Sunday, October 24, 2010

hey Bike Store owners and managers, gimme a break

my bike - a custom Spectrum by Tom Kellogg

I got an email the other day from the manager of a local bike store. It was a woman which made her email even more maddening. Here is her email...........

"Hi Libby,
I work at So and So Bike Store in West Chester...a customer named Jane recently purchased a hybrid and was looking for casual/social/easier rides and I thought you may be able to point her in the right direction.
If you don't mind, I'll pass along your email and maybe you can advise her of some C level or "chick rides".
Thanks, Libby and have a super day,
manager So and SO Bikes of West Chester"

My reply.......

"the ABC Cycling Club does not offer rides for hybrid bikes
only road bikes , I hate to see a woman buy a hybrid as it limits her
all of our C rides are for road only
hybrids are too heavy and slow and not road worthy for the hills in CC
tell her to use the Schuylkill River Trail

sorry, Libby "

I was out today riding in beeeaaaauuuuutiful Chester County, PA. Nothing but red and gold leaves reflecting off of the Brandywine Creek. Gorgeous stuff. Tons of cyclists. Too many to count. But I could count the women, maybe I saw 3-4 ladies out there. One on a hybrid and the rest are road bikes. The men, all ages, with nary a one on a hybrid or some clunky bike.

Why do bike store personnel assume when a woman comes in for the first time that a hybrid is a good choice? I hear this sentiment often. "Well, I got a hybrid because it was cheaper and I want to make sure I like biking."

Trust me, you are NEVER going to like biking on that monstrosity you just bought. Women tend to be smaller and not quite as strong as men (some women) and yet bike stores stick them on the heaviest and most cumbersome bike in the store.

When I ride with my bike club, the men are all on bikes light as feathers. Fast, sleek and light! No wonder they love cycling.

Bike stores limit the potential for making a life long customer by selling the women hybrids. These ladies will ride maybe 2-5 times and give up. All they can do is ride on a flat bike trail and even that is going to harder than the guy on the road bike whizzing by them.

The bike store is never going to see this lady again. Her bike will sit in her garage unused. Had they sold her a good road bike, she would be back, she would want bike gear, and would most likely will be upgrading her road bike after a year or so and be looking for an even better bike.

So Bike Store owners, do me a favor please. Offer the woman who comes into your store a chance to think of herself as a cyclist. Encourage her to buy the road bike. Tell her the drawbacks of the hybrid. At least give her the choice. When you steer her to the hybrid you are assuming she will never be a cyclist and you just want to sell a bike. This shortsighted approach is the the one reason in my opinion that men rule the road and women, well, their bikes are sitting in the garage.


Frey Maxim said...

this is crap. There's no conspiracy out there to keep the females on crappy bike. Think about it... if you were a bike store owner, wouldn't you be trying to sell the expensive (big profit) bikes? Those are those light bikes. What kind of idiot bike store owner would purposefully try to make less profit, all for the purpose of making women hate cycling?

Libby Maxim said...

i think you are wrong, it is not that he wants women to hate cycling, the store personnel is making assumptions about the client

Lenny said...

"Trust me, you are NEVER going to like biking on that monstrosity you just bought." This statement is simply untrue. If someone is going to fall in love with cycling it's not going to be because they were on a lighter, faster bike. If the hybrid is going to end up in the garage unused, I GUARENTEE, so would a Specialized Allez. Maybe that’s the case or maybe the woman goes back to the store a year or 2 later and says, “I want to upgrade to 700c wheels, my hybrid’s beat to hell.” And that, is a beautiful thing. Even in today’s “I want it now” world, some things just have to be slow cooked.

Libby Maxim said...

don't buy it lenny, the hybrid is too heavy for most women to ride on the roads, at the beach, in Florida or on bike trails, the bike is fine, although I have been with women who struggled even on flat land with the hybrid, would rather see her on a decent road bike with regular pedals, she has MORE options, I have never had a women return to a club ride who came on a hybrid, I now post, NO hybrids for my rides

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