Ride Leader: March 2014 Chainrings

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!Elitism_(Chamber_of_Aspects_EU)

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.

Click HERE for the next article in this month’s Chainrings: WASHCO Ride of the Month


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About sunsetpdx

Bicycle Shop Owner

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