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Old 05-13-14, 01:48 AM   #1
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I'm kind of over supporting my LBS

I moved a lot growing up. A lot of people ask me if my dad was in the military. I think because of this community is very important to me and I really believe in supporting local businesses when I can. I live in a major metropolitan area so when it comes to bike shops I have several choices in 3 categories;
1. National Chain stores of varying quality like REI and Sports Authority
2. Smaller Regional Chain stores like Any Mountain and Sports Chalet
3. Small owner operated stores

Now I would prefer to give my business to number 3 and support the person living the dream but the two local bike shops in my area are incompetent, lack attention to detail or are full of annoying hipsters. The mechanic on duty in one of the shops rides an old timey big wheel bike and has a handle bar mustache...really? I took my wheel in to fix a bent spoke out of true wheel. I didn't notice they didn't replace the spoke until it broke two weeks later. When I took the wheel in again they made me pay again for the repair even though I had pointed the spoke out to him the first time. He returned the wheel to me without the retaining ring or cap on the presta stem. That's just not getting the service I'm paying for. I also recently found out that they had raised the price of my bike over MSRP to offer a "discount" on it for a sale weekend. That's my fault. I should have done my research. The other LBS told me I needed to buy new rims if I wanted to go from 700Cx23 to 700Cx25 or 28. While I agree you should check some things like brake clearance and clearance at the bottom bracket the wheel does not need to change.
I feel like I'm educating the mechanics not the other way around. So on my most recent build I've researched everything online and bought at the lowest price from whomever is offering what I need. About $500.00 spent online that could have stayed local. But I feel like I've learned more and gotten way more for my money. I just don't see myself darkening the door of any of my local bike shops any time soon. Which is unfortunate for the LBS.
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Old 05-13-14, 05:02 AM   #2
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Hey there, Eastbay71!

I really do feel your pain, but just for future reference, there's a really cool LBS called Valencia Cyclery in the Mission district. Also, whenever you buy online, you can always go to the Bike Kitchen Co-op and install your own stuff. It's located near 17th and Florida Street.

Last edited by WestPablo; 05-13-14 at 06:45 AM.
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Old 05-13-14, 05:53 AM   #3
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Originally Posted by eastbay71 View Post
1. National Chain stores of varying quality like REI and Sports Authority
Yes, these are both national chains. But that's where the similarity ends.

REI has real bike mechanics and employees that are actually doing things outside when they aren't working. Their level of customer service, compared to Sports Authority, is unbelievably good. I'd rather frequent REI than several of the local LBSs around where I live...
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