This weekend was the annual bike expo at my shop. The expo takes place the last weekend in April every year starting on a Thursday. This year I actually took time off of my main job to be able to help out on the first day of the deal. Seeing how it actually snowed Thursday morning, I am not sure my presence was totally required. In fact the events of that morning also lead me to question the validity of global warming. Selling bikes is hard when there is a ten foot high by hundred foot long pile of snow in your parking lot and more falling out of the sky.
Friday and Saturday were not much better with some wind and slushy rain thrown into the mix. Sunday, during which the shop has abbreviated hours, was of course sunny and beautiful. This meant that as we were closing early and trying to get all the bikes brought in, we were getting hammer but the hundreds of people that all showed up in the last two hours the shop was open. For experienced riders, buying a bike is a bit easier, you know what size you ride and you have a general idea what you want. If you haven’t ridden in years (or ever) showing up ten minutes before the shop closes and expecting to just have the perfect bike handed to you isn’t ideal. Most customers are very understanding of the fact that we are just about to close and have eight or so people trying to put away four hundred or so bikes so we can get home reasonably soon after the shop closes. Some however, are not.
To those people I’d like to say I am sorry. Buying a bike is somewhat similar to buying a car. Only in addition to finding one with all the options you want, you also have to find one that fits your body. To add to that, at my shop, the salesmen aren’t commissioned, so there isn’t any incentive for us to just slap you on a bike and send you out the door. We’d actually like to find out what type of riding you plan to do, what kind of money you are looking to spend and find the bike that is the best for you. That isn’t going to happen in ten minutes. Please feel free to stop by when we have a bit more time together. We’ll both be the happier for it.
On a much more entertaining note, I was reminded that children are easy to label as clinically insane even though it is totally normal for them to live in a complete fantasy world. This dad came in with his son and daughter (ages 8 and 7 maybe? I am horrible with children’s ages). The son hopped on a bike we picked out for him and rode it around for all of a couple minutes before decaling that it would indeed be his. The daughter was a totally different story. She apparently had a rather nasty crash at the end of last summer and wasn’t stoked to ride, especially not on a bike that was probably meant for her to grow into. She was nearly in tears and declaring repeatedly to her father that she just couldn’t do it before turning away in wonderful soap opera drama style. Dad was patiently trying to talk her into at least trying it while her brother was making very serious