I know in this day an age of internet shopping and mail order you can get all things a bit cheaper and from the convenience of your own arm chair at the click of a mouse.
The same is true for bikes and all things bike related, indeed I've used any number of online retailers for bits'n'pieces, clothing and various accessories.
But let’s for the moment take a moment to celebrate the blokes who run small businesses and keep your beloved steed in working order and can be the saviour of the moment when you need that "spur of the moment part", an emergency inner tube for a last minute pedal or just a bit of bike related advice to make your life a bit easier.
As most of you know I got my Giant Defy from Northfield Cycles a couple of months ago, and ever since I've had it I've had wheel problems, rubbing brake blocks, spokes pinging off and just a nagging feeling that all is not well with the hoops. For a new bike that's not good. Indeed at the free first service I voiced my concerns to Neil and they've had the bike back as well to replace spokes. Every time they've sorted it, but again the wheels would go out of true or ping spokes which it did again last week.
I took the bike in last Wednesday basically to say I was not happy, the bike is bordering on not fit for purpose and I want it sorted. Neil said leave it with us and lo and behold they did sort it. A pair of Shimano RS20 rims are now happily hanging on my bike. Not only that but they worked damn hard to get me the bike back for Saturday as I said I was going on a big pedal on Bank Holiday Monday. I got the bike back Friday. Now that's service.
I think in this digital age it's easy to forget about the personal touch and good customer service, indeed we British are generally not very good at it so any bit of going the extra mile needs to be celebrated.
So well done Richard Tranter and Neil Jones at Northfield Cycles! You have a very happy customer whose expectations were exceeded!
Sometimes it's easier to moan about bad service and to take good service for granted so let's change that around, just don't shop where you get bad service and trumpet good examples where ever you can so we all know who's doing the business!
So what I would say is use your LBS, cultivate a good relationship with them and keep them in business for your own good. Don't forget these blokes are cyclists too! Neil is now a regular commuter and ex BMXer and Richard is a cyclo crosser of some repute too, they like most LBS personnel are mad on bikes just like us mere mortals who use them as a tool or a hobby.