New Bike Day!One of the greatest feelings in the cycling world is walking out of the door of your local bike shop with a new bike! But what if you don’t fit the look of a cyclist as you walk through the door? Your local bike shop should be a place you trust and feel comfortable, after all, you are going to likely be spending a good amount of cash with them.
Sadly as I sought out to find my first “real bike” the first couple of shops I visited didn’t get my business, despite having the bike I wanted sitting on the rack. Walking through the door of these local shops, I instantly felt out of place. I had done my research ahead of time, as I tend to do on any major purchase, so all I needed was a smiling face and someone to complete the sale.
The first shop I visited, I could not get the attention of the sales staff, one person who was standing behind the counter, simply pointed me at the rack of bikes. Their bikes were not priced, so when I asked, the reply I received was a mumbled back number. I decided to walk out of the door. The second shop was more accommodating but the sales associate literally walked to help another customer as I was waiting to test ride the bike, and did not return. Another lost sale.
When I walked into American Cycle & Fitness – The Trek Bicycle Stores of Michigan, the staff greeted me with a smile and after a quick test ride and adjustment, I was loading the bike up on the back of my vehicle to head home! They have since received my return business on accessories and my recommendation to multiple people. This bike is my Trek Bicycle Marlin hardtail mountain bike I rode the first couple years both on the road and off. This is now my dedicated mountain bike and has treated me well!
Last year when I decided to buy something more accommodating to what had become my normal rides on the local back roads. After researching dozens of manufacturers, I narrowed it down to a style in the “Gravel Bike” category. Why Gravel? Most have higher weight limits due to being built to withstand rougher terrain and packing gear. Then came the challenge of finding the right size. I can’t emphasize enough the importance of getting the right size bike for your body. Being 6’4″ I was able to use the sizing guides and in most, needed an XL frame. Most manufacturers post the weight limits, but remember, this is with gear. My second bike is my Cannondale Topstone 4.
I lucked out when it came to a dealer for this bike. I found, through Cannondale’s site, that a shop about an hour away had one on the showroom floor. That shop was Grand Rapids Bicycle Company and as I walked in, they happened to have the bike I was there to look at beautifully displayed in the window, glowing in the daytime sun. The sales associate came up and immediately asked if I wanted to test ride it, giving me confidence in the sale. During setup, we spent time and did my first ever saddle measurement, a task equally important to the bike fitting, I’ll do another post on that soon. I instantly fell in love and walked out with a new bike, saddle and peddles.
In summary, don’t be afraid of going into your local bike shop. If you don’t feel welcomed, there are likely others in driving distance. Find one that won’t judge you, instead, one that welcomes you, and is excited to have a customer passionate about riding. Do research on size and weight limits and don’t give up, finding your size might be difficult in today’s market but once you find the perfect bike, that “New Bike Day” feeling is amazing!