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Discussion: Bike shop

in: Swampfox; Swampfox > 2016-06-09

Jun 10, 2016 3:16 PM # 
Nice. I have had slow repairs/tune-ups recently. It seems very hit-of-miss in Lawrence. At first I thought it was demand-driven, but I'm thinking it is more of a supply-of-bike-mechanic issue in Lawrence.

My current theory is that I should take my bike in when it is most convenient to not have access to it. So I took my commuter bike in when I was going to be out of town for a conference. August would also be an ideal time - avoiding both the worst of the heat and the worst of the returning-to-school driving.
Jun 10, 2016 5:07 PM # 
Good to get the bike back so soon! When will the leg be ready - Monday?
Jun 10, 2016 6:25 PM # 
I wish!
Jun 10, 2016 6:46 PM # 
Probably bike shops here are less busy than yours in Lawrence, at a guess. Especially right now, when students are away, with the students making up a larger percentage of the population here than in Lawrence.

But in the end, if I have something break and it needs fixing, it doesn't matter if the bike shop is busy or not--if it's not something I'm going to fix myself, it's going to the bike shop.

I think it can help if the folks at the shop know you, at least sometimes. I know it did yesterday.
Jun 10, 2016 6:51 PM # 
You do have another bike, right?
Jun 10, 2016 9:43 PM # 
For the sake of a $3 cable, you went through all that?

You could even treat yourself to a nice cable/housing cutter, and still come out ahead. :-)
Jun 10, 2016 10:23 PM # 
Can't get that $3 cable delivered by this afternoon.
Jun 11, 2016 12:56 AM # 
It was a cable and housing set, and a few dollars of labor--well worth it to me, to have it done and done right, and a total no brainer. I love going down to my bike shop or just stopping by even for no reason at all to say hi to the guys there, and am very happy to have the chance give them some business when it comes up. They do a great deal of volunteer work to support biking and the biking community here in town.

I'd encourage anyone who bikes regularly to do what they can to help support their local bike shop.
Jun 11, 2016 1:07 AM # 
Agree completely, SF. We have a little bike shop a mile down the road. I buy everything I can there. Well worth it to me in ways that have norhing to do with dollars and sense.
Jun 11, 2016 11:00 AM # 
And I agree completely, SF. But the reality is that small neighborhood shops are being put out of business by the internet all over the world. The writing is on the wall, as much as we try to patronize the small 'mom-n-pop' stores. Storefronts and shopping centers are sitting vacant in even the best retail locations all over Chicago...and I imagine elsewhere too.

For instance, I bike past Home Depot every day to patronize my local hardware store where I've known the owner and staff for 30 years. They've solved many of my maintenance problems with their antique inventory and vast knowledge...far more than Home Depot and its 'Greeter' are capable of doing. It will be a sad day when they decide to retire.

The other thing is that IMO a bicycle offers "Freedom" from all of the car culture...mechanics included! Doing your own bike maintenance extends that feeling of freedom and independence...and at least for me, gives me an even greater appreciation for the simple things in life! :-)
Jun 11, 2016 5:27 PM # 
There are two main bike shops in Lawrence and I try to use both of them. Sunflower is where I've bought two bikes over the last 6 years. They are downtown and very convenient to my office. It is very hit or miss at Sunflower as to whether or not they recognize me. Cycleworks is the other shop. I haven't bought any bikes there. They are convenient to my house. I've known the owner of CW since the early 1980s. He definitely remembers me, despite me having been away from Lawrence for almost 20 years. I think both stores suffer from the difficulty of finding and keeping mechanics.
Jun 11, 2016 9:18 PM # 
The nearest LBS to where I currently live folded a few months ago. The nearest one to where I used to live (which is walking distance from where I live now) folded years ago, because the proprietor retired and eventually died. It was a mom and pop bike shop in the most literal sense, and I used to have all of my bike repair work done there, and got all of my bikes there. The owner taught me most of what I know about repairing and maintaining bicycles. I would walk though the showroom every morning before I went to school. Because it was on the way from my bedroom to the door of the house. It was the south half of our living room. Mom still lives there.
Jun 12, 2016 3:52 AM # 
I spent some time at that bike shop once. I remember it well. It had everything you needed and even more. It even had a hand dug cellar for surplus parts and cool, cool, ginger ale.
Jun 12, 2016 7:37 PM # 
I have a plethora of shops to choose from and, generally speaking, all are friendly, helpful and *busy*. They aren't mom-and-pop shops though. All are one of a number in a local or regional chain. I would guess the competitiveness of the market motivates them to maintain decent customer service. Small tasks will often be done while I wait, like recently when I had to have the derailleur hanger replaced. If it is more time consuming, I'll use Mike's strategy of dropping the bike off when I won't need it. I will do many things myself but darned if I'm going to start bending hangers or trying to replace an internally routed cable.
Jun 14, 2016 1:05 AM # 
And from totally opposite view, I am pretty sure I have NEVER had any of my bikes (our family owns 9) repaired in a bike shop. I am quite happy to rebuild and replace whatever it needs, and I guess, not give my money to elsewhere.
And I virtually have always purchased on line, or days of yesteryear, mail order.
Jun 14, 2016 2:22 AM # 
You did stop by my dad's place once, years ago, but I don't remember what for. (You're also the kind of guy who does a lot of wrenching on his own cars, far beyond the abilities of most. )
Jun 14, 2016 2:37 AM # 
JJ--I do have a mountain bike. It can of course roll on roads, but really the other bike is the better option for that. ; )
Jun 14, 2016 2:54 AM # 
Sometimes you just have to pick where you're going based on the equipment available. But I'm glad it worked out that you had all of your options. (Of course, you're not fully equipped if you don't also have a unicycle...)

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