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Love for the LBS

Sometimes you want to go where everybody knows your name

“Norm!”… anyone of an age, or propensity to watch repeats of American comedies on any number of satellite television channels, will be familiar with the cheer that would emanate from from the bar as Norm arrived.  Ok, so I don’t get that raucous reception every time I go into my local bike shop, but it’s nice to be known by name, or be a “kent face” as they say in Scotland.  The benefits of having a good local bike shop are not dissimilar to the advantages of belonging to a club.

Asking what I’m there to buy isn’t necessarily the first thing that comes my way, the people working there know there’s more to my life than cycling (I wish they’d tell my wife, as she might be of a differing opinion) and they take an interest in what’s going on outside the world of two wheels and a set of cranks.  That’s not to say service is lax - they are, of course, in the business of selling; customer retention is also at the forefront of the business model.

Kaino, not your average customer!

Not your average customer!

Goals?  What goals?  Ah, the focus of this year’s cycling, I'm with you now.  How much training am I doing, what sort of training, am I enjoying it?  A bit of advice, a few questions, knowledge of what other people have been up to - all get shared in the shop; a bike community congregates on those floorboards.

Advice is something that I value, though I’ve found that it’s not always given just to make a sale.  A good example would be an in-shop discussion held last year on the benefits of Q-rings; the advice I got was clear and impartial - I wasn’t being sold on it because someone liked or disliked them, or because the manufacturer says this/that/the other.  It was better information than any page I’d researched on the internet, even though there wasn’t a clear steer in either direction.  I made my own mind up on what to buy and that was the best outcome.

Your local bike shop is more than just a place to get your spare tubes or a new free-hub.  There’s more on offer than new saddles, bars, bikes and gloves.  Good information and advice in given, friendly faces and people who give you some of their time - even if it’s to nip in and have a chin wag about how bad the weather has been - you get a relationship.  It’s what’s missing from the convenience of on-line shopping, even though you’ll find yourself purchasing online due to lack of time to get to the shop, or want of a specific product.  You’ve got ownership in the bike shop - you put in to the community and you’ll get more out of it than you would ever imagine.

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