An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
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Friday, March 25, 2011

The Bike Shop Owner...

If what happened Wednesday is any indication of the health of the local bike shop industry, I can see why it's on death's door.

My wife was in need of a road bike that fit her. She'd bought a used Bianchi Eros last year which was too big for her, and it's no surprise that riding it was uncomfortable. We sold that bike just a week ago, and with some other money kicked in, had enough to head out to get another one. She'd had a fit done at another shop (Sammamish Valley Cycle -- great shop) by an as-yet uncertified fitter, so the fit was free. Unfortunately that shop didn't have anything in stock that fit my wife. She's not really short, at 5'3", but she's leggy. The proportions made it difficult to find something that fit.

So after much Craigslist searching, she found a couple bikes that were close at a local shop -- a Specialized Dolce Elite in 48cm, and a Felt ZW100 in 43cm. Sounds like a big disparity in sizing, right? Well, the Specialized is sized by the top tube (which is the more critical dimension for my wife), but at 48cm was actually smaller than the Felt. The Felt has 650 sized wheels...

While she was in there testing the bikes Wednesday afternoon, and I was at work, I didn't hear the conversation... But as it was related to me, apparently the shop owner isn't too keen on 650s. He told her that when she was riding with others, she wouldn't be able to keep up. Huh?!?! Four of my eight bikes use 650s, and I have no trouble "keeping up". I figured he was trying to steer her to the more expensive bike...

So she decided to wait until I could go to the shop with her. We hopped on the motorcycle and rode down there as soon as I got home from work.

Now I really can't say for sure that no one else came in to test them, but neither one was close to adjusted for her to test. She had just ridden on them not 3 hours earlier. I had to ASK to have them adjusted. I'd brought her fit numbers with me so I could get them at least close to the right mark. After asking for a level and measuring tape, checking some things, all the while the owner is standing there watching me, I had to then ASK to actually have the adjustments made. He fiddled with one of the bikes, and I had to make the adjustments to the other one. And then I had to ASK to have a stationary trainer set up to put the bikes on so she could get on and ride them to check out. All the while this guy seemed clueless. And this is the shop owner.

Granted, these weren't exactly high-dollar models, and I should give them props for having bikes in my wife's size in stock, but still.

I'm not going to name the place, as I don't believe in trial by internet. But I was just shocked at this. Fortunately he didn't go into the 650 wheel size drivel with me.

She ended up buying the Felt, as it was spot on with her fit numbers, and she thought it felt (haha!) better. She just picked it up yesterday, as we couldn't exactly carry it home on the motorcycle.

I guess I need to get the bike rack on the motorcycle...

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