Harvest Century September 22nd

The Monday Roundup: Separation for seniors, friendly shops, corruption, and more

Posted by on June 17th, 2019 at 10:02 am

This week’s Monday Roundup is sponsored by the Gorge Pedal. You will not want to miss this event and ride on July 20th that will share the best of what the Gorge has to offer!

Here are the most noteworthy items we came across in the past seven days…

Oh Canada: Montreal’s network of physically protected bike lanes already makes it arguably the best biking city in North America. Now they plan to add 16 more miles of bikeways in the next two years by removing parking and reconfiguring lanes.

Friendly shops FTW: Portland’s River City Bicycles gets a well-deserved spotlight for is welcoming and inclusive vibe in this article from Bicycling Magazine on how bike shops need to “lose the attitude”.

NIMBY-speak: If you’ve attended a public meeting about a controversial issue you will definitely relate to this brilliant satire of how status-quo keepers like to talk.

How the Highway Industrial Complex rolls: US DOT Secretary Elaine Chao finally sold stock in a major road paving company after media coverage and public pressure forced her to.

More neighbors = more cycling: The NY Times editorial board says more cities should follow the lead of Minneapolis and outlaw single-family zoning.

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Big sale at Community Cycling Center

Say it louder for the folks in the back: “Make life easier for pedestrians, bikers, and mass transit users and encourage more commuters to shift modes and abandon their cars, and roads start to become unclogged.” That’s the takeaway from Curbed on a new report on urban congestion.

Paint is not protection: Britain’s cycling and walking commissioners tell policymakers that paint-only bike lanes are a waste of money. (If that’s true, Portland has thrown away a lot of money.)

Beyond bikeways: A bike advocacy group in Silicon Valley shares their realization that on some streets, pushing for a new bike lane might actually go against their stated mission.

Seniors will cycle with separation: A new study shows that having a physically protected space to ride is the top priority for older adults who want to use a bicycle for transportation.

Anti-bike political shenanigans: After they inexplicably scrubbed much of the pro-cycling language out of a transportation bill, a Minnesota lawmaker said his Republican colleagues, “Have a hostility to the bicycle as a mode of transportation. I don’t understand it.”

Tweet of the Week: There was a lot of competition this week. I decided to go with something light and fun…

— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and jonathan@bikeportland.org

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NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

33 Comments
  • Avatar
    AB June 17, 2019 at 10:28 am

    One of the key indications of a well-designed cycling network is if you see Grandma and Grandpa cycling with a little kid. Until you have that level of safety and confidence for the most vulnerable people, there is still work to be done. The Netherlands is a good example to learn from, though most American cities would need to be radically altered to make that happen.

    Well-designed, very low-traffic Neighborhood Greenways seem like a decent compromise on a shoestring budget, but even they are not possible everywhere. Especially in the suburban areas.

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      B. Carfree June 17, 2019 at 1:42 pm

      Not always. This grandpa rides 50 miles each school week with grandma and our two granddaughters, ages 5 and 6 now (but this started at ages 3 and 4).

      We tolerate some truly horrific streets and stroads, but we are committed to staying out of cars and we have extensive experience and knowledge that allows us to deal with the poor behavior of our fellow citizens who do use cars. If a few more people would join us, those same roads would be just fine; I can’t count the times that just one less car would have made all the difference.

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        AB June 17, 2019 at 2:06 pm

        Yes, I’m aware that outliers such as yourself do, in fact, exist. However I don’t think it’s a stretch to say that the vast majority of the Senior Citizen crowd is terrified to ride a bike on much of the existing infrastructure, let alone with small children in tow. That’s why most cyclists tend to be physically able teenagers and adults.

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    X June 17, 2019 at 11:14 am

    The fietsorkest pilot is earning their pay. The trumpet is kind of hogging it but they sound pretty good for a 5 piece band on a bike.

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      setha June 18, 2019 at 1:17 am

      As I recall, the trumpet dominated the piece in the original Herb Alpert version.

