Your local bike shop is an amazing source of help and information, not just somewhere to buy a bike. Here are five great reasons they need our support.
Small Business Saturday is the 30th November in the US and the 7th December in the UK. It’s a great time to show your support for the many small and often family run bike shops that keep cyclists pedalling. If you haven’t yet met your local bike shop, or LBS, it’s time to look them up, they offer far more than just bike sales.
1) Bike shop staff are immersed in the cycling community
Want to join a cycling club and not sure which is the best for beginners? Fancy dipping your toe in racing but not sure where to start? Wondering where the best routes are locally? You can absolutely guarantee someone in your LBS will have an opinion and some sound advice for you. Most people who work in bike shops do so because they love cycling and are committed to the sport, they will have a great insight to what is happening in your local cycle scene from being a part of it themselves and listening to what other customers are getting up to. It’s hard to find this breadth of knowledge anywhere else and it can be invaluable in helping you develop your cycling experiences.
2) They can help you make better buying choices
Spend some time chatting about the type of riding you do and you’ll find that your LBS will be able to point you in the direction of the best kit for you in a way no website ever could. They will know every product in their store inside and out and will most likely have used a lot of them in their own cycling. They want you to buy the right thing and enjoy using it. It is in their own interest too, as happy customers means repeat business, and happy cyclists love spending money on their hobby!
3) They will help you learn how to look after your own bike
Mechanics just can’t help themselves, they are always giving advice away for free and actively teaching their customers how to fix their own bikes. It’s as if they want to be out of a job! Mechanics will also be happy to explain how the finer details of your bike works, how to maintain it better and how to identify when components need changing. Ultimately this can save you money on your repair bill. If you can’t fix your own puncture or mend a chain someone in your LBS will be willing to show you. It helps if you catch them in a quiet moment and arrive with cake.
4) They won’t just sell you something, they will tell you how to use it
From explaining how to change gear on your fancy new road bike, or not to wear pants under your bib shorts, a bike shop will help you get the most from your new gear. Buying online means you miss out on the little bits of knowledge that bike shops have in abundance. They will also be able to fit the part for you, fix it if it goes wrong or mediate with the manufacturer if you have any problems.
5) Try before you buy
In a shop you can see what you are buying in the flesh and try it on for
size, potentially saving a lot of time and money in returning things that aren’t right or worse putting up with something that doesn’t fit properly. Yes, there are some unscrupulous people who go into shops to try on kit fully intending to buy it online once they have had the benefit of a sales person’s free advice, but this type of purchaser is beyond contempt. Be honest in the shop, say if you have seen it cheaper elsewhere. They may not be able to knock the price down but there may be some other benefit they can offer to be competitive with online retailers, at least give them the chance to try.