The local bike shop is suffering. The rise of internet giants pushing products at below cost price, the skyrocketing cost of rent on floor space and the savvy consumer driven to buy everything for next to nothing have all contributed to many independent bike shops shutting their doors for good.
But they deserve your support. A quality local bike shop is a real gem and you should throw your support behind them. Sure, they can’t offer consumables (chains, cassettes, tyres, etc) at the same discounts online mega warehouses, but they are a wealth of information and real world advice.
The Focus I bought from Sigma Sports, expertly set up by experienced staff.
They may cost a *little* more, but your local bike shop isn’t trying to rip you off, they’re just trying to keep the doors open and their staff employed. Most of the staff live, eat and breathe bikes! Plus who is going to fix your ride when you’ve broken it beyond your mechanical abilities? That big online shop? Not likely.
The bike shop does need to evolve with the times though. Just like any business, you can’t afford to rest on your laurels. A well laid out website, maybe a cafe, extra add-ons, shop rides and niche products all help them stay alive. It’s hard out there – but not impossible – to fight the online takeover.
I recently had the pleasure of buying a mountain new bike – way out of my depth as a certified roadie – so I sought out a local shop to help. I received fantastic service from all the staff. As well as a great price, I got a bunch of spares thrown in to sweeten the deal. They even gave me a general bike fit and explained all the new tech to me (suspension settings, dropper post, derailleur clutch, etc). You don’t get that sort of five star service when you order a bike online.
So next time you’re looking for some new gear, instead of just clicking through to your favourite low-cost website, why not head down to your local bike shop and see what they can do for you.
Every time you shop locally, you’re supporting your local community, a local family and your local economy. So make a point to visit your LBS, start up a conversation, get to know your mechanics and sales staff, because a good relationship with your local bike shop can be invaluable. It pays to shop local.
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