View Full Version : What do you expect of a good bike shop

04-22-2007, 02:39 PM
...and I mean that "you" as in woman!
My 3 partners and I are going to open a bike shop and we really(!) want to make if woman- and family-friendly... and, yes, I know, it is not the same!
So what are your ideas about what constitutes a woman-friendly bike shop?

04-25-2007, 10:28 AM
Surprised you haven't gotten any responses yet Todd....
Here's my 2 cents....

My biggest suggestion is one that is not so women-specific: friendly, knowlegable staff - hard to find, hard to keep but worth it. Nobody likes to feel intimidated, especially newbies who might be women. And if you *do* know what you're talking about its pretty irritating to be patted on the head and treated like an idiot.

I'm betting your shop will have plenty of products that are uber practical for everyday riding, but another suggestion is to have pretty, hip, gear.

As an example of what I'm talking about, I refer you to Basil:

Todd Boulanger donated a Mirte bag by Basil to the Alice Awards silent auction and I was smitten.

This product review says it all for me:

04-25-2007, 02:11 PM
Y'know what would be nice, and would make me go out of my way to visit your shop (and possibly shop there)? A good selection of women's cycling gear. 99% of the places you go to have rack after rack (and page after page in their catalogs) of gear for men, and only one measly rack (or one page, in their catalogs) of everything they carry for women, including gloves, shorts, jerseys, etc.

And I'm not talking about "shrink it and pink it" clothing, I'm talking about the cool jerseys (Primal Wear has lots of great stuff) and nice shorts. Enough of the pastels, we want the cool Led Zep jersey too! :)

GOOD customer service is also a big plus. Helpful staff willing to give some advice about all kinds of stuff. I understand that they gotta get paid somehow, and telling me how to do the maintenance is not in their best interest. :) I'd leave the big stuff to them, anyway, I'm capable of cleaning and lubing my chain. :)

04-25-2007, 04:17 PM
...but Todd is not the only one in the family with a bike...although he has been the reason why I never needed to go to a bike shop...

So, ok...
No head patting -- I suspected that
Knowledgeable staff -- working on that!
Basil stuff -- yeah, we (ok, Todd!) it checked out and we will have some paniers and bags that are NOT black... there is also a great German firm we are looking into...
Cool Jerseys and shorts -- we are trying to focus more on plain-clothes riding, but we are definitely thinking along the lines of cool rain wear, pants that don't get caught in the chain and fun accessories... I am hoping that at one point we might be able to have a separate section dedicated to clothing...

Again, thanks for the feedback...
Mrs Chimp

05-09-2007, 10:30 PM
Previous posters have pretty much covered it all, but I might want to add a few things:

- Organized rides, especially women-only rides. It's great because it promotes your business for you (more people on their bikes = more customers), but also because it keeps your shop involved in the neighborhood. I like a bike shop that feels like it's part of my community, not just a big vendor. REI has tons of bike gear, but I'll always spend my money at a shop where I've had a fun afternoon with the workers.

- Have a woman in your repair/maintenence department. Seeing another woman with bike grease under her fingernails inspires me to attempt bold new feats of bike mechanics on my own, and makes me love bikes even more. Who wants to go to a workshop full of guys that throw around jargon just to impress the lil' lady?

Thanks for asking!

06-06-2007, 09:44 AM
Are you trying to be in business or trying to make friends?

By excluding half of your potential customers base, you are missing the point of what it means to do business!

06-06-2007, 10:25 AM
How is striving to make a bike shop woman and family friendly "excluding" half of a potential customer base?

Nishiki, all you do is make disparaging, negative posts. Does someone piss in your cheerios every day?

06-07-2007, 10:58 AM
I would think that trying to make a bike shop more accessible to women is a good thing.

For instance, I have been told by Performance Bike employees that their head office on the East coast doesn't think women ride bikes, or, if women ride, it's on cruisers for short distances.

Given the shortage of women-specific clothing and gear both at the local PB store as well as their online site, I believe them.

I'm not sure why someone asking how to make a bike shop for femme-friendly is being exclusive. Please explain.

11-03-2007, 10:56 AM
I get frustrated in the women's section of every bike shop I've ever visited, including REI, because all of their biking clothes seem to be geared for skin-tight, racer sleekness and not for everyday kind of use. One ought to be able to ride a bike to conduct errands and, once off the bike, look pretty much like everyone else.

Additionally, size "large" in women's bike clothing seems to equate to a size 6. There is nothing for the normal range of U.S. women's bodies. Okay, I'm overweight now but even when I was size 8 the "large" size women's bike pants just about cut off my circulation. I'm really tired of bike clothing manufacturers not acknowledging the existence of larger women. What a smart business move it would be to have a realistic range of women's clothing! Encourage more women to ride and make it easier and more comfortable for them to ride; they'll buy their clothes, ride, lose weight, and then have to come back and buy a whole new set of clothes in a smaller size. This cycle could be repeated 2 or 3 times for some women.

