Local bike shops have long been the heart and soul of cycling communities all across the world, and they're so much more than just places to buy gear or get repairs done. They're gathering places, where cyclists of all ages and abilities come together to share their love of the sport. They're staffed by people who are passionate about cycling, who understand the needs of their customers, and who will go out of their way to make sure you get exactly what you need.
However, our local bike shops are under threat. As the world moves increasingly online, local businesses are struggling to stay afloat, but there's enough room in this world for both the quick convenience of online retailers, and the heartiness of your local bike shop. It's more important than ever to help ensure that these essential businesses are here to stay. So today, we're sharing eight reasons why you should support your beloved local bike shop.
1. You never truly appreciate what you have until it's gone
Picture this: You're out on a ride, the sun is shining, wind in your hair, and you're feeling great! Suddenly, your chain snaps, and you're stranded on the side of the road. What do you do ?
It's true that you can find everything you need online these days, but what happens when your local bike shop shuts down because of dwindling footfall, rising overheads, and the impossible task of keeping up with online prices? Suddenly, you're left without a place to go when you need a quick repair or some last-minute gear.
2. You can't beat some good old-fashioned face-to-face customer service
When you walk into a local bike shop, you're greeted by people who are genuinely excited to help you. They know their stuff, and they're happy to share their knowledge with you. Plus, the best local bike shops will always give your honest opinion – even if it means talking you out of a purchase.
For dealers: Bafang have spent the last two years developing a direct-to-dealer service (DDS) mode for select bicycle brands and dealers in response to their service requirements, creating a comprehensive, closed-loop system. Though currently available only in The Netherlands, in the future Bafang will be expanding the service outlets and increasing service personnel.
3. Without seeing your bike in person, it's difficult for online retailers to give you the best and most personalized advice.
Unless you're a pro-mechanic, there's going to come a time when you'll need a hand with your bike. We at Bafang don't sell directly to consumers, only other businesses, and our drive systems are components of whole bikes that are manufactured elsewhere. With so many variations in a bike's make-up including whether they are electric or non-electric, market variations, alterations made to parts by manufacturers and sellers, as well as inconsistencies in customers' own technical ability or access to equipment, it can be near impossible to obtain the best and most accurate advice online. That's where local bike shops shine. You can take your bike to be looked at in person, and they're staffed by people who know bikes inside and out, who can give you in-depth advice on any problem you may be having, and who can help you look after your bike so it lasts for years upon years of riding fun! We highly recommend purchasing your bike from a good local dealer so that they can properly support you with after-sales service.
For dealers: The scope of services offered by the DDS includes free replacement and maintenance of parts (within the warranty period), training courses for new products, technical documents (eg manuals, e-learning videos, assembly/disassembly demonstrations) for download in various languages, quick response and follow-up on any technical issues, and sharing of dealers' experiences.
4. Safety first!
With the rising popularity of new forms of riding, like e-bikes, bike systems are only becoming more technical and complex, and you want to be sure the person working on your bike has the best knowledge and technical expertise so you can feel confident your bike is as safe and strong as it can be.
For dealers: The Bafang DDS service team boasts established technicians with years of industry experience who will train dealers and workshop employees to ensure that they can provide high-quality services to their customers.
5. Try before you buy
When you're shopping online, it's hard to gauge whether a piece of gear is going to fit you properly or if it's 100% suited to your specific requirements. That's not a problem when you're shopping local. You can try on clothes and gear, sit on bikes, and even take a test ride to make sure you're getting exactly what you need.
6. It's not always cheaper to buy online
One of the handy perks of building relationships with your local traders is most certainly the opportunity for spur-of-the-moment discounts! It's not guaranteed and should never ever be expected, but local business value their most loyal customers and, where they can, will often go out of their way to get you the best deal on your next purchase, service, or repair.
7. Get that community feeling
When you support your local bike shop, you're not just buying gear or getting repairs done. You're becoming part of a community of like-minded people who share your love of cycling. You'll get the chance to meet other riders, attend events, make new friends, and feel like you're part of something bigger than yourself.
8. Feel good knowing you're supporting local businesses and helping to keep that community spirit alive
That first ride feeling after getting a new piece of kit is unmatched, but you can make the feeling last knowing that you're doing your bit to support small businesses, and you can ride easy feeling the support of your local cycling community behind you.
So, next time you're in the market for some new gear, need to get a repair done or need to get your bike that much-needed service, consider heading to your local bike shop. Not only will you get great service and personalised technical advice, but you'll also be supporting a local business and becoming part of a community of passionate cyclists. And who knows – you might just make some new friends along the way.
In the meantime, head over to our social channels and help others to find fantastic local bike shops in their area by telling us about your local hero bike shop in our comments section.