You have decided you want to ride a bike. Congratulations! You remember how much you loved pedaling to your friend’s house when you were a kid. Or riding to the neighborhood convenience store for an ice cream cone. Maybe your recent interest in riding isn’t because of glorious childhood memories, maybe you have friends who go for morning rides and you want to join the fun. Or you have been taking spin classes for a year and decided you want to feel the wind in your hair.
We get it. No matter why you want to ride a bike now, we totally get it. Riding bikes is fun. But sometimes shopping for that new bike or new helmet or the right pump is intimidating. Walking through the doors of the local bike shop can be overwhelming with all the types, styles, colors, materials, prices, accessories, etc.
It doesn’t have to be that way. First word of advice: find a place to shop where you feel comfortable and welcome and then ask questions.
Tyrel Harlan is the Service Manager at Rapid Cycling, a local bike shop here in St. George. Harlan said, “As simple as a bike should be, it can get very complex. I just want people to enjoy riding their bikes. I listen and answer questions and hope I help build confidence. I try to answer questions in a way customers understand, regardless of their cycling experience. We have an open service center at both of our locations so people can be involved and can feel comfortable asking questions as we work on bikes.”
When you walk into a bike shop, remember they are there to help you. That is their job. They are there to answer your questions and make you feel comfortable; not only when you are buying a bike, but for years after. Be willing to answer their questions, they want to get to know you and help you feel relaxed in the store.
“We love when customers want to come hang out with us in the shop. Sure, we have to get our work done. We want to get bikes serviced and back to the customer as quickly as possible because we understand people want to ride. But we really do love when people enjoy us personally and want to be part of our community,” Harlan said.
Take advantage of the free clinics most local bike shops offer. Not only is it a chance to get educated and learn the basics on how to fix, maintain and improve your bike, the clinics provide an opportunity to connect with other cyclists in the area. “Part of feeling nervous about cycling or about bike shops is the unknown. Take advantage of free clinics and learn more. You will enjoy riding and you will feel safe,” emphasized Harlan.
The local bike shop is all about the experience. Enjoy it. Walk through those doors and let yourself engage in conversation. Take a test ride. Take several test rides. If you don’t feel welcome, walk out and go to the next bike shop. Shopping for a new bike is supposed to be fun. You will know what feels right and what feels comfortable, just trust your instinct and go for a ride.
----Published in St. George Health and Wellness September/October 2017