My Love-Hate With the Local Bike Shop

Last week I noticed that my bottom bracket was having some mild grinding. No audible sound was coming, but it was definitely grinding on the down-stroke. I ride a 2016 Cervelo P3 which is fitted with a press fit BBRight bracket. And I’m completely incapable of performing this specific piece of maintenance.

Thursday before hitting the pool I went down to my local bike shop to ask some questions about it. The guys in there are usually pretty nice, but having not brought my bike with me (intentionally) there was only so much I could do. I knew that the grinding was a minor issue and that I still had three more days to ride before I had a day off the bike (the day off was Monday – today). So I asked about when to bring it in, about how long it would take, that kind of thing. They said bring it in first thing Monday – great.

Now I’ll mention that while I have no affiliation with the shop, they tend to be on the awesome side of things most of the time. A bit of a gruff exterior, but willing to bend pricing reasonably, easy to contact, and very convenient to my office. I bought my Cervelo from them as well as a variety of other items, and all with great experiences.

I should also mention that the city I live in is not small, but its not huge either. There are a handful of bike shops, but only one Cervelo dealer. So if I want an “official” mechanic, they’re my guys.

I arrived promptly at 9 am with my bike – so prompt in fact that the store wasn’t yet open. Sorry guys. I hate being that guy but I start work at 8 and had to leave to drop it for 9. Speaking to the staff it sounded like it would be towards the end of the week before I had the bike back. I had factored into my training plan to not have a bike from Monday until end of day Tuesday, and if I was able to swing that I’d not have to sacrifice a workout. But end of the week meant I’d have to change everything. I plan my upcoming weeks on Sunday nights, right around the time I have been posting my weekly workout logs.

Ok, well, I hummed for a second and decided it needed the work and I’d better just deal with it. It’s Base 1 Week 2. Loads of time to make up a day or two lost. Not the end of the world since my Form score is huge right now also. Etc.

Then I got to thinking “why don’t they accept service appointments?” It seems like a pretty trivial thing, especially for people that ride frequently. If I had an appointment, I could schedule around it. I’d absolutely be willing to pay more for that kind of thing. Then I remembered Velofix.

This is a relatively new service to our area, and I’ve yet to try it out, but the short version is they have a Sprinter van that is full of a bike workshop. Book an appointment with the service you want, and they show up at your door and do the work. There’s a $69 min charge for our area and I’d bet the labour costs are a bit higher than in a typical LBS, but they accept appointments.

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At this point, having now panicked about losing a bunch of days working out and knowing I had an appointment based solution available to me, I was grumpy. Cut to lunch, at home making grilled cheese sandwiches (yum), the shop calls and tells me that they’ve got my bike ready to go (!!….??). “All fixed up,” they said, and proceeded to tell me what the work was. “Great – I’ll be by after work to grab it – and THANK YOU!” I replied.

So now I know I’m not losing workout days, I’m pretty happy again. Head down to the shop after work & grab my bike, and here’s the kicker: they don’t even charge me for the work. I ask about appointments and they still say ‘no’ but I just keep thinking “I just saved $69+, and these guys are awesome!”

I don’t know what to think anymore. I’m happy. I’m lucky. I’ve got a great local bike shop that will prioritize work AND are great to their customers. And I’ve got Velofix, which also fits the ticket for when I’m in a pinch and need something quick. And the best part: I’ve got a sweet bike that I get to ask them to work on.

I’m not sure if there is a moral here, but if there is one I think it is to stick with what works, be good to those that are good to you, and trust in a trusted system. And of course, support your local bike shops. They’re great, even if they are a bit gruff sometimes.