Thursday, April 26, 2007

4/26/07 - The simple cure for our complex woes

This morning I spent 24 minutes watching the President of Trek Bicycle Corporation, John Burke's presentation at the recently completed Taipei Bicycle Trade Show in Taiwan. ( To see it yourself, go to and search for John Burke - then select the video that is titled John Burke - the Al Gore of the Bicycle Industry). Now, those of you who have heard John speak before know that it wasn't easy - but as usual, while John isn't the greatest public speaker, he had a lot of good things to say. Most of which inspired what I have to say here.

Think what you will about Global Warming; I won't go into all of my thoughts here. But if Al Gore were correct, the bicycle is a great solution to our problems. I don't think it stops there though. Obesity is possibly the greatest sociological and physiological problem of our time. There are many great epidemics - but obesity is by far the most transcendent and is the root cause of many other health problems facing many of our friends and neighbors. While thyroid disorders can account for a small percentage of obesity in our time, a far greater number of the cases are due simply to the lifestyle of "westernized" society in which we live in a manner that is fully dependent upon the automobile and almost necessitates a poor diet based on processed, "fast" foods

Wednesday, April 25, 2007

4/25/07 - What I learned at Ladies' Night

Sorry, this entry doesn't involve me dressed in drag and infiltrating Ladies Night at a local watering hole to find out what women really think might be more interesting if it did.

Last night, we hosted Trek's Women's Specific Design group's Ross Rushin for an event at our Brentwood store all about cycling and women (More info: It was truly a success, with 35 women in attendance learning all sorts of great things about what makes women's bikes special, how to fix a flat tire, and how to prepare for their next big ride. I think everyone walked away with something they learned, yes, including me.

1. I learned how to fix a flat tire without touching the chain! After fixing literally tens of thousands of flat tires, I'd always done the road-side repair while grabbing the chain to get the wheel out of the frame and while putting it back in. Ross showed me that it didn't have to be so - something I'll add to every flat-changing clinic from now forward.

Friday, April 6, 2007

Buying online is treason!

When was the last time your favorite online bike parts bargain discounter:

Stayed late on a Friday night or came in early on Saturday morning (skipping the group ride) to fix your bike? Stood in the pouring rain or searing heat at the local charity ride to pump up tires and work last-minute miracles so that the ride can go on (and did it for FREE)? Volunteered their time to the local Boy Scout troop to help them earn their merit badges?

Gave free clinics to teach you what you need to know to enjoy your favorite sport? Answered all your questions, about any cycling-related topic, and didn't hand you a bill afterward? Knew what size inner-tube your bike uses when you forgot? Do you need extended or standard valves? (Wait, they don't ask...)

Caught that worn out part on your bike just before catastrophic failure, overnighted the part from the supplier, split the shipping charge with you, and then installed it the next day so you wouldn't miss your ride - forsaking all the people who had brought their bikes in before you did - whom he then had to call and tell them that their bikes wouldn't be ready on time?

Spent endless hours up to their elbows in degreaser, chain lube, fork oil and who-knows-what which was on that Tri-bike to keep you rolling smoothly down the road? Happily stood and endlessly explained over-and-over the differences between those two bike shorts? (No, you weren't the first one to ask that day.) Didn't hesitate to help a child pick out their first bicycle, just to see them smile?

This is all in an average day's work at the average American bike shop.

Nobody working at your local bike shop is making a lot of money. Most of us drive beat-up old cars which are just a couple pay-checks away from getting the service done on them which they badly need. And that's when business is good like it is now. You thought we rode our bikes to work because we love cycling? That's only the first reason. The other reasons are that we'd rather not spend our hard earned cash on gas, and that if we don't drive today that's one more day some of us can keep our car out of the hands of the mechanic.

Our prices are set as low as we can set them and still be in business while paying our staff to serve you when you have a problem or question and pay rent and utilities on that store you like to hang out in. We do this because we love it. Some of us have been lucky enough to do it and make some money. But most of us do it to see children smile and our best clients lose weight, spend more time with their families, achieve a personal best on a century or win a race. And, most of us work way more hours than we should - simply because there's just too much work to do and we don't want to disappoint you.

The next time an online bicycle parts discounter shows up to do ride support for your favorite event, then you can feel good about your "bargain". Until then, support your local bike shop; they'll save your butt one day.

Oh, and you know who you are and we do too.


All content - except where otherwise noted - copyright 2006 - 2013 Matthew Magee. Do not use without permission.

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