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    MTW June 17, 2019 at 11:45 am

    “More neighbors = more cycling”. I don’t necessarily disagree with this position, but a recent trip to Los Angeles was pretty eye opening. There are some EXTREMELY dense tracts/neighborhoods which remain completely auto-dominated car sewers. It was pretty much the textbook definition of “density without urbanism.” No street life, no people walking around (there’s nowhere to walk around to), no bike lanes (certainly no PBLs.) The density was absolutely there, but everyone probably still used a car for most daily tasks.

    FWIW, I think the “more neighbors = more cycling” position would be more true in Portland.

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      Toby Keith June 17, 2019 at 6:44 pm

      More people riding? In Portland?! I sure haven’t seen where density has helped. All I see are neighborhoods surrounds apartment building getting choked with more cars.

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        GlowBoy June 20, 2019 at 10:51 am

        Higher density is only going to lead to more people on bikes if you give them good, safe infrastructure to ride on. Portland plateaued on that commitment about 12 years ago.

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      GlowBoy June 20, 2019 at 10:53 am

      Egads … Of all people, Ben Carson was in town here the other day saying more cities should follow Minneapolis’ lead in abolishing exclusive-SFH zoning. He’s right, but …. uh, yeah.

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    Bryan June 17, 2019 at 1:02 pm

    that NIMBY satire was hilariously sad. Free Forest Park.

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      Cyclekrieg June 17, 2019 at 3:36 pm

      “All this so-called “evidence” about how policies have worked in other towns simply does not apply to us. No evidence applies to us. Our town exists in a fog of mystery and enigmatic strangeness, and nothing that happens outside city boundaries should have any bearing on how we govern or exist.” — That is literally the argument of Marcy Houle, Catherine Thompson, John E. Miller, Will Aitchison, Alexandra P. Clarke to a “t”. Nope, we can’t learn from anyone! How dare you suggest we, who have never mountain biked or ever been to a city with an integrated urban mountain biking trail system, could know less about what is possible or not here in Portland.

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        GlowBoy June 20, 2019 at 10:42 am

        Well, that certainly one of Portland’s greatest strengths, and one of its greatest downfalls, krieg: the insistence on figuring out our own way of doing things, even if it’s different from the rest of the world. But also the insistence on ignoring what works in the rest of the world.

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    Todd Boulanger June 17, 2019 at 1:41 pm

    Per Republicans in MN fighting cycling infrastructure…bicycle are about the most libertarian form of wheeled transportation (other than LDS wheel barrows)…

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    oldster June 17, 2019 at 1:57 pm

    Oh boy, the bike shop snobbery article hit a nerve. It’s one of the most bafflingly immature things I can think of. Nobody is impressed that you work in a bike shop. I mean it’s not like you graduated from MIT. Give me 4 weeks and I’ll train any barista to do your entire job, including the mechanic’s bench. They might not have as much riding experience, but that’s not what you’re paid for. That’s not the job. The job is customer service. It’s amazing how many businesses seem bent on committing “suicide by Amazon” by keeping such employees around.

    What can I do to impress you that I’m worthy of your attention, when all I have is a mere 40 years of experience with bikes? It’s that head of gray hair I’ve got, isn’t it? Somehow it’s leading you to the exactly wrong conclusion that I must be totally inexperienced. Maybe you think all the old people were simply created on the day you were born? No, I’m pretty sure I was tearing apart bottom brackets when you were sucking your thumb and talking nonsense. Which was last Saturday.

    Speaking of our age difference, I also, definitely, didn’t come in here to help you act out your unresolved daddy issues. Although in his defense, if he’s ignorant of bikes, it might be because he’s confined to the car in which he drives his crappy commute to the good-paying job that paid for all the resources you absorbed for 20 years without ever saying thanks, and by the time he gets home to the overpriced suburban house you grew up in with your other spoiled-rotten siblings, with the lawn that needs mowing and the gutters that need cleaning, maybe he doesn’t have time for any other hobbies.

    Anyway, yeah, Amazon does the job for me now. The “no service” Amazon provides, is literally better than what you’re providing. I don’t love Jeff Bezos, but when I order bikes & parts from Amazon it’s with relish, not with wistfulness like the guy in the article. It tastes of sweet, sweet justice. Because after how you treated me, I want you to lose your job. I want your shop to close down. And since we’re fantasizing, I want you to have to get a job at the very Amazon warehouse that packs my box, and have to pee in a bottle because there’s no time for bathroom breaks, and hopefully you get heatstroke, and because you got heatstroke, they fire you from that job too. Not fair, is it?

