CityCyclingEdinburgh Forum » Debate!

"Bike shops, ..., seem to revel in this bell curve of poverty."

(20 posts)

No tags yet.


  1. chdot
    Admin

    Interesting views on bike shops, and the bike industry generally.

    http://creativextreme.com/?p=369

    Posted 11 years ago #
  2. LaidBack
    Member

    Interesting. He says online 'whole bike' sales will have limited impact. I know myself that it isn't a commodity business once you're over £200.

    Customers expect (and need) to try stuff first. Although there will be some people that wil size a bike at a shop and then go somewhere online for sale.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  3. Dave
    Member

    Very interesting.

    There are some local parallels, for example I take all my business to the Bicycle Works now, having been exposed to it more heavily via getting my recumbent from David.

    It's not really a 'social hub' in any sense of the word (!!) but I guess this is an illustration of a shop with a tie in to something "more" (tours, a speciality expertise) that gives them an advantage over, say, the Bicycle Repair Man who are equally distant from our flat.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  4. chdot
    Admin

    My advice has always been -

    "Edinburgh is fortunate to have a range of shops. Try a few, ask for advice, choose one you feel comfortable with."

    Jacquie Phelan has written about bike shops generally, partly (but not only) from a woman's point of view -

    “1 Choosing a Shop – walk into store, making a mental note of your sense of height in inches when you go in. Wait for service, observe the reception you get, talk (if you can get the fellow’s attention), then take note of your stature upon leaving the store. If you feel appreciably smaller, do not return. Find another bike shop, and hope for a real human connection, a salesperson interested in what you want to do on your new bike, how you intend to use it.”


    Cartoon by Greta Snider who once produced a magazine called Mudflap and is now a filmmaker (http://www.heatsignature.com/bio.html ).

    Posted 11 years ago #
  5. SRD
    Moderator

    One of the things I like about the free Dr Bike sessions is that they always take you seriously and give sensible advice -- and you don't worry about them having an agenda. Had very good experience this morning - gear cable adjusted for me, after unsatisfactory foray to shop on Saturday (it hadn't been running right since they replaced parts earlier in year).

    Posted 11 years ago #
  6. Arellcat
    Moderator

    Jacquie is spot on with her comment on stature. That is why EBC's workshop will never get my business again - illuminated perhaps by the fact that I was once a paid bike mechanic and I didn't let on. I wanted to hit the guy!

    In the article, one might draw interesting parallels with Suntour's beautiful refinement of generally contemporary designs; Shimano reinvented contemporary designs using a holistic but necessarily isolating approach; and Sram has actively sought to beat the big S at its own game.

    It's also interesting to compare the bicycle industry with other personal transport for its mass standardisation. Instead of component manufacturers building headsets and cranks and derailleurs in a hundred different fittings and styles, all patterned after the bicycle manufacturer's own design (eg, Raleigh or Brompton building practically everything in-house) the industry is driven almost by components. Perhaps it's becaue the bicycle, componentwise, is a simple device compared with a car or a motorbike. Yet even the latter follows the car industry approach. I can buy a wheel for my mtb and know that it'll fit. The hub width is standard, the axle size is (relatively) standard, the rim diameter is standard. But for a motorbike I'd need to find a hub that will fit the axle, because a hub/axle combo might not fit the forks. The discs might have a totally different offset from the original, or a four, five or six bolt fitting. The hub might not fit the speedometer drive... Of course, it's because bicycles are designed to have bits replaced more often and mass standardisation is the key to both customer satisfaction for ease of buying parts, and to making money, by designing parts.

    I don't think bicycle retail will ever retreat completely to the online world. For every person who tries a bike for size and then buys one over the web, a shop has to exist to facilitate that exchange. And the bicycle is by its nature an outdoors creation, so the overwhelming majority of purchasers will be people who enjoy getting out and about, perhaps to visit an ice cream shop, or a bike shop. I can see componentry sales going online only, enabled by mass online discussions which could replace asking the staff in a shop. But here's the thing: if you go to a shop and buy something, you magically have it in your hand! Right there! Online still means waiting, even if it's down to only a day or two.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  7. chdot
    Admin

    This is one exception to the 'rule'.

