I have a confession and an apology. I've learned recently that I'm not a real bike shop. I feel the need to apologize to everyone who purchased something from me or had me work on a bike. If you feel I've pulled the wool over your eyes with my pretending to be a bike shop, I sincerely apologize. I didn't mean to do it. To me, a bike shop is a shop that fixes and sells bikes and parts. I do that. However, that doesn't cut it for some people.
Within a couple day period about a week ago, two couples came into the shop with expectations that were dashed. The first couple approached the front of the shop and I could hear him tell her "look, they're a Trek shop." There was a newish Trek Domane in the rack at the front door that I had worked on earlier that day. With expectations of seeing rows and rows of Treks brilliantly shone off with low-voltage spot lights, they set through the front door. A quick cursory glance revealed a rack of old mountain bikes, a bunch of weird looking orange bikes with roadie bars and knobby tires, and all lit up with fluorescent strip lights. They stopped about five feet in the shop after I gave them a "howdy, how are you guys doing" from my truing stand. He turned to her and in a not so quiet whisper told her "this isn't a real bike shop." I almost laughed out loud and probably did have a quiet cough to suppress any comment that was ready to spill out. They turned and abruptly left as I called out "have a great day" to them. Wow, that just about made my day. Not a real bike shop. I was a little crushed, but bounced back within seconds.
A few days later, a dad, mom, and a kid walk in and look around. He asks me what I sell. I tell him I build custom bikes and sell my own brand of road and cross bikes. He follows that with "oh, so you're not a real bike shop." His reasoning for what makes a real bike shop was one that sells Trek, Specialized, or Giant. Then they left. My head was reeling after being told I wasn't a real bike shop for the second time in a week. Could it be true? Was I kidding myself? Was I lying to every cyclist who came into my shop and proclaimed "now this is a real bike shop."
Naw, those folks just didn't know what scores of other people know. They don't know that I build bikes and wheels for people all over the country and in other countries too. They didn't know that I've been doing this bike thing for 25 years. They just didn't know and obviously didn't want to learn either. That's okay. They did give me fuel for a new t-shirt. Black Mountain Cycles - Not A Real Bike Shop.
(What's playing: Skeeter Davis Under Your Spell Again)