Archive for the ‘Great Bike Shops and Retailers’ Category

AIDS/LifeCycle 10 Podcasts a success…

April 18, 2011

It seems that AIDS/LifeCycle is taking up all of my time right now. We are in crunch time of ALC preparation, and I’ve also taken on these podcasts (which has been a HUGE learning experieince in itself), so I have not been able to blog for Girl Meets Bike in a while.

What I can tell you is this:

  • Being an ALC Cyclist Representative is wonderful, but requires a lot of time and multi-tasking.
  • Much of what I do is either coaching, teaching my cyclists how to fundraise, or filling out reports mentioning every interaction I have with them (that’s right, it not all fun and games 😉 )
  • Being a podcaster is insane and wonderful; it’s also like a second job right now, but I think it’s really important, and worth my time.
  • Podcasting it for AIDS/LifeCycle is an experience of a lifetime, if just for the stories I get to hear from our participants and clients.
  • When I can get out for a ride on my own, it is usually on my New Specialized Myka. I hope to put up a review of the Myka soon, but I can honestly say right now that this bike is the most versatile bike I’ve ever owned.

UPDATE:
The Podcasts Can Now Be Found On The Girl Meets Bike YouTube Channel

The quality of the first one is bad, but it gets better as the series continues.
http://youtube.com/girlmeetsbike

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Have Things Changed for Women in Bike Shops? (Updated 9/27)

September 17, 2010

Update: Sept 27th 2010

So far, about half the women surveyed said they recognize these, shall we say, regrettable sales tactics. But the other half say they have no problem in their local bike shop, or that their shop has improved. It makes me think that things are changing, but we have yet to reach the tipping point when it comes to the female cycling consumer. There are truly great cycling products available for women nowadays. So why are they not making it on the the floor the of local bike shop?  Why are these bike shops still not connecting with their female clientele?

Could it be that they need a lesson on “Selling to Women?”

This was the title of a seminar I attended at Interbike, put on the Outdoor Industries Women’s Coalition. It was a wonderful seminar and panel discussion; I personally walked away with new ways to help women feel more comfortable and confident about cycling purchases, and the whole shopping experience while in their local bike shop.

However I couldn’t help but notice that most of the audience were female. I have to say, it felt a bit like preaching to the choir. Why didn’t male dealers/buyers/ local bike shops owners jump at this chance to learn about how to easily increase their customer base?

Guys, if you were at Interbike,why didn’t you check out this seminar? What would get you to go to a seminar like this?

Members of the press who attended, what did you think? (By all means, post a link to your site in the comments).

(coming soon: Women’s Products at Interbike: A First Look)

Have Things Changed for Women in Bike Shops?

About a year ago, I made this cartoon series called “Jane Meets Bike Shop”. I’ve reposted two of them here.
Would it surprise you if I said that this was actually more than just a joke?

These were based on a compilation of real experiences of many women. OK, perhaps with a bit a humor and sarcasm, but my question today is:

Have things changed over the past year?
Is it any easier for a woman to “through a leg over” a bike in her size, at the bike shop? Are women getting treated with more respect as a consumer, at the bike shop?

Take a look, then take the quick poll at the bottom. (please leave a comment, if you like).

Jane Meets Bike Shop

Some women of a town would like to enjoy riding their bike. However, the one “good” shop in town just isn’t very good when it comes to understanding the female cyclist.



Sporteve

November 20, 2007

Sporteve

3849 Main Street

Culver City, CA 90232


WOMEN’S Sporting Goods Shop

If my shop had a big sister, I’d want it to be Sporteve. This is an amazing women’s sporting goods shop, and it’s because owner D’Lynda Fischer is one of the most knowledge buyers in the business. Her selection spans many sports: triathlons, kayaking, hiking, cycling. This is great because there’s a lot of great clothing and accessories that cross over from sport to sport. But what really makes her shop so special, is that she has already made the hard decisions for you; she has picked out the best helmet, clothing and shoes for women, so that women don’t have to go from shop to shop, trying to figure out what brand is good quality. Basically, if Sporteve carries it, you can trust that it’s a great brand, and that it works well for women.
The other thing that is particularly impressive is the “support section” in the shop. Not only is there a fantastic variety of bras, but all sales staff are well trained to help you pick out the bra support for you. For sure, they have something for every size and shape; they even have the ENELL bra, that Oprah recommends for “big girls”.
The other “treat” that Sporteve carries is Wool active wear for women. She might just be the only place in town for Ibex wear, makers of wonderfully soft wool clothing.
Ladies, if you usually go to bike shops for your cycling clothing, give yourself a treat; try a shopping excursion to Sporteve. You won’t be disappointed.