    Started as a small shop but is now an Internet business rather than a local one.

    [+] Embed the video | Video DownloadGet the Video Widget

    Posted 11 years ago #
  8. Kim
    Member

    Oh yes, there are two Dr Bike sessions on the Meadows today. The first one has now finished, but there will be another from 4.30-6pm.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  9. Min
    Member

    "Jacquie Phelan has written about bike shops generally, partly (but not only) from a woman's point of view -"

    I loved the cartoon. I'll never forget the astonishing levels of patronisation I got once trying to buy cycling shoes. You wouldn't believe it. The bike shop I use now actually has a woman in it which is a relief. I thought it was a fluke the first time but she does actually work there. But all of the staff have been very helpful. Mind you, I haven't tried to buy shoes.. This is the Bike Chain in Rodney Street.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  10. gembo
    Member

    I also now give most of my custom to The Bike Chain in Rodney St. All staff (the men and the woman) friendly. It is an independent shop and well worth supporting.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  11. SRD
    Moderator

    I'd walked past it a few times recently and wondered about it. Looks nice, but a bit far from our current abode.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  12. gembo
    Member

    SRD - yes one factor in your choice of bike shop is whether it is handy, e.g. on your commuting route. For me The Bike Chain is. However, so are two other shops - one I use occasionally [used to have a very good mechanic] and the other has an owner who swears too much for me [never thought I'd say that]. There is a third just beyond my work which was a small independent [now has two outlets] but we had a difference of opinion over why the very expensive backwheel I bought for them only lasted a week before the rear mech went through the groovy flat spokes. We came to a compromise but I haven't been back.

    With the Bike Chain - Mark the manager has a very good way of handling me as a customer as it isn't just women who can be patronised nor should I say is it just male staff who patronise customers. There was a woman mechanic at another emporium that I used to have regular disagreements with [again could be 60% me].

    Here is a tale from a Dundonian guy's website (tomlovedthebike.org)

    Brewster, Jim (aka Peem): Rather grumpy ex-bike shop owner and father of DundeeUNITED football hero Craig Brewster. Peem ran Brewster’s Cycles in Lochee Road (or Logie Road to be exact). He was not best at public relations and most likely lost more sales that way than he made. Every Sunday when all the cyclists met at the Camperdown Gates for the club run, he’d examine all the bikes to see if anyone had bought parts mail order or worse still from the competing Nicholson’s Cycling Center. If you had then chances are that the next time you visited the shop he’d mutter and either refuse to repair your bike until the end of time or sell you something for double the normal cost. Items in Peem’s shop never had price labels, the price was simply invented on the spot depending on how much business you had put his way or how much of a kicking you’d given him the previous weekend. Peem was once famously spotted by a Dundee cyclist who was passing by on the bus wheeling a nice race bike (not bought from him) out of the shop and placing it against the wall while the bewildered guy followed (I think it was Ogilvie Meldrum).

    Posted 11 years ago #
  13. wee folding bike
    Member

    I stopped using Kinetics, Glasgow, after my M6R spent 6 months waiting for a rear hinge replacement. I didn't get replies to emails asking how it was progressing so eventually I went to the shop and said I'd just take it back no matter what state it was in. Turns out it had just been sitting for 6 months. I came back an hour later and the hinge had been replaced. That was the last in a number of long unexplained delays for repairs. I've never been back.

    Kinetics is no longer a Brompton dealer as of a couple of weeks ago but I don't know what caused the change in status. I get all my spares mail order from SJS now.

