest me is a one-man operation. Owner is in our age group. We are on a first-name basis. Another shop in the area has two locations, both staffed by young punks [Edit: At my age, I refer to folks under 45 or so as young punks, and the guys/gals at these two locations are really young punks, mostly college kids.]. They are also courteous and attentive to this old guy. We get along well.

Last edited by doctor j; 09-21-13 at 07:41 PM.
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Old 09-21-13, 08:39 PM
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We have boatloads of bike shops in my small city. Only the Trek dealer, who has three shops, is bad. Of the remaining seven I only use three. The primary one is owned and operated by a sweet guy in his mid-sixties who returned to riding when he opened the shop thirteen years ago. As expected, he is super supportive of older riders; he's also great with everyone else. As I said, he's a sweetheart. When he doesn't have something in stock and I need it right away, I mosey over to shop number two. The manager of that one is in his late fifties and is an encyclopedia of cycling product history. His staff is also very good if one can get past their fixation on Specialized and the company line.

Shop number three would be my primary if shop number one ever goes out of business. The owner is young and he and his staff are really into racing, particularly off-road. However, they don't dis any other formats and really go the extra mile. When my wife needed shoes, the owner made his best guess based on what didn't fit her, ordered a pair, and told her to take them home, put her cleats on and go for some rides. If she decided she didn't like them after some use, he would take them back no questions asked. They fit fantastically, but it was his willingness to stand behind his estimate of what would work that impressed me.

I feel lucky that I have always lived near excellent bike shops.
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Old 09-21-13, 08:45 PM
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Two out of three, yes. The third one, sorta. It helps that the two guys who own and run one of the shops are about the same age I am and are still very strong cyclists and community leaders in cycling. Another of the shops I frequent has excellent service and most of the salespeople and guys in the shop know me and are very accomodating. It is occasionally humorous when some young new guy starts and tries to steer me toward the fitness hybrids and comfort seats when he sees me browsing the new carbon fiber.
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Old 09-21-13, 10:03 PM
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I visit 5.My main shop the owner is my age and we get along well.Here is a sample of what he is like.I bought a new bike at another shop,on sale really good price.I. had him do a tune up.He took the bike apart and reassembled it.Said it wasn't done right.Told me to get on it and he made sure it fit me.When other regulars came in he said look at that bike what a deal he got.I honestly felt awkward cause wasn't sure how he would react not buying the bike from him.There is one high end shop I go to where everyone is under 30.I don't trust anyone under 30. They try to sell me stuff I don't want even after I tll them what I do want.Shop 3 after several trips the younger owner is warming up to me.I just wish he spoke better english some bike stuff gets lost in translation.One day he was talking about a classic bike and I heard plastic bike.Shop 4 Father -son team almost.The father is very forgetful and has to run everything by the son,it is punishment whenever I go in there.The son told me off once.Because I didn't buy a bike he recomended.But afterwards he helped me with a hard to find part.Shop 5 I only stop in here when I visit my mother who lives an hour away.He has a bargin table and good clearance sales.The under 30 people here are idiots I only deal with the owner who is my age.I find most in this business are kooky including me.Once in awhile you might catch one on an off day and acting normal.Keep looking around you will find a shop that fits your needs.Or try snowboarding!!
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Old 09-21-13, 10:13 PM
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The two I brought bikes from are very high end and the smaller also caters to racers and sponsors a team. Older customers typically are their best because that's who can afford them. The others are just places where they care about volume and just try and help customers make a spending decision and get them out the door so they can wait on other customers.
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Old 09-21-13, 11:30 PM
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Mine is. I have actually become freinds witgh the owner and his wife. He's older then me, and his "child bride" is a bit younger, but still old enough to have raised a steriotypical fixie rider. (I am a non steriotypical Old Fart on a Fixie)

I take my major purchases there, and made one this morning. I did test ride at other shops. One at Performance, andone at a Trek Superstore. I am not sure if those guys work on commision, but it sure felt that way. At one indipendant shop I was looking at Masi's when the kid working there told me "You can't go wrong with these Italian bikes"

I replied "It's made in Taiwan"

He said "But it's an Itallian company"

"No, it's an American Company called Haro, and their HQ is ten miles from here."

I'm sure the kid thought I was some poser with a midlife crisis shopping for a garage queen. He picked the wrong old guy to insult. I walked out without another word, and went to may freinds shop, asked if he could match ***'s price, and I walked out with a new Masi Gran Criterium.
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Old 09-22-13, 01:53 AM
  #23  
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Originally Posted by Badenoch
It had been three decades since I’d last visited a bike shop. In my day I rode a lot, followed bikes and knew a fair bit about them. Now firmly in my mid-50’s and having decided to take it up again I checked a few websites and started on a tour of the local outlets.
Store #3
Two season store. Bikes in summer, snow sports in winter. I understand the logic but they weren’t pure LBS in my opinion. The sales person was a part owner, a bit closer to my age and seemed genuinely interested in walking me through what had changed in the last 30 years and what would be most suitable for my needs. My many questions were answered and I was treated like an adult. I didn’t buy the bike he suggested but he certainly didn’t object when I chose an upgraded version of the same model. I’ve been back for service and to correct a small problem and was warmly greeted both times. I've bought several accessories there and am now thinking about buying a second bike next year.
Way over on the other side of Canada, in Edmonton, I have been into a store just like this. Cycling in summer, snowsports in winter, but a crossover anyway. Friendly staff despite the age difference between them and me, a busy service area, and a huge array of bikes and gear.

Compared with what is supposed to be a full-time bike shop in Red Deer, the comparison was like chalk and cheese... the Edmonton one was much more palatable and tasty.

We know people in the Calgary MEC, past posters on BFs, in fact, but I have always been impressed by the range of cycling products for a multisports store, whether in Calgary or Vancouver, and their staff have always been helpful and/or patient.

Australian bike shops aren't too bad, and one of the better ones closed down recently -- it's a part of a chain. and maybe they've moved to better premises.

My favourite shop, Abbottsford Cycles, however, specialises in randonneuring, commuting and non-racing cycling... in fact, the shop doesn't stock bikes nor shoes, but has plenty of the stuff I am interested in. It does a lot of bike servicing. And it's staffed by people my own age or younger.

In general, I like to browse, and generally be left alone until I have made a choice, if I eventually do make one.

Then again, I do most of my bike shopping on-line.
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Old 09-22-13, 02:35 AM
  #24  
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It’s extremely rare that I see any young adults in the LBS, as most tend to be in their mid to late 40’s thru their 60’s.
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Old 09-22-13, 03:25 AM
  #25  
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What is our definition of an older cyclist, over 40, 50, 60,...? My guess, since this is the 50+ forum, we're talking about 50 and over.
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