Orange 20 Bike Shop

November 17, 2007

Orange 20 Bike Shop
720 N. Heliotrope Rd.
Los Angeles, CA

Orange 20 is an extraordinary little store. It specializes in urban riding, which means fixed gear bikes commuter bikes, etc. This makes perfect sense for its completely urban location (not too far from LACC). It is associated with many bike advocacy programs, and has a friendly rapport with Bicycle Kitchen located across the street (Bicycle Kitchen is a non profit “learning space” for people who love bikes). The store definitely has a lean towards fixed gear urban riders, but they are welcoming to everyone and have an underlying theme of “bikes as transportation”. As to the talent of their staff; wow, do I have a story to tell….
I was panicking. I’d been panicking since I knocked my rear wheel so badly out of true that it felt like I was riding a clown bike with square wheels. That was a couple of days ago. Three mechanics had tried to true this wheel (I will only name myself as one), but it was still vibrating and pulsing at high speeds. Man, is that a scary feeling. I kept thinking that there was no way that I could do the ALC ride on a wheel like that. I couldn’t afford a new wheel. A friend of mine came to my rescue, by hooking me up with Jack from Orange 20. Believe me when I tell you that wheel building and truing are an art form as much as a science. Jack has an eye and feel for wheels, that you only see every once in a great while. I stayed there and watched as he played my wheel like a harp, and managed to true the untruable wheel in about 35 minutes. If ever I need wheels built for me (and I will), I will go to straight to Orange 20 and ask for Jack.
Location: near LACC, East Los Angeles

I Martin Imports Bike Shop

November 17, 2007

I Martin Imports
8330 Beverly Blvd.
Los Angeles, Ca 90048

First, full disclosure:
I used to work for I Martin’s. first as a mechanic, and then an asst. clothing buyer/ sales. I’ll try to make this as objective as possible.

This is a great example of how good stores work from the top down: Good general manager generates good staff around him (plus, inherited some great people), equals a bike shop that runs smoothly, but still has the feel of a local bike shop. Jaime is the Top Dawg at I Martin’s. He’s the one I’m talking about when I say this place runs well from the top down.

Service
Most people who enter a bike shop are looking for service for their bike; that’s a just statistical fact. That’s why it’s so important for a bike shop to have a good service department, as well as a good liaison to the customer.
When you walk up to the service department ,most likely you’ll meet Tennyson the Service Manager. You’ll find him a charming a friendly sort, who makes the whole experience of having your bike repaired relatively easy and pleasant.
The whole service department does a good job, but I.Martin’s has a not-so-secret weapon in their service department that makes them reign supreme. His name is Milton, aka Maestro. I’ve been lucky enough watch him work on all kinds of bicycles from start to finish; he’s just poetry in motion. He knows how to fine-tune a bike better than anyone. Period. Think that’s just my opinion? Here’s an excerpt from the I.Martin History Webpage:
“…When the Olympics came to down in 1984, I. Martin was the bike shop of choice for dozens of nations in need of gear. Maestro, our prized mechanic, built 1,000 wheels himself that summer…”
“…When Greg LeMond needed a bike assembled after winning his second Tour de France, where’d he go? I. Martin. The same goes for that Lance Armstrong guy. Our mechanics have worked on his bikes so much it’s almost commonplace…”

Yes, it’s all about Maestro. Yes, it’s all true. You want the very best mechanic in town to work on your sweet baby? Go here, see him.
Of course, I also ride his work. I LOVE the wheels he built for my single speed mountain bike.

Sales
I just have to say this: Girls, I’m sure this wasn’t planned, but oh my, they are a handsome bunch there! Of course, I say this in a purely objective way. (I’m happily married, and far older than, well, ahem, ‘some’ of them.) But what really makes them hot is, they know about bikes, so they’re more than just eye candy, ;-).
My favorites on the floor? Lenny and Todd. I can tell you that FOR SURE, neither one will steer you wrong., and you will walk out happy if they help you. They are the go-to guys for bikes, and know a fair bit about clothing too (even women’s stuff!!!)

