The Rise of Cycling Retail Elitism
If you have shopped for a bicycle anytime in the past 20 years, it’s likely you have experienced what I like to call “two-wheeled elitism,” a phrase I use to describe the snobby attitude found so commonly in today’s cycling retail environment. It’s not a knock on any store in particular, but rather a reflection on an attitude that creeps into bike shops across the nation. Heck, even in our past, we’ve had an employee or two that was a bit “too cool for school.” Needless to say, they didn’t last long in our shop!
It’s easy to spot the malady, which hits you as soon as you walk through the door. Your presence isn’t recognized, and when it is, it’s as if the store employee has much better things to do than help you. Questions you pose are met with short answers, sighs, or even a roll of the eyes or an unfriendly chuckle. And you’re steered clear of bikes or accessories that best suit you in favor of higher priced, inappropriate equipment.
Of course, the disease isn’t the exclusive domain of the cycling world—it’s shared with any retail store that specializes in a hobby or leisure pursuit. Visited a guitar or music store lately? You know what I mean!
I won’t ponder the reasoning behind this elitist attitude, as I’m completely stumped for a good answer to why any store owner would stand for this type of customer (dis-)service. But in my experience, the disease is reaching epidemic proportions…even in a competitive economic environment such as the one we’re experiencing now! While I understand why some shops specialize in certain types or categories of bicycles, it doesn’t give them permission to be so dismissive to customers unfamiliar with their language.
At Sunset Cycles, we pride ourselves on being a bike shop that’s accessible to the every-day cyclist and beginning rider. Newbie triathlete? Returning to cycling after many years away? First-time rider? We leave our judgments at home: When you walk through our doors, we don’t know if you’re in the market for the latest in electronic shifting or a cruiser for your beach house…whether you need a new bike for your child or a new helmet for your mother-in-law. Wherever you fall on the cycling spectrum, our role is clear: to help you find the products and services that best fit your needs and match your budget.
That’s our guarantee to you: We’ll serve all your cycling needs…without the “attitude.”
Thanks, as always, for your business and support.
Each month in CHAINRINGS, Sunset Cycles previews another great Washington County bike ride. With the varied terrain available in our area, the selected ride is certain to be a winner.
Our ride rating category is simple, ranging from one CHAINRING (easiest) to five CHAINRINGS (most challenging). Here’s the criteria:
One chainring: Flat ride, minimal climbing
Two chainrings: Rolling hills, short climbs
Three chainrings: Moderate hills, possibly some short, steep climbs
Four chainrings: Challenging terrain with numerous, longer climbs
Five chainrings: Very difficult terrain with numerous, steep, long climbs
This Month’s Ride: March Sprints
Yes, there are a few climbs on this 22-mile lollipop loop ride from the shop, but they’re relatively minor. The real beauty of this loop are the long, flat straight sections of road, perfect for getting in some fast cadence riding. Whatever that means to you in terms of watts or miles per hour, it’s time to put the hammer down and ride like the wind.
Breakthroughs in bike models don’t come around the bend every year, but the new Avant from Orbea goes on the record as a notable exception to that rule.
Pitched by the Basque cycling company as a relaxed-geometry road bike, we weren’t sure what to make of it until we rode it.
For those of you who like to ride long distances in comfort, the Avant is the machine for you. And you’re not going to sacrifice responsiveness, as the Avant accelerates well and holds the radius on turns. Where it really shines is during long sessions in the saddle, enhanced by features such as disc brakes, its taller head tube, and super clean lines unbroken by cables.
We have two different models of the Avant available in the shop: The carbon M30D (Full Shimano Ultegra, $3,299) as well as the H10D alloy (Shimano 105, $1,599) if you’re looking for a lower cost version. The delicious Avant M-Ltd (carbon frame, Zipp 303 wheels, SRAM Red 22, and HFX hydraulic disc brakes) is also available ($8,999) on special order.
Join us in one week (March 11th) for another edition of Tech Tuesday, your chance to gain further insight into the mechanics of bicycles…what makes them tick, how to repair them when they break, and more.
Crash. You’ve hit the dirt or pavement on your carbon fiber frame bike, and your frame looks like it just went through a cheese grater. Enter Portland’s Ruckus Components, brainchild of founder Shawn Small.
Although Ruckus has made a name for itself in carbon fiber repair, their brilliance doesn’t stop there. Carbon fiber chainguards, derailleur bodies, fenders and even clever key rings have been developed in the Ruckus shop.
And if you can imagine a carbon bike frame with threaded eyelets to help mount fenders…give Ruckus a call to help turn your bike into a year-round machine.
The Sunset team is back from Eastern Oregon’s Red 2 Red mountain bike race, and their results were impressive!
