A Snippet From
The East Coast Cycling
One advantage to being in a cycling club is members gain access to many different sources on training, equipment, and maintenance.
Sometimes this information is gained on the fly, during training rides, or over coffee afterward. Sometimes it’s delivered by mail, as in the weekly newsletter.
Following is a good example. It’s an opinion piece by Gray Braatvedt on bike shops and services that was included in the East Coast Cycling Club newsletter. His opinion is worth hearing. Not only is he an accomplished cyclist but he’s also owned and operated bike shops.
The piece was informative. It gave me a more informed sense of appreciation for the services local bike shops provide.
Before the article, though, following is a training ride video by the A-group from Suncoast to Westbrook and back. Due to a stiff south wind, the speeds were quite quick going out and much slower on the return.
It’s worth mentioning that when one rider had a puncture, they all stopped to help out, or at least keep company. That’s what club members do.
Now For Gray’s Insightful Article
There has recently been a flurry of comments about various mechanics in bike shops on the Chit Chat group and having owned a bike shop and being a bike mechanic, I’d like to weigh in with a few comments to ponder.
A bike shop has to be able to service bikes as an after-sales service. A good set of tools will set you back anywhere between R60k to R100k. You also have to consider the cost of carrying enough spares to be able to do quick turnover of bikes.
A full service and wash of a bike will take anything between 2 or 3 hours. Interestingly the better components are much easier to service than the cheaper ones so it is quicker and easier to service the R50k plus bikes than the under R10k. A mechanic will only be able to do 2 or 3 bikes in a day at best.
What can a bike shop charge? Probably between R500 and R1000. That doesn’t come close to covering the cost of the rental and the salary of the mechanic.
The bottom line is that the workshop and servicing of bikes by the bike shop is a loss leader.
Very few bike shops can afford a decent mechanic and if they can, there are very few decent mechanics around because the pay is not in line with the skill and experience needed. It is certainly the case in South Africa.
This is why I learned the art of servicing a bike and have always done my own servicing. I also learned the art of building wheels and built and raced my own wheels; choosing the rims, hubs, and spokes to suit. Sadly the art of the wheel smith is dying with the factory built stuff that we buy now so it’s going to get more and more difficult to find someone who can replace a spoke and true the wheel again.
Don’t underestimate the value of a good mechanic and be prepared to pay for the work that will be done on your bike.
And my two cents worth: We are not all able to service our own bikes and have to rely on the services of a Local Bike Shop (LBS). Rather develop a relationship with one LBS than go from one shop to another looking for the best deal and slagging off bad service. It is very much a swings and roundabouts situation where one day your shop will have the best price and the next day another. Sometimes you will get great service and sometimes they may be busy and ignore you, but when you do need a favor, your LBS will reward you for your loyalty!
Thanks for the insights, Gray.
Join ECCC – Get Fit
If you’re thinking about getting fit but feeling a bit uncertain, East Coast Cycling is for you. Cycling is popular these days because it is a great way to get fit and you’ll find plenty of support and encouragement at East Coast.
Don’t just think about it, navigate to the East Coast Cycling Club website and checkout the information. You’ll find useful information and if you join you’ll meet some very helpful cyclists indeed.