So I decided to do a little experiment, I walked into a couple of my local bike shops and pretended to be someone who was interested in riding a bike to work. As you may know, most bike shops cater to recreational road and mountain bike riders, so I wanted to find out if bike employees were knowledgeable about the necessities of a bike commuter.
My first question was ‘What kind of bike should I buy if I want to ride 20 miles roundtrip?’. The first shop directed me to hybrid bikes. The employee pointed out how comfortable those bikes are due to their suspension systems and upright positions. The other shop directed me to an entry-level road bike with flat bars and told me how this was a Mountain bike disguised as a road bike (huh?).
Playing devil’s advocate, I inquired about fixed geared bikes. Both shops steered me away from them since they were meant for more ‘advanced’ riders.
When it came to accessories, both shops recommended a light set, locks and backpacks. Both shops had a very limited selection of panniers.
None of the shops asked me about my fitness level or if I even rode recreationally; they also didn’t offer any advice on bike commuting — they were more interested in selling stuff rather than helping the cause.
How about your LBS – are they Bike commuter friendly?