    On the other hand I was thinking about going on the EBC wheel building course but decided against it because I like talking to Alistair too much and I don't often get an excuse to go out to Campsie Glen anymore.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  14. SRD
    Moderator

    Anyone have any stories about the bike shop on Iona St (opposite Walker Woodstock?). When we bought our maindoor flat there, we were told it had been a bakery before being converted, but then we were also told it was a dodgy bike shop with a name for dealing in stolen bikes. Any truth to that?

    Posted 11 years ago #
  15. Cyclingmollie
    Member

    Gembo - Nicholson's used to get the late Gordon Christie of Christie's Toyshop in St Andrews pretty hacked off as people would check out the bikes in his shop and then go up to Dundee to get them from Nicholson's at a discount.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  16. gembo
    Member

    SRD - if the bike shop on Iona St is now called Leith Bicycle Company then it has changed hands and is very respectable - but watch out for the Mavic Aksium wheels.

    Cyclingmollie - there is always someone undercutting you. People often go to indie shop get all the advice then buy on-line, that's where loyalty schemes are good at keeping you local. My mate Jim has a Nicolson's 50th Anniversary Jersey they gave him when he was in the shop and they discovered it was his birthday. We cycled to a S. Lanarkshire sign and took his picture in it. They wanted pictures of their jerseys on tour. Another mate Mac used to paint the Nicholson's shop with his dad Hector the Housepainter. Both Mac and Jim are of course university lecturers now.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  17. chdot
    Admin

    Great Bikes No Bull Ltd. Bicycles And Accessories Retailers 25 Iona Street

    This was the last bike shop incarnation - moved to Leith Walk and was bought by present owner who changed the name.

    First (I think) bike shop was Scotia BMX which was one of the first UK importers of BMX bikes in the '80s boom.

    "
    Hoy’s father, David, was a great supporter of his son’s first outings as a BMX racer with Edinburgh club Danderhall Wolves. ‘He had a great start in Scotland, but then we went on holiday to the south of England and all these kids turned up on their £500 bikes,’ says David. ‘Chris was still on his Raleigh Super Burner. He got hammered. He was really pissed off. I thought, well, if he’s going to be serious about this then he should be on a better bike. The Burner was a toy, really.’

    With a serious bike – a ‘SilverFox’ – he decided to join a ‘serious’ team. David Hoy explains: ‘There was a shop in Edinburgh, Scotia BMX, which had a wee team, which Chris joined, and they contested races all over the country, in England too. With Chris at first it was the case that the further he travelled the more he got beaten and the harder he worked.’

    "

    "Exclusive extract from Heroes, Villains and Velodromes"

    From http://www.chrishoy.com/wp/chris-hoy-biography

    I think there were other owner(s) in-between.

    Posted 11 years ago #
  18. SRD
    Moderator

    Interesting, although obviously our informant got the number wrong - 25's on the corner, was Scottish Council for minorities most recently, now vacant, I think. Thanks!

    Posted 11 years ago #
  19. chdot
    Admin

    David Hoy has sent me this (and said I can post here).

    "Original Scotia was run by brothers Brian and David Reid. It was on the corner of Iona and Dickson St, (now a flat). Then moved half way along Iona St, oposite Walkers Timber, (now, also a flat).

    When Brian left and George Swanson joined David. Chris worked in that shop over two summers of school holidays. They then moved out onto Leith Walk and George ran the shop himself as Great Bikes, No Bull with the saddle and bars logo screwed to the wall. He was a great wheel builder for race bikes.

    ps, Brian Reid's son, also David Reid, opened a shop just down the road from Bicycle Works about 10 years ago. They just sold 2nd hand low end bikes and did repairs."

    Posted 11 years ago #
  20. SRD
    Moderator

    So you're telling me that Chris Hoy worked in our flat (31 Iona St)? Nifty. Maybe we can increase the rent, or even manage to sell it... :) It was a lovely place to live, and that makes a great anecdote. Thanks for that - had been debating asking the great collective wisdom for a while, and am glad I did.

    Posted 11 years ago #

RSS feed for this topic

Reply

You must log in to post.


Video embedded using Easy Video Embed plugin