Local Bike Shops Need to Also Build Community Jul 19, 2018

We talk about this a lot. Supporting your local bike shop. But what can your LBS do for you? Alter Cycles’ Steve Bretson recently penned a beautiful, heartfelt idea on their Instagram, related to our Supper Club Shred gallery that I really wanted to share here on the website. Click through to read Steve’s post…

Community is absolutely everything.

“Every day there are dozens of articles outlining the decline of the brick and mortar in the wake of internet retailers – written from perspectives that we all should basically just give up. We fundamentally disagree. Brick and mortars are no longer places to just buy stuff, agreed on that. Spaces and moments that allow diverse opinions to gather while feeling empowerment in something we agree on are what our society needs now more than ever. The challenge is how these “3rd Spaces” – an architectural term referring to gathering places between home and work, can support increasing overhead.”

“The current default bike shop answer to this seems to focus on consumption of either coffee or alcohol as a means to support where retail margins once did. While those prove to work financially, Coffee shop interiors are a sea of podcast listening wifi moochers only furthering their own polar views, and after embedding as a bartender over the winter to see how that feels, a constant scene of intoxicant consumption didn’t feel intellectually healthy enough to meet our standards of forming togetherness as humans who agree that bikes are great.”

“So then, how forward? We have a few ideas to share with the world that are pretty exciting that still allow us to focus on keeping it casual through community and customer service – come hang out with us on a Tuesday #supperclubshred or a Friday HAPP!EST HOUR and be a part of it as your beautiful self, supporting community that supports you. We love you.”

– Steve Bretson, Alter Cycles

  • I wish my local bike shop was cool. Instead, the employees are all elitist dickheads.

  • boomforeal

    couldn’t agree more john. i moved across the country a few years ago and feel really lucky to have landed in a small town with a great bike shop and an outdoor outfitter, both of which put a lot of time and effort into getting people together for rides and other excursions, at multiple levels, facilitating experiences and forging connections and friendships. having gotten to know both owners, it really feels like they do it for the love and to build community — the fact that it helps their bottom line is the cherry on top

  • barry mcwilliams

    This is why I’m so lucky to call GSC my LBS.

  • Thomas Yeates

    This is amazing. As a shop employee, I feel that the shop I work at serves not so much as a retail store to buy things at but more of a club house. Come by and shoot the shit, tell us about that close call with a car or the new trail that scared the shit out of you. High fives are always free. It’s a place to hang out with friends, swap stories, maybe have a beer and be a part of the community, we just also happen to sell things. Culture over profit margins, any shop that puts emphasis on the latter won’t be around much longer with the internet to compete with. LBS’s have to give people what they can’t buy online. High fives, a shoulder to cry on, advice on bikes or life and chill vibes. You’ve gotta do it for the love. Just my two cents.

  • Holla!

  • Jordan Muller

    Amen to all of that. The Trailhouse in Santa Rosa does a great job of being a multi use community hub. VeloCult in Portland also comes to mind. And it’s easy to see how much people appreciate that initiative and respond to it with cash so it’s really a win win. And in reference to some big talks on this site in the past regarding substance use in cycling, it’s also important that bike shops see their customers as multi dimensional people rather than just bikers who want a beer. We have cultural and political preferences that need to be expressed, we want to cook together, hell, I think VeloCult hosts a weekly square dance!

  • Superpilot

    Utter dearth of this type of shop where I live. Also, although I enjoy to partake, I never understand why bikes and beer seem to be so interwoven. On an enforced dry spell, it kinda graunches to have beer consumption be almost a semi-requirement to being someone who rides a bike…

  • GNARdina

    The best shops in Pittsburgh all have the same things in common. They have friendly people, good mechanics, and fair labor prices. You can’t order a tune up online, and you can convince someone to buy the part from you if they instinctively bring the broke bike to your shop. Building a community, getting people to think of your shop first, and making your shop a welcoming place is great, but you have to have the skills to back it up. I have a shop less than a mile from my new house, I took my bike there once and never did again because the work they did was mediocre. Another shop that is 4 miles further has never let me down and will get my service every time.

  • You’re a legend, Steve! Can’t wait to shred with you in Bozeman.