    If you’re offended by this, then it’s absolutely directed at you.

    One day maybe cycling will grow up into a real adult industry with real money at stake. All you have to do, is quit being jackoffs.

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      mark June 17, 2019 at 4:07 pm

      Respect goes both ways, oldster. Your level of disdain for trained professionals is epic. No wonder you get poor service, walking in with an attitude like that.

      You have managed to dismiss baristas and bike mechanics in the same sentence. The baristas I know are highly trained and motivated to providing excellent coffee and good customer service. Pulling an excellent shot of espresso is harder than it looks; I know because I’ve taken the time to talk with the fine folks that prepare my coffee, and I respect their job. I could guess that you get attitude from them too, because of the huge chip on your shoulder.

      The bike shop where I work treats everyone who walks in our door with respect and attentive service. We work hard every day to overcome the snooty employee stereotype. Some of the work we do is rather straightforward, but much of it is complicated by small details that change frequently in our industry. Some people know how to fix or maintain their bikes, but choose to have us do it because their time is better spent doing other things that are important to them. We don’t judge, except for the people that attempt to belittle our efforts, which get a friendly smile and good service too. After they leave, we talk about what entitled donkeys they are.

      Everyone I work with is in it because we love riding bikes, and truly feel good about helping others enjoy it too. The pay isn’t amazing, even for someone with over 15 years of professional experience. Oh sure, we get some industry discounts, but they don’t amount to much. With a better paying job, I could come out ahead supporting my bike habit by paying full retail and having someone else overhaul my hubs, but I won’t take a job I don’t love, even if it pays more.

      Oh yeah, and while we’re fantasizing, I hope the cheap parts you bought on the internet fail and you crash your bike in a ditch. And since you crashed your bike in a ditch, hopefully you can’t walk again, much less ride a bike. That would taste like sweet, sweet justice.

      All you have to do to earn respect is quit being a jackoff.

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        bikeninja June 17, 2019 at 4:39 pm

        As a late middle aged white guy I side with Mark in his takedown of the “Get Off MY Lawn Guy” (oldster). I have noticed an attitude among many boomers my age and older that seems to require subservience of those who attend to them in retail, restaurants etc. It is not good and helpful service they seek but groveling. This is why chain restaurants and other establishments that cater to this crowd ( especially in the burbs) demands of their staff a kind of ” bow and scrap” attitude that this crusty crowd feels entitled to. Oh ,and Oldster, your crappy commute to the day job selling insurance, or cheating widows and orphans down at the finance company, or selling Roundup didn’t really pay for anything it just burned up resources and siphoned money away from the younger generation.

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          oldster June 18, 2019 at 11:57 am

          You’re absolutely right to oppose this fictional character who wants to outlandishly humiliate a groveling service staff! Go get ’em tiger!

          Also you seem to assume my caricature of “mark’s dad,” is actually me. Actually it represents everything I’ve tried to avoid in my life, and mostly succeeded. (It’s not rocket science… basically just don’t buy property or a car. But that’s harder when you have kids.) My motivation to avoid it corresponds precisely to my sympathy/pity for the poor hapless creature, fictional though he may be, just like your straw man version of me above.

          Incidentally that leaves you 0 for 2: You turned a real person into a caricature, and then you turned my caricature into a real person. Seems kinda too-convenient.

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        oldster June 17, 2019 at 6:00 pm

        Wait a minute, you don’t get to blame the victim just because the victim happens to be angry and gets a few zingers in. I didn’t “walk in” with that attitude. I walked in like I do everyplace else – smiling, joking and friendly as can be. Or at worst, maybe distracted, but never rude, and always expecting nothing more than the same service everybody else gets. That’s why it hurts so much and why I never walk in anymore.

