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.
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?