I notice that Clever Cycles has a nice pair of men's wool knickers and I'm wondering if they're planning to carry something similar for women. I'll tell you one thing, if any bike store employee tries to tell me that a pair of pants is "unisex" I know they are either blowing smoke or blind. There is no way the same pair of pants can possibly be decent fitting/looking for both men and women. I would definitely lose respect for any salesperson who tried to tell me that (and their store).

I would appreciate any tips people have on where to find functional cool weather clothes women who don't look like Kate Moss could wear biking. They don't have to be specifically made for biking.

11-03-2007, 02:56 PM
I wanted knickers. The knickers I find in women's that do fit have tiny useless pockets and ride my hips leaving my asscrack hanging out. I'm fed up with women's cloths period. I ended up buying used pants and chopping em. Then went to Germany and realized I could have stocked up on good looking knickers there. (not expensive either)

In a bike shop:
Cool cloths in my size.
Cloths for commuting, not spandex.
Friendly helpful staff
Able to provide that little bit of extra bit of helpful info(extra mile)
But leave be when I wanna browse(not usually an issue in bike shops)
Local gear as often as possible. Not in China.
Reasonable prices on some items(I understand is local is not cheap, nor is good quality)
Tool rental and repair and truing stands available with basic little tips if needed

06-10-2008, 04:15 PM
I think the most important thing is female employees.

I'm sure there is such a thing as a truly knowledgeable and empathetic male bicycle shop employees - I haven't met any. My super-serious, bike-evangelist boyfriend doesn't do a great job empathezing (although he certainly tries). I want a bike that's actually scaled for me, I want a saddle that's actually wide enough for my sit bones. I feel like I'm trying to force my body into a man-shaped hole and I just want a person who has gone through that and figured out ways around it.

06-10-2008, 10:09 PM
My comments are not gender specific.
I don't know what your space contraints are, but a larger, more spacious shop with the ability to walk around and look at biking accoutrements (i.e, "shop" as opposed to "pick up and get out") may be more appealing than a tiny shop with gadgets and gear hanging literally floor-to-ceiling, every square inch accounted for.
It's not that I have anything against space efficiency, but it's that if you aren't looking for something specific, (if you are just shopping) then you find yourself doing so without walking around. You can "shop" in citybikes repair shop, for example, by just standing in one spot, looking up and down slowly and rotating 360 degrees. It would take you an hour though!
But almost nobody, woman or man, would do that without feeling a little awkward, and probably stopping shopping that way faster than they would if they could walk around while doing so.

Best of luck!

06-12-2008, 12:28 PM
It's interesting that you say that and label it non-gender specific - consumer studies of how women shop versus how men shop show that successful retailers selling to women allow a certain interaction between shoppers and products. Touching, looking, browsing, etc. There's a relationship with how long a person (and especially a woman) spends in a store to how likely they are to spend money there and the longer a person spends there, the more money they spend there - a shop designed to get women to linger will sell more to women.

08-06-2008, 12:37 AM
It's interesting that you say that and label it non-gender specific - consumer studies of how women shop versus how men shop show that successful retailers selling to women allow a certain interaction between shoppers and products. Touching, looking, browsing, etc. There's a relationship with how long a person (and especially a woman) spends in a store to how likely they are to spend money there and the longer a person spends there, the more money they spend there - a shop designed to get women to linger will sell more to women.

I have heard this too, and it might be right.
Personally, though, I do not "shop" at a bike store - I always have something specific I need when I go inside one.
Once inside, I might begin "shopping" (i.e., browsing, looking around, seeing if something is interesting) but usually I don't get that far because I've already been asked what I need; I have said "actually yes, where are you tire levers?", been shown the levers, and then at that point feel like shopping is done.

Somewhere deep inside, maybe I know that if I stay I might spend money unnecessarily, so I'm happy to hit the register?

End result - I don't shop at bike stores, and when I do I get such great service that it basically prevents my lingering.

make sense? anyone feel the same? I think studies also show typically consumers like being helped and quick service is a plus... but for me, it's not that way. I will ask if I need something and can't find it.

09-16-2008, 03:05 PM
mega-dittoes on haven's gear worth buying suggestion. i don't know if this is specific to women, but even shops that have lots of bike gear rarely have anything stylish. i'd love a store that sold some of the cool, stylish local gear featured sometimes on bikeportland.

second suggestion is: employees who strike the right balance between being helpful and letting you have some alone time to think about what you want. again, maybe not woman-specific, but sometimes bike shop employees seem to think you can't make simple purchases without their constant assistance.

09-16-2008, 03:12 PM
i second cruizer, too, on the size thing. i'm tall, so i was size 8 when i ran and biked every day. some knee trouble later, i'm size 12ish and still riding. i've stopped even looking at the overpriced spandex in bike shops, but i do remember it being too small even back in my size 8 days.

09-16-2008, 06:02 PM
a professional fitter that is either a woman, or knows how to fit a woman's body. I just wasted a could hundred bucks at another bike shop with a guy who had no idea how to really fit a womans body. My husbands fitting was perfect. I have been left with more problems than when I went in.