3EVERYONE DESERVES ANOTHER CHANCE The reality is, people will let you down. It
doesn’t matter how qualified or hardworking they
are, there will always be a time when your shop
doesn’t follow through, or you catch someone
on a bad day and have a terrible customer service experience. Your go-to shop employee is
probably working full-time for less than $13 an
hour while trying to meet a lot of people’s expectations. He or she is bound to have moments of
If your local shop upsets you once or doesn’t
get your bike working exactly the way you would
like it, give the shop a chance to make the situation right. This is a test that separates the good
shops from the bad ones. A good shop will be
reasonable and do what it needs to make sure
that you’re being taken care of.
4COMMUNICATION IS KEY It’s easy for things to get lost in transla- tion when explaining exactly what kind of
part you need or service you’re looking for. Part
of avoiding bad communication is asking clarifying questions. Asking questions also allows you
to build a relationship with the mechanic who is
working on your bike. Express your concerns if
you aren’t happy with the shop’s service. Yelp is
not the place to complain about your negative
experiences, especially if you haven’t given the
shop a chance to work it out with you. One benefit of Internet competition is that it forces shops
to hire good workers who offer good customer
service and are relatable. After all, the Internet
doesn’t sell labor or personal interaction. A shop
owner will want to know if the employees aren’t
delivering on this front.
5THE FREE STUFF THAT NO ONE GETS The most common question that gets
asked in a bike shop is, “How much is it?” Sure,
everyone working at the shop loves riding, but
they are also there to make money. If they don’t
make money, they won’t be in business. It’s as
simple as that. Don’t be shocked when they
charge you for a flat repair or for adding more
sealant to your tires. Work takes time, and time is
money. They are there to make money, but they
aren’t making nearly what you think they are.
Expensive bikes and expensive parts aren’t paying for any shop worker’s new BMW. Shop workers earn an incredibly humble living, and they
aren’t getting their parts or bikes for free, either.
We understand that some of you might have
a limited number of bike shops to choose from
in your area. If your local shop just doesn’t cut it
for you, that’s okay. Shops won’t always be able
to make everyone happy every time, but they
should be willing to try. The way to grow and
become a standout shop is by offering riders an
experience that they won’t get anywhere else. If
you’ve been burned by your shop, walk away for
a while, but not so far away that you aren’t willing
to give it another try down the trail. ■
Get it checked: Even if you do most of your own work, it’s good to
take your bike in once a year to get a second opinion. Sometimes
another set of eyes can catch things that you might have missed.
If you try it, buy it: There is growing trend of going to a shop to try
on or check stuff in person, only to go home and order it online.
Don’t be one of those people.