        Apparently your shop is different – that’s great! (If that’s the case though, I wonder why you felt I was addressing you, and your comment takes on an air of “protesting too much,” sorry.) You ought to mention the shop by name so other people know. Too late for me – I do all my own work now; it’s usually quicker anyway. I also make my own espresso by the way; I swear it’s easier than fixing bikes, but don’t misunderstand: I was complimenting the hypothetical barista’s innate abilities. And I mean it literally: 160 hours of training and they’re good to go.

        Seeing oneself as a “trained professional” is part of the problem I think, at least to the extent that it results in talking down to customers, which you say you don’t do, so again maybe this isn’t for you. But yeah, here’s what a professional does: A professional might, for example, go to 4 years of college, study up and pass an all-day exam, go to 2 or more years additional school, pass another exam, do a couple-year internship perhaps, then study up and pass an even MORE rigorous multi-day licensing exam. And at that point they can START practicing as a professional.

        Whereas a bike mechanic is essentially an amateur (literally “lover,” namely of bikes) as you said yourself. Regardless, people do NOT appreciate being talked down to, not even by doctors who have gone through a process like that, and certainly not by people who “profess” an art that is comparatively child’s play. (It’s a bicycle. Anything complicated about it was made that way intentionally by a navel-gazing and ADHD-afflicted industry that calls something like BB30 an “innovation” because they’re desperate to create churn. Again, wouldn’t it be nice if it was a real grownup industry, with that big blue ocean as a customer-base, plenty of money for everybody and no need to scrounge and deceive!)

        While we’re on the subject of talking down, you’re seriously gonna lecture me about how “respect goes both ways?” You don’t think maybe I heard that several decades ago in grade school or from my parents? Also, why do you assume the parts I buy are cheap? Got me a fancy crank the other day. OK fine, it’s not Dura-Ace, but it’s not “cheap” either, and frankly it’s still wildly beyond my needs, as I’m not down with the bros who try to delude themselves that they’re pro racers who can shave valuable fractions of seconds (like it mattered anyway) by dropping a few grams.

        Good day to you and if you are indeed fighting the good fight then I wish you godspeed.

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          mark June 18, 2019 at 8:07 am

          Hi, oldster.

          I apologize for my caustic reply, but your initial post did touch a nerve. Upon reflection, maybe I’m the one with a chip on my shoulder after all.

          Our bike industry is broken. I do have some natural talent and affinity for manipulating mechanical objects and understanding of how things fit together, which is what draws me to this work. I have a 4-year college degree, but I completed only a 3-week intensive course in bike mechanics before landing my first professional job in the industry. I’ve had periodic formal training along the way, and have certainly learned much more on the job from various talented service managers that I’ve worked under, which is somewhat like an apprenticeship. I agree with your assertion that we could be taken more seriously if there were more rigorous training and education required, but you highlight the conundrum in both of your posts when you posit that bikes are not that complicated and that repair and maintenance is basically “child’s play,” when compared to some more valued profession. If we were indeed required to complete a lengthy and expensive training to qualify for the job, what prices would shop have to charge for service, and would anyone pay those prices?

          I guess your post touched a nerve because I really do care about other riders, and I feel that too often, one snooty employee at some shop, acting like a jerk, can taint broader opinions of bike industry employees in general. I do my best to treat people with respect in all aspects of my life, especially so when dealing with people who are directly providing me with any sort of service. I know your original post wasn’t directed at me, but it stings anyway.

          Ride on, brother.

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            oldster June 18, 2019 at 1:44 pm

            Your reply impresses me, thanks so much. No worries, I ought to know better than to vent my anger at one or two (or three or four… I’ve been at it a long time) bad apples. It’s really just mind-blowing though, how some of those guys act. And it’s usually guys for some reason, maybe because the gals understand the phenomenon better, from having been on the other end of it. Though I did get a smirk from a lady once, for asking for rim tape by its rough English equivalent, I think it was the “five eighths rim tape” (15mm). Chuckle chuckle. The punishment was just a smirk so it fit the crime pretty well in that case I’d say. And it was enough to prompt me to look it up on the internet later on and go “Oh.” If she had really wanted to educate me though, she could’ve said, “yeah we usually refer to those in metric” but then she’s opening a hornet’s nest where she’s not sure how the customer will take that. I would’ve appreciated it, but maybe others wouldn’t, especially given the potential gender baggage in that particular situation. Regardless, it’s a fine line you have to walk in any public-facing job, that’s for sure. Maybe some people just kind of, can’t handle it, so they become dicks? They’re the ones who should be reading my rant instead of you. Although then again, maybe not, I mean would it change their minds about anything? Anyway, apologies for the outburst.

