The opinions expressed below are from a frustrated UK shop owner with
an attitude and in no way reflect North Road Bicycle Imports's
attitude. Should we arrive early for critical work and find someone
tapping their foot, we will continue past the shop and proceed to go for
coffee, adding about fifteen miles to our morning constitutional — as many
physicians of high standing caution that
is not to be encouraged in our
line of work.
Besides, a proper cyclist should be equipped, practiced
and prepared to fix a puncture — otherwise it only encourages one to develop these problems.
My father always felt that walking long distances while pushing a bicycle was a great teacher for anyone who forgot the Scout Motto: "Be Prepared."
SO YOU THINK IT'S EASY WORKING IN A BIKE SHOP?
From the editor of the Corinium CC Newsletter (Previously published in
the North Road Gazette Jan 2003)
You wake up in the morning, open up the curtains and the sun is
shining which bodes well for the commute to work — of course
undertaken by bike.
You arrive at work at 8.30am ready to get the shop open for 8.45am,
but as you turn the corner, so you see the first customer of the day
already stood outside, tapping his feet and looking at his watch
impatiently. As you pull up, without him even saying good morning, he
demands "I need my puncture fixed in a hurry, I'm on my way to work".
You open the shop up, go inside and put his bike up onto the workstand
— all the while he's looking at his watch, tutting and murmuring
something about being late. You then of course discover the wheel nuts
are rounded off. Anyway, you eventually get the job done, then when
you tell him the price he moans about how expensive it is but finally
pays up and without so much as a thank you leaves the shop still
tutting and murmuring under his breath.
The shop can then be opened up properly and your next customer comes
in — another puncture — and it's the dreaded rear wheel on a three
speed shopper bike! Of course the lady has just ridden through a
message that a dog has left on a grass verge, so you don rubber gloves
and face mask ready to dive in. Being a three-speed wheel it has a
steel rim which — as everyone who has ever tried to remove a tyre from
one of these rims would know — is near to impossible. Two snapped tyre
levers and two lots of skin removed from knuckles later, the lady pays
up and leaves the shop, satisfied as you drip blood all over the
The shop goes quiet for a while but then in come two deliveries — as
always you can guarantee there is something missing and it takes you
half an hour to convince the supplier that the bits were not in the
box and you're not trying to con parts out of him.
Then suddenly he arrives! Mr. Roadie! In his brand new Cofidis gear
thinking he's David Millar. He'll start to talk to you about the
merits of 9-speed Shimano Dura-Ace over 10-speed Campag Record. This
banter will go on for 20 minutes before you discover that all he
actually wants is a spoke key, which you have priced 1.50. He then
mentions something about spotting it 1.40 in 'The Comic' (real
roadies always refer to Cycling Weekly as 'The Comic'!) and can you
match the price? Finally he waddles out in his Look cleats.
The next person that comes in is quite normal looking in jeans and
t-shirt, but you know you're on to a loser when he starts to ask if
you have Shimano part number
84A 5179. You reply with a blank stare
and the question "what might that be sir?"
To which he answers, "It's
the return spring for a 1995 left-hand RSX lever", as if you should
have known? When you tell him that you haven't got this part in stock
but you can order it from Shimano he says "I thought you were a
proper bike shop and carried spares". He then asks the price and when
you tell him it's 50p he says he's got to think about whether he can
afford the expenditure.
Anyway, it's now getting onto time for a tea break and you can
absolutely guarantee that as soon as you take a bite out of your
buttie either somebody will come in or the phone will ring.
You plod on through the day until about 3.30pm when it's the dreaded
going home from school time and the shop fills up with kids with no
money and big ideas. You have to watch them like a hawk, for the very
second you look away all of your accessories can be emptied into their
school bag and they'll be out of the door.
It's getting close to closing the shop now, it's 5.30 pm and you want
to go home. The shutters are down, the lights are off and bingo! —
somebody pulls into the car park. When you tell them you're closed,
they reply "but I need a waterproof jacket tonight", and never wanting
to turn down a sale you agree reluctantly to open up. You spend the
next hour-and-a-half talking about the difference between Gortex and
Pertex and them trying on every jacket a least three times. Then after
the hour-and-half they turn round and say "OK, I'll think about it —
sorry, have I kept you open?" You'd love to punch them in the mouth,
but you grit your teeth, smile politely and bid them farewell closing
the door at last.
So you still want to work in a bike shop?