Bike Attack Bike Shop

November 17, 2007

Bike Attack Bike Shop
2400 Main Street
Santa Monica, CA 90405

Ericson and his wife Kitty, owners of Bike Attack can often be found in the back of their small but well stocked shop. The vibe of the shop is laid-back, but someone is always there to help you if you want, which makes being there very comfortable. It can be said that the soul of this shop has its roots in downhill mountain biking (Ericson and Kitty used to race), but that its heart is dedicated to charity riders. It was heartwarming to see Kitty’s eyes light up when I told her that I was a charity rider (for AIDS Lifecycle). I think that says a lot about just how dedicated this shop is to charity rides. In fact, every Saturday morning at 8:00am they have an ALC training ride leave from the shop. They, get there a couple of hours early to open up the shop for this, and (this is extraordinary) feed the meters (of course, you provide the quarters) while you ride, so you don’t get ticketed. It can’t be easy having a shop in an area that has a lot of metered parking, and I think they’ve gone the extra mile to come up with a solution to help the charity riders.
One of the best features of this shop is the opportunity to have your bike built by Andrew, partner to Ericson and Kitty. He builds bikes with artistry and care; Andrew consistantly pick components of both the highest quality, and best eye-appeal. Then he puts it all together on the coolest frames. It’s easy to spot Andrew’s builds in Bike Attack: just look for the best color combinations. Then take note of the Chris King, the Thomson, the XTR, etc. As owner of a great build of his, a Redline Conquest Pro ti Cycloross bike, I can say that his build is tight and solid, alignment and shifting sharp and precise. Andrew is a true craftsman, and I’m proud to have one of his builds. I was also quite delighted to display his latest women’s sized beauty: a green commuter fixie with pink accents in size 49 cm, at the Grand Opening of my boutique. This bike is now back at Bike Attack, just waiting for some lucky gal who just happens to need a great fixie.
The location is mere pedal strokes away from the Venice Boardwalk / bike path, which means that they have their fair share of cruisers and other commuter bikes. But they also have a surprising amount of upscale bike brands, both road and mountain. Brands of note are Litespeed, Intense, Foes, Brodie, Masi, Terry, and there are lots more. In looking at their brand choices, it’s easy to see that they go for small, quality brands.
They also have a great selection of Terry cycling clothing, which is a wonderful and rare find in the LA area.
Location: Venice Beach/ Santa Monica
Discounts: 15% off to all ALC riders and club members

Helen’s Cycles, Santa Monica

November 17, 2007

Helen’s Cycles, Santa Monica
2501 Broadway
Santa Monica, CA 90404

Helen’s Santa Monica (the flagship store for Helen’s Cycles) has a lot going for it: a killer central location in Santa Monica, access to the stock of six associated locations, the best brands (big and small) in the business, and a large and dedicated staff. In fact, many of the staff have been there for years (even double digits). Is it because they can sell bikes and love to do so? Sure, but they sell bikes well, because they REALLY know their way around bikes and components. That’s because most of them are avid cyclists, and love bikes in one form or another. It would be hard for me to pick out my favorite staff member on the floor, so I won’t. Ok, Tony. But everyone else is a close second.
I will say that Adam, the clothing buyer, knows more about cycling apparel than anyone I know. To say he taught me a lot would be a huge understatement. His knowledge is absolutely apparent in his selection of labels and styles. I would call his selection of clothing smart and precise; a range of prices and styles, with the biggest “bang for your buck” in the technologically advanced clothing. In other words, he picks clothing that actually works on the bike, rather than clothes that have “hanger appeal” (that is, clothes that look good on the hanger, or when you try them on, but don’t perform well on the bike). I find the clothing section well worth a look through every time I go there. And BTW, they have a killer sales rack.
My favorite mechanic at Helen’s SM, has got to be Wilber, the head mechanic. Wilber is all business, and has a keen eye for diagnosing a mechanical problem quickly. I love to work on my own bikes, but if ever I’m stumped or need advice, I go to Wilber.
Helen’s is a huge supporter of the AIDS Lifecycle ride, and other charity rides as well. They have training rides out of Helen’s SM nearly every Sunday, as run by Shifting Gears Cycling Club. They also have years of experience of outfitting charity riders of all types and sizes, with a variety of budgets.
Location: Santa Monica
Discount for club members and/or charity riders:
10% off bikes, frames, components & kits
15% off clothing and accessories


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