My wife and I bought our gravel bikes through the local bike shop. I got a fair deal on them, and we’ve ridden them hard. We may have been able to get a “better” bike, possibly with better components, for the same price from an internet based, direct sale manufacturer. However…
My wife and I believe in our local shop. In fact, we’ve purchased seven new single bikes, my used Trek, and our tandem from the same shop over the last ten years – not to mention the upgrades (oh, sweet baby Jesus in a manger, the upgrades!): Two new cranks (S-Works for my Venge, 105 for my wife’s Alias) , a handlebar for the Venge, then a paint job, seat post, crank, bottom bracket, and a headset for my 5200, dozens of tires, wheels for my wife’s road bike, fenders for the tandem…. plus all of the clothes, and tuneups, and a few mechanical issues I couldn’t sort out on my own…. a new Cyclops Magneto trainer just last night (I know I could have done slightly better online that I did at the shop but only slightly).
We also volunteer heavily, for everything we can that the shop has its hands in, plus for the annual club sponsored ride.
We’ve been good to our shop and they treat us even better.
For instance, my wife’s gravel bike seems to have had a defective wheel (it’s cracked at more than half-a-dozen spoke holes), so the shop contacted the manufacturer who promptly replaced the wheel as a warranty issue, more than a year after I bought the gravel bikes. If I bring a wheel to be trued (because I really suck at truing wheels), somebody will jump on it and have me out the door, with my wheel, in ten minutes if someone is free. On another occasion, they completely rebuilt a wheel for me in two days, right before the biggest tour of the season, so I could have my backup wheelset. Or how about that brand new trainer I just bought? The resister housing was shipped with a loose screw. I didn’t realize this when I put it together, I just knew it shouldn’t be making the noise it was making when I turned the crank. I called the shop, took it in and the mechanic had it fixed in ten minutes. I was out the door and home, round trip, in 30 minutes. Now, could I have fixed that on my own? Likely, given some time and a little bit of want to (which I would have had, rather than go through the trouble of shipping the old trainer back for a new one), but I didn’t have to bother – I had a mechanic to take care of it.
My friends, there’s a lot of good on the internet, but it can’t do that.
Support your local bike shop. You don’t have to buy everything there, but if your shop goes out of business because everyone decided they’ve gotta save a buck online, who are you going to have fix your stuff when you can’t? Good luck sending your precious steed to the internet.
Oh, and just so we’re clear; yes, the store marks up an item a little more than they do on the web, because your bike shop has a storefront it has to pay for. The internet doesn’t have to pay the same rent, or employ as many people, so your internet company likely makes more money on you than your local shop will with all things leveled out.
It’s something to chew on.
This post was inspired by my Tasmanian brother from another mother, the Tempocyclist. Visit him here.