            One more note – you know the funny thing about those other disciplines where there are rigorous licensing requirements? In most of them there’s a permanent & ongoing battle between those who think “the profession is going to hell, the requirements aren’t strict enough” and those who think “the requirements are ridiculous, it’s just a scam to keep new people out, create scarcity and drive up wages.” Medicine, architecture and the like, I think are probably the ones where public safety is the most at stake, and the requirements are strictest & most needed. Whereas in something like software engineering let’s say, there are hardly any standards, but each employer kind of has their own, and then not only Mark Zuckerberg but everybody capable of hacking him, ends up totally knowing what color your poops were this morning. I dunno, is that better? The public still has an interest there, after all. Not in poops but in data security/privacy. Hopefully legislators eventually catch up with that one, if we can pull them away from preening about nonsense for a minute.

            Whereas bike mechanicry is probably best off the way it is. Yes the public safety is involved, but as you know, there are way bigger & higher-priority threats to the biking public than incompetent mechanic work.

            Well anyway. Thanks for being a decent human out there.

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          idlebytes June 18, 2019 at 11:31 am

          I’ve been to a lot of different bike shops in this state and others maybe I’ve been talked down to but I sure don’t remember it. Before they closed a sales person at Velo Cult suggested I get metal fenders to replace the plastic strap on ones I had and then later apologized as if that were offensive. Maybe that’s the type of thing people find offensive I took it as a helpful suggestion for how I can improve my riding experience. I remember feeling intimidated by bike culture when I first started riding but every shop I’ve walked into has always been willing to listen to what I need and help me understand what my options were.

          I really do wonder why there’s such a difference in our experiences. I suppose some of it could be confirmation bias it being so much easier to remember the bad experiences than the good. Just like bad drivers anymore now to combat that I count the number of good drivers around me for every bad one 🙂

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            David Hampsten June 18, 2019 at 2:56 pm

            You get a lot more of the negativity in both bike shops and in life if you are unusually tall. Or short. Or fat. Or are female. Or happen to be dark skinned. Or happen to choose the wrong people to be your parents. Or ride a department store bike. And/or all of the above.

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              idlebytes June 18, 2019 at 3:12 pm

              I’m not saying it doesn’t happen just that it’s odd to not remember this ever happening to myself while the article claims such a high rate. I asked my short coworker and girlfriend if they had any negative experiences like described and they couldn’t think of any either. I’m not saying it doesn’t happen I just wonder how much of it is perception vs reality. Like my Velo Cult example being perceived by others as condescension.

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              GlowBoy June 20, 2019 at 10:49 am

              Or a n00b. I remember an incident that happened to me many years ago at a popular Portland bike shop. As a relative neophyte (in terms of serious cycling) I was looking for a better saddle, trying to figure out what style would be comfortable for me, and a store employee told me they would all be uncomfortable unless I rode a lot more and toughened up my posterior. This, when I was already riding 50 miles a week.

              Now there’s something to the idea that your rear certainly does adapt to sitting on a saddle, and you find yourself able to ride longer without pain on saddles that might be uncomfortable when you’re starting out. But to make a blanket statement that it’s just got to be painful, unless you pay your dues and put in mega miles, is absolutely false. Worst kind of elitism, exactly what keeps a lot of people out of cycling.

              By the way, I won’t name the shop involved. I’ve lots of other great experiences there, and I just chalk it up to one guy being a snob, probably unhappy he didn’t make it in the pros and has to work in a bike shop catering to people far less serious than himself.

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            A June 18, 2019 at 6:20 pm

            Of all the bike shops I’ve been to, the only one I’ve ever had subpar service and/or attitude at is City Bikes. I live very close and it’s pretty convenient, but would rather go way out of my way to one of the other coops in town if I need a coop type part.

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      farron June 18, 2019 at 7:47 am

      Whew, lad.

      there is alot to unpack here.

