My Mom turned 60 this year and she’s decided to do a triathlon. She’s decided to invest in a better bike for the triathlon and beyond. She bikes quite a bit. Sometimes we run into each other in distant towns on long rides…


However she didn’t know what type of riding she would do when she bought her bike- a mountain bike. As anyone who’s biked for a bit knows, the first bike you get is always the wrong one. It turns out she prefers to be on a road, so a road bike it is. But somehow the average bike shop employee is having trouble wrapping their head around this…


However they shouldn’t underestimate my mom. Or that she will just to go to another shop that will offer real help.

Next Post
Previous Post

You may also like


  • Cycler April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Wait, is that Peppy the cycling cat on the right? That cat gets around on all the ool cycling blogs :)

    I wish my mom was more comfortable riding a bike. Everyone else in the family biked, and I think she felt a little left out.
    It would really be cool to run into your family members randomly while biking around.
    Hope your dad has a good run on monday

    • cycler April 12, 2012  

      Whoops- hope your brother has a good run. Was reading (and typing) on too small a screen this morning.

  • Kate April 12, 2012   Reply →

    One of the reasons my friend and I are determined to open a bike shop is the way none of the shops (and there are many) seem to make an effort to connect with customers to find out what they really want.

    Most of the guys who work in them seem totally disconnected with anyone who isn’t Cat1 or Cat2. And I’ve only ever seen one girl working in a shop.

  • RonW April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Went into my local bike shop 4-5 years ago and told the sales person I was looking for a bike for commuting and hopefully some touring, told them I wanted a steel frame, something that could handle a larger person and still be stable but not feel like I was riding a tank. The guy smiled and said “Oh, yeah, I know exactly what you need, right over here” and led me to an aluminum mountain bike with no rack or fenders mounts…

  • Moopheus April 12, 2012   Reply →

    A couple of years ago I finally ditched my old bike-shop recommended mtb and bought a nicer bike that not only is better suited to my current needs but actually fits me better. But this involved me spending some time thinking about what I wanted, doing some research on available bikes via Mr. Internet, and making a list of possibilities I wanted to try before even going to any bike shops. I brought my list with me to the shops. I went to a few different shops (the best, customer-service-wise, were Harris in Newton and Quad City in Arlington–those guys even ordered in a bike from the distributor on spec for me to test ride). I’m pretty satisfied with my choice, but mainly because I started out assuming that the bike shop saleguys would be useless.

  • Ben April 12, 2012   Reply →

    My dad, 52, runs 5 or 6 marathons each year (and he has run Boston in the past). Last Saturday, he biked 30 miles with me, which, as far as I know, is his first ride of any significance. There’s still hope!

  • Jay April 12, 2012   Reply →

    “no costly special orders — just push our current inventory.. Besides, 80% of the people don’t know what they want, and THAT’S WHY we’re here!” — quote from a former boss

  • Sarah April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Sounds like the Boston metro area could use a new improved bike shop with excellent customer service. I’ve tried a couple in the Back Bay area and experienced poor customer service. The two shops I went to seem to have a “holier than thou” mentality to regular people just wanting to get a little service. I hope Bikeyface can direct us to more friendly bike shops in Boston.

    • Marianna April 13, 2012  

      Ferris Wheels gets my vote!

    • n April 15, 2012  

      for maintenance/repairs, Hub bicycles in Cambridge has amazing service, but they don’t really sell bikes
      I bought my bike at Ace Wheelworks in Porter Sq, and I thought they had good service too (friendly, helpful, knowledgeable)

  • Lee Hollenbeck April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Sarah, try Emily@ hub bicycles in Cambridge or Harris Cyclery, washington st , Newton.

    • John_in_NH April 12, 2012  

      Thumbs up to Hub and Harris. I got my Breezer from Harris and the folks there were super helpful. I have to say though that if there is something clicking wrong or I need my internal gear hub adjusted I always bring it to Emily at Hub. I have to say that I always recommend Hub to folks who are looking for a bike or have questions I have visited a couple shops and work across the street from one and they will do if you know exactly what you want but even though I mostly due I will continue to go to Hub.

