Sunday, March 02, 2008

bike shops with attitude

I'm not sure what is up with this, but I am coming to the conclusion that in towns that have biker-friendly culture and multiple bike shops, there is always at least one bike shop with attitude. These are usually shops that sell high end bikes and cater to serious cyclists. They bring the snootiness of road racing to the shop.

The shop in Madison WI with attitude, which I will call CM, can be intimidating to even go into. I once went there for a fitting and left feeling bad because my bike was not a $5000 custom frame. The fitter and owner of CM asked me how many miles I rode each week and was skeptical of my answer... were my quads not big enough or what?

The shop in Austin with attitude that I just discovered (ATC) was similarly annoying. I certainly know my stuff about bikes and bike parts these days, but had my needs and knowledge questioned. I asked him about aero-helmets and he was reluctant to even get them off the shelf for me to see, and then he discouraged me from buying one. Then I told him I was thinking of getting a Felt DA frame this year and he proceeded to tell me that it is not a fast bike and I should get a Cervelo P3C instead. I told him I have various reasons for being dead set against a Cervelo, and he proceeded to try to convince me and even brought out the binder with wind test results to try to prove to me that the Felt DA is not fast. He doesn't consider that it doesn't matter how fast that P3C is if it doesn't fit me well. I left ATC with a bad taste in my mouth and will not return.

Why do these shops make a whole bunch of assumptions about where you fit in the cycling heirarchy? I like to shop at places that want to help me meet my goals, not those who make me justify my existence or are just plain discouraging. Yay for friendly bike shops!

Friendly bike shops:
Jack and Adams - Austin
Willy Bikes - Madison
Revolution Cycles - Madison
Bike Barn - Santa Barbara

Sometimes friendly bike shops:
Nytro - Encinitas
Bike Works - Kona