225 riders finished the race. Here’s how our team fared:
- Paul G. – Cat 2 40-49 – 20th
- John W. – Cat 1 40+ – 3rd
- Terry R. – Cat 1 40+ – 23rd
- Michael K. – Cat 2 19-39 – 10th
- Dan L. – Clydesdale – 10th
And here’s the entertaining race report, courtesy of Dan L.:
Things are not always what they seem. That sums up the 2014 Echo Red to Red. The team had expressed concerns about Interstate closures and the Arctic mass that hit the area the week before that race. Race day promised a 19 degree low for the day of the race. A couple members even wondered if they could get their entry refunded. After some back and forth, Michael K, Paul G. and I found ourselves meeting at Starbucks 5:50 am Saturday morning, fueling up for the 3+ hour drive out to Echo. Everything went smoothly right up until just past Arlington, where “same direction” radar got me good. After stuffing the ticket in my wallet, we arrived in a very cold 26 degree Echo and began the painful ritualistic process of choosing how many layers to put on. The announcer was warning about exposed skin which added to our worry. Every one of us put on our race getups with different style face coverings. Went out for a warm up ride (that is irony at its best) and all came back and put more clothes on. Got what we felt was right as far as clothing and started lining up. I am not really sure how everyone else did but here is what I know. John (took 3rd) went out with Cat 1 with Terry (took 23rd) riding a Cat up so he could get the extra 5 miles the cat 1 course provided. I never saw them again as the Cat 2 men left 30 minutes later. That was Paul (who took 20th with a leaking tire he had to constantly pump up) and Michael (took 10th on his first mt bike race in many years) had a very strong showing although he wasn’t sure he liked the course as much as a forest course. The Clyde’s (I took 10th) and the Cat 2 women left 10 min later. Clyde’s started behind the Cat 2 women and there was the usual ribbing of the men of larger carriage. We were told 1st place Clyde would get a 2 lb Rice Crispy treat, 2nd place a 7 lb. bag of chips, and 3rd place a bucket of red licorice. We rolled out with the lead out truck out of town and down the highway until the 2.5-mile gravel section. I was feeling like I always do, trying to keep my effort just below blowing up, but felt fast. Ended up leading a group of three Clyde’s and two cat 2 ladies enjoying the Clyde draft. I lowered my effort to be able to defend my position once we hit the singletrack. Once there I gave a hard effort and pulled away on the downhill section but the ladies caught up on one of the steeper climbs. We rode together up and down in the rolling hills and managed to gap the other Clyde’s by 6 min or so. Once we hit the downhill again, I gapped the cat 2’s. Never having lead out a group before, I got to the cutoff for the long course and the short course and zigged when I should have zagged. At first I couldn’t believe the lead I was building…and then started to realize my mistake. I was having such a great race for me. All cylinders were firing and I felt fast and smooth. I considered Terry’s thoughts on getting in some extra miles as we both have 100 mile races coming up and I really enjoyed the ride. I caught a couple of Cat 1 women I assumed were having a hard day and two other guys in the same situation. The extra 5 miles added a little more than an hour to my time–but no regrets–I need the miles. Once I looped back on the main course I was coming up on a lot of cat 3’s. My tubeless tire with the extra sealant did very well and I had no tire issues. I went off trail to pass at least 25 times and I had a couple visible thorns in my tire at the end but no noticeable loss of air. Hit the gravel and was able to big gear it all the way back other than a short gravel climb that still went pretty good for me. Finished in a little under 3 hours, but was very happy with my effort and the training I have done up to this point. Felt I had a little more in the tank. Very cold race–it seemed I was very hot in the covered areas but cold on the exposed areas. There was a very real threat of freezing rain, so we skipped the complementary lunch and quickly headed out. After some freezing rain excitement in the Gorge, we made it home with no injuries ready for the next race. Big thanks to Michael and Paul who made the drive much more entertaining.
While February in Portland might represent the apex of the doldrums in terms of our cycling calendar (no events; crummy weather; little daylight), there’s still plenty to be excited about when it comes to riding a bike.
In this issue of Chainrings, we’ll highlight two in particular that come to mind: One is a great new product, conceived right here in our backyard, and the other, a spectacular upcoming race where Team Sunset Cycling will be well-represented.
Even with the big dump of snow last weekend, we managed to stay open each day, although with slightly shortened hours. It’s a testament to our employees’ dedication to serving you and your cycling needs. We were a bit surprised to see as many folks come through the doors as we did during “Snowpocalypse 2014,” but if I know anything about Oregon cyclists, it’s that neither snow nor rain nor heat nor gloom of night…well, you get the picture.
As you prepare for another great season in the saddle, thanks for thinking of Sunset Cycles as your one-stop shop for everything you need to get you down the road safely, comfortably, quickly, and in style.
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