Finding a Local Bike Shop with a Good Vibe to Fit Your Style
by Jess Leong, HaveFunBiking.com
Trying to find a local bike shop can seem daunting and more work than it’s worth. However, a great local shop that fits your needs can be invaluable as time goes on. When trying to find the right shop you need to consider what you value most. Is it a knowledgeable staff person, a great selection, great or quick service, or etc?
Friendly bike shop store front, showing accessibility and community involvement, is like a welcome mat inviting you in.
Everyone, from beginners to experienced cyclists, can find that choosing a bike shop can be a tough decision, especially with many shops in a given area. While confident and knowledgeable staff members are important – we all want advice from experts who know what they are talking about. But other factors should also be considered.
Stepping into a bike shop can be overwhelming, but it is a necessity to find the right fit for you.
Key Factors to Consider When Checking Out a Bike Shop:
Knowledgeable staff members that can give reliable advice and speak in a way that you can understand is key. If they are using words that may be unfamiliar to you or are not willing to clearly explain it, this might not be the shop for you. They should know what they’re talking about. If they don’t know the answer, they should be willing to find the answer out for you. Even experts can get stumped on good questions!
Friendly and Reliable Staff
Knowledgeable bike shop staff, not afraid to do a little research for you, is the key to a great experience.
Expect friendly and reliable staff members at the shop you visit. You should feel comfortable approaching and asking all of your biking questions – no matter how stupid you might think a question is. (There is no such thing as a ‘stupid question.’ So, feel free to ask away!) Additionally, these staff members should be people you can rely on for your biking needs. If they aren’t focused on what you’re there for and are pushing products at you that you don’t really need, then this can be a deal breaker. You want people – at least a mechanic – who love and understand bikes. After all, you need to feel comfortable in entrusting them with your wheels.
A decent range of products should be within the shop, unless they are a specialty shop. You want to have options and be able to look at different items and products within the shop so you can find the best fit for you – if you need it.
Most bike shops have a large assortment of accessories and essentials to make your #nextbikeadventure memorable.
A good bike shop will have a large assortment of cycling accessories and other essentials to make your #nextbikeadventure memorable.
Quick or Reasonable Repair Timeline
Having a bike shop mechanic who is knowledgeable and enjoys his work is an added plus.
When a problem arises with your bike, you want it repaired in a quick manner so we could get out riding again, as soon as possible. No one wants to wait weeks for their bike to be repaired. A quick, or at least reasonable, repair time might be what’s most important for you.
Shop Hours that Work for You
Reasonable hours that work for your schedule is something you can easily find out without ever going to the store. Today, you can look up stores online to find their hours and see if it will work for you.
Some bike shops are open only on the weekend, others are open from early morning and close by 5 p.m. or earlier, and yet others might be open late into the evening. Depending on what works for your schedule, this can help eliminate potential bike shops. If you have a job from 8 a.m. to 5 p.m. every day, a bike shop that is only open during the weekday during that period of time might not be the best fit.
A good shop will check in with the rider and ask them asking how they are. If a relationship is built they will ask about a product the rider might have bought. If a mistake occurs, the shop will work with the rider to try to correct it, or apologize.
It is important to note that while a bike shop might be perfect for one person, it may not be the ideal bike shop for another. While many bike shops have knowledge of different types of biking styles, some will have more specific knowledge of a particular type. In other words, every bike stop has different vibe and it just depends whether or not it suits you.
Tip: To save time, many riders would suggest checking on websites that rate bike shops to find ratings of their service, what they may offer, and if they are worth looking into.
Don’t lose heart, if after researching the first bike shop you discover it isn’t ideal for you, visit the next one. Many times, riders need to visit several shops, and sometimes go through a service or two, before finding the perfect fit for them.
Finding the shop that is best suited for you might take some time, and that’s okay. It’s worth it because if you ever have questions or your bike needs repair, they got your back. Plus, it ensures good service and fewer problems in the future.
Did your favorite bike shop make America’s Best Bike Shop list?
The National Bicycle Dealers Association has recently published its 2016 list of America’s Best Bike Shops. Retailers who made the cut this year not only offer great shopping experiences and expert staff, but are also rated on dedication to their communities and support for bicycle advocacy locally and nationally. See here if your bike shop made the cut.
Less hassle, better vibes is something we can all get behind. Happy shopping!
Jess Leong is a writer for HaveFunBiking.com.