Have you ever walked out of a bike shop feeling highly irritated with how you’ve been treated? Maybe the staff were patronising, didn’t listen to your needs or pushed too hard to get you to order a service you didn’t need. It’s an unfortunate story that many cyclists, especially those new to the game, will repeat. However, salvation can be found simply by switching bike shop. There are plenty out there that are offering an excellent service and are genuinely interested in their customer’s cycling experience.
Here are four tell tale signs that it’s time to switch bike shop.
Beginner questions are greeted with a rolling of the eyes and a lack of explanation
At some point all of us had no idea what a derailleur is or what type of bike we need. It’s not helpful when the bike shop assistant gives vague answers, looks down on you and makes a suggestion without explanation. If you are not getting the answers you need to feel comfortable with your purchase then it’s time to take your business elsewhere.
The staff are simply not listening to you
I was recently speaking to the founders of Foffa Bikes. They started the company after a frustrating experience in London’s bike shops. The owner simply wanted to buy a single speed bike for getting around London. The assistants said that it’s more of a fashion accessory and recommended something with gears. Whilst a bike shop is there to offer advice, in this situation they were ignoring the customers needs. Which was for something low maintenance needed around central London. Nicole has repeated to me similar horror stories of being recommended pink bikes just because she’s a woman.
You are getting the hard sell
You go into a bike shop with a skipping chain and you end up being told your brakes need servicing and you need a new set of wheels. It’s good that you are being recommended potential upgrades but there shouldn’t be a hard sell. If you just want the most pressing problem fixed then that is your decision.
A typical story you’ll hear is that you went in for a £50-£80 bike service and the components replaced add up to more than £100 extra. Again, it’s good the bike shop is identifying things that need to be replaced but you should be consulted before they do so.
My favourite kind of bike shop will tell me when I can get more mileage out of something before it needs replacing.
You are waiting too long for a bike service
When something goes wrong on your bike you need it fixed as soon as possible. If a bike shop is telling you it will be a week or so before they can take a look at it then it’s clear they have a lot on their plate and you should find somewhere that’s able to accommodate you.
Finding a good new bike shop
You can also checkout some of my favourite London bike shops where there are also some excellent suggestions from London cyclist readers.
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As seen on The Guardian, BBC and The Independent.