Finally, a bike shop I can tolerate

We all know that I generally dislike bike shops.  And of course, there are many people out there who do believe in the whole LBS thing.  Every once in a while, I cast pity on the ol’ LBS and grace them with my presence.  It usually ends not well – they “talk down” to me like I am idiot and not a licensed engineer and I get pissed.  Of course, my ego doesn’t help things – I haven’t worked my butt off to have some little punk in a bicycle shop tell me my business.  As Big Daddy Jim says, “When I’m right, I’m right.”  I like to pretend that is all the time.

Bicycles really are simple machines and it is amazing how we got a long just fine without all the pricks working in a bicycle shop.  You know, in the early 20th century.  I suppose there were pricks back then, I just like to pretend they weren’t involved with selling bicycles.

My home based shop. A mess, but there are very jobs I can't do.

My home based shop. A mess, but there are very few jobs I can’t do.

I had sent the Circle A in for some repainting and Chris pulled out my bottom bracket.  He said it was “chunky.”  I say it was a POS.  Velo Orange makes some nice things, but their bottom bracket isn’t one of them.  I generally trust what Das Deutsch, Jan Heine, has to say.  After some research, especially in the Tandem section of BikeForums.net (the tandem guys really know their stuff – probably because most bike shops don’t know how to work on a tandem), I concluded what Jan is claiming to be true – the SKF bottom bracket is “the nuts.”  I plopped down for one and I didn’t realize I needed another bottom bracket tool.

With this more or less immediate need, having relocated to a new area and it being a new year – I figured I’d give the pricks down at the LBS the benefit of the doubt.  I traveled down there to purchase the bottom bracket tool.  Which they didn’t have for sale.  The guy said I could bring in the frame and he could run the bottom bracket in for me real quick.  I knew better than to think it would be free.  But, he seemed cool so I promoted him from prick to weenie.

I called a couple days later to ask about turn around time and cost.  Not sure if I was talking to the newly appointed Weenie, but it would be 2 days before they could get to it and they wanted $25.  The tool costs $15!  And in 2 days Amazon can have the tool to me.  My choice was easy, especially since I wasn’t going to pay this tool wrench $25 every time I needed to remove my bottom bracket.

Different day, different problem, same part on the bicycle.  My chainline is all screwed up and I want to drop in a few spacers.  With my deep aversion to this other bike shop, I turn my good ol’ friend Google.  He’s a smart dude, and can probably find me another bike shop.  Sure enough, this little guy pops up.  I call and they check to see if they have any spacers.  They wanted a $1/spacer.  Done.

I get there and they pull a bunch.  I settle on the 3 I want and I get some end caps for my brake and shifter cable.  The guy says, “I don’t know what to charge you, a couple bucks?”  I pull out a buck, all I have and said I can go grab some change out of my car.  He tells me not to worry about it.  And then he gives me a $10 gift certificate to the shop.

If this was the service I got at all bike shops, I get the “support your LBS” thing.  But, this isn’t the norm based on my experience.  Hopefully, I continue to have positive experiences at my new LBS.

Do you use a LBS?  What makes you shop at the LBS or online?

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3 responses to “Finally, a bike shop I can tolerate

    • As soon as I let my guard down, a different LBS screws me. I called to ask if they had a certain item, I waited on hold while they checked and they came back and told me they did. I packed up both girls, drove 20 mins down to the shop and they told me they didn’t have it. Pricks.

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