  • JP Gal April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Bikes AND kittens AND a terrific tribute by one woman to another woman — just about the most perfect blog possible! You made my day.

  • sherrill April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Luv it! I’ve been following a thread on Bike Forums and the CABE relevant to just this topic. Added a link to your page for others to enjoy! Sketch On!

  • Amelia April 12, 2012   Reply →

    I second Hub Bicycle in Inman, Emily has always been incredibly helpful, friendly and just generally awesome every time I’ve brought my hybrid and road bike in to be looked at. Also, I’ve stopped in at Ace Wheelworks in Davis en route to the Minuteman and they’ve always been awesome as well. Both have been the polar opposite of your typical “cooler than thou” bike shops I’ve frequented around Boston/Cambridge.

  • Tessa April 12, 2012   Reply →

    I totally know the “distant town” to which you refer above! love the ice cream reference! hope your mom finds a great bike! as a newbie to triathlons myself a few years ago, I got the Specialized Allez bike and am still loving it! I highly recommend!

  • Tessa April 12, 2012   Reply →

    p.s. I’m sorry for all the exclamation points above. sometimes I don’t realize exactly how many I’m using.

  • Arthur Prokosch April 12, 2012   Reply →

    In my experience, the folks at Broadway Bikes know their stuff, listen, and are not distracted by macho stupidity.

    • cycler April 12, 2012  

      I’ve had only Meh experiences at Broadway, which is unfortunate, given that they’re my closest shop.
      I’m a big fan of Harris, but have also heard great things about Emily at Hub. She has a nice new space, closer to Inman than she was before.

  • JP Gal April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Check out Bikes Not Bombs in Jamaica Plain, too. Not only do they listen to you if you are a woman (or a man or a kid), but purchases there help support their international bike-sharing programs and their programs for kids, including bike bulding and repair classes specifically for girls.


  • Vicki April 12, 2012   Reply →

    I went to a few shops to try to get new wheels for my vntage bike and they just tried to sell me a new bike in the same style as mine, they couldn’t understand that I wanted to keep my bike, it just needed wheels with a coaster brake that worked better than the old one.

  • Funny, as I was reminded yesterday, not listening to the customer and trying to push them onto a $400 bike means you might lose the chance to sell them the $1,500+ bike they’re REALLY looking for. Just because someone doesn’t, say, look like a bike racer, doesn’t mean they’re not looking for a go-fast bike (especially when you work in an area with very active masters and juniors racing teams!)

  • Jean April 12, 2012   Reply →

    Cool, meeting your mom while both of you are bikes! Hope she shops around until she finds a shop that takes her needs seriously.

    I’ve been cycling regularily for past 20 years (am car-free). Have reached 53. My partner will be 69..he also bikes and has done bike touring solo across North America, twice after 58 yrs.

  • matt April 12, 2012   Reply →

    keep in mind that most bike shops are VERY-low-margin operations that make most of their money off of high-end bikes, expensive accessories, and service.

    frankly, a lot of commuters and other casual cyclists waltz in with the attitude that they should be able to buy a brand-new bike for $200, and maybe get a free lock of helmet or something. and then they are perturbed when they get charged for a tune-up after leaving the bike on their porch for the winter.

    I know because I used to be that way.

    • Matt the Scruffy Mechanic April 15, 2012  

      Very true, other Matt! Shipping costs have risen so much over the last couple of years that on some of our least expensive bikes we may only be making $30-40 profit, which makes it frustrating when customers try to get pushy about the price. If the customer isn’t obnoxious about it, we’ll try to give them a break on accessories and add-ons, but there’s not a lot of wiggle room on the bikes themselves.

      Aside from just price though, I hear a lot of people complain about how a bike shop employees don’t listen to what they want, or are dismissive of their preferences, gender or body type. That’s a problem in communication that not only can hurt sales but can turn off people from biking in general.

      One of these days I’d love to get a discussion going about some of the questions and concerns bike shoppers have, and address them from the bike shop side.

Leave a comment