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    Glenn II June 17, 2019 at 2:32 pm

    The San Jose story and the Curbed story both illustrate the same point: Every effort to get people out of cars or to get their cars out of the way, needs to provide good public transit for them to switch to. The next complaint is always, “That’s expensive…” but on the other hand, if everybody currently throwing away 30% and 40% of their income on buying and owning cars, were to pay into it just a fraction of that, we could have buses every 5 minutes with velvet seats, a concierge and a snack bar onboard. And people can certainly bike too, but if your commute is longer than about 2-3 miles (and in the Bay Area I don’t doubt it), you need that public transit link. So it needs to be a multi-modal approach at all times!

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      David Hampsten June 17, 2019 at 4:27 pm

      I think the neighbor’s point is that many homeless people sleep in their cars. Free parking in the public right-of-way is one of the few places a homeless auto-owning person can sleep without being harassed by the police, neighbors, etc. in most US cities.

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    Lance June 17, 2019 at 3:11 pm

    I understand why Seniors would want separation and friendly shops, but I don’t understand why Seniors would want corruption?

    “Seniors want separation, friendly shops, corruption, and more”

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    MARK SMITH June 17, 2019 at 9:22 pm

    It’s bike shop Bros that are generally against bike infra.

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    Dave June 18, 2019 at 10:06 am

    I will tell it to you in words that many bike store customers (and owners!) may understand:
    You. Get. What. You. Are. Willing. To. Pay. For.

    oldster

    Oh boy, the bike shop snobbery article hit a nerve. It’s one of the most bafflingly immature things I can think of. Nobody is impressed that you work in a bike shop. I mean it’s not like you graduated from MIT. Give me 4 weeks and I’ll train any barista to do your entire job, including the mechanic’s bench. They might not have as much riding experience, but that’s not what you’re paid for. That’s not the job. The job is customer service. It’s amazing how many businesses seem bent on committing “suicide by Amazon” by keeping such employees around.What can I do to impress you that I’m worthy of your attention, when all I have is a mere 40 years of experience with bikes? It’s that head of gray hair I’ve got, isn’t it? Somehow it’s leading you to the exactly wrong conclusion that I must be totally inexperienced. Maybe you think all the old people were simply created on the day you were born? No, I’m pretty sure I was tearing apart bottom brackets when you were sucking your thumb and talking nonsense. Which was last Saturday.Speaking of our age difference, I also, definitely, didn’t come in here to help you act out your unresolved daddy issues. Although in his defense, if he’s ignorant of bikes, it might be because he’s confined to the car in which he drives his crappy commute to the good-paying job that paid for all the resources you absorbed for 20 years without ever saying thanks, and by the time he gets home to the overpriced suburban house you grew up in with your other spoiled-rotten siblings, with the lawn that needs mowing and the gutters that need cleaning, maybe he doesn’t have time for any other hobbies.Anyway, yeah, Amazon does the job for me now. The “no service” Amazon provides, is literally better than what you’re providing. I don’t love Jeff Bezos, but when I order bikes & parts from Amazon it’s with relish, not with wistfulness like the guy in the article. It tastes of sweet, sweet justice. Because after how you treated me, I want you to lose your job. I want your shop to close down. And since we’re fantasizing, I want you to have to get a job at the very Amazon warehouse that packs my box, and have to pee in a bottle because there’s no time for bathroom breaks, and hopefully you get heatstroke, and because you got heatstroke, they fire you from that job too. Not fair, is it?If you’re offended by this, then it’s absolutely directed at you.One day maybe cycling will grow up into a real adult industry with real money at stake. All you have to do, is quit being jackoffs.Recommended 8

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      Stephen Keller June 19, 2019 at 8:28 pm

      Agreed, I get great service from both bike shops we frequent (River City Bikes for Keri’s ride and Block Bikes for my ride). I’m tall, older and as potentially arrogant as anyone in my demographic. What makes the difference, is I never quibble and I’m always respectful. The techs at both shops know I could do the work myself, but I return to them because I value and respect their attention to detail and their outright professionalism. Respect goes a long way in my experience and it cannot be credibly faked.

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