Your local bike shop, your wee pal.

Now is the time of year all those who’ve purchased from big bike retailers online will be getting a pile of emails every day, with news about January sales, massive savings, stock clearances etc, etc. I expect this is most of us, most of us have also tried to stop these emails, but it usually appears impossible to cancel your ‘subscription’ to the mails. An annoying but sometimes intriguing invitation to find some shiny bike bits you didn’t really want but at bargain prices (if somebody really did want them, they’d likely not be at those bargain prices). Drawing you into a slick marketing campaign, the bargains appear first, then pictures appear of other things you may like (based on your previous purchases or recent google searches, this isn’t accidental). Those other shiny bits you desire don’t have anything like the reductions you first saw, but you want those parts, you’re hooked and their plan has worked.

But spare a thought for your local bike shop at this time, they’re also trying to shift stock, without the money or audience to launch a slick marketing campaign, there’s nobody in the background when you walk in raising signs with components you might like, at massively reduced prices. They also don’t have the huge buying power that allows them to purchase bikes & components at super low prices (grey imports rear their heads here too), they don’t send you an email every day to try and part you with your hard earned money, in fact, if you’re a regular, it’s more than likely you’ll have a cup of tea put in your hand, maybe something’s not working properly and they’ll stick your bike on the stand to have a quick look at it for you. All part of the service, no pressure sales, real people selling products at sustainable prices, doing the best they can.

This is the reality of the modern day bike industry, small local bike shops dotted about the countryside, providing good knowledgable service, free information & advice on products, likely supporting your local bike club, offering discounts to loyal customers, this in stark contrast to a multinational online warehouse retailer with no after sales service, not even a phone number you can contact if you have a problem. We’ve all bought from the warehouse bike retailers, it’s essentially the same products, a bit cheaper, but as with a dying high street, where would you be without a bike shop you can go to for an emergency repair, a broken spoke etc. That’s essentially what you’re paying a little bit extra for, making sure that bike shop keeps paying the bills, keeps employing the staff (those guys that help you out when pay a visit, maybe slag you a bit too) and allows the owner to make a living, without those requirements nobody is going to run a bike shop, or any business, just to give you a convenient place to get your bike fixed.

So just a thought, support the local bike shops that provide the service you like, don’t support those that don’t, check with them before you make a big purchase, or any purchase, you might be surprised at what they can do for you. But don’t expect them to match exactly what your online warehouse is charging, you may get a ‘sigh’ and a blank stare, these guys are up against it every hour of every day, people telling them they can get this & that for this price here & there. You need your local bike shop & it needs you.

p.s. I don’t work for or in a local bike shop, I just like local bike shops, not just one, but all the good ones, they’re everywhere, try one.

3 Responses

  1. I have always used local bike shops, my grandad taught me the importance of this. I bought a new mtb this year having been in a wheelchair for the last 8 and now getting more mobile. I did not hesitate to from East Lothian up to Edinburgh to the coop. Nothing against my local, very shiny and new shop, I know the owner, he used to drive taxis. I went to a team I know, trust and who are happy to help over and over. I knew that as I had specific needs due to being labelled ‘disabled’ I needed to trust them and have them trust me back on a bike. They were great, built it for me to my spec and were happy to help me on and off the various choices once I explained what I thought I was looking for. I could have spent less online, granted, but within Scottish Cycling we are part of a community and I’ve been in and out of there for years. I’d have happily gone to other shops too but they are much more complicated when you are travelling in a wheelchair AND you want the manpower to have two people helping you on, just in case you fall in the shop considering I’m a ‘hazard’ and all. Happily, my bike was ready on time to be collected by a friend with a car. Wonderfully I’ve been out pottering about with the wind in my face and tarmac, as yet, beneath my wheels. It feels good and there were no corporate giants involved. Fortunately for me Beyond Boundaries are local to me, so as I want to adventrure more I’ll be safe until I feel confindent enough to go solo. I am not disabled enough to need an adapted bike, they are great but I’m 4 surgeries away from being ‘normal’ again, so this was a great way to empower me as I don’t feel disabled when my wheels are front to back, only when they are either side of me! Thank you Edinburgh Bike!

  2. […] Along with all this success, the cycling market is now targeting the area with that large disposable income, crudely referred to in some press articles as MAMILs (Middle Aged Men In Lycra). This has perhaps led to the reduction in other areas of the bike industry, where the ‘throw-away culture’ doesn’t fit. Frame building, repair & painting, wheel building & repair, and your local bike shop, which I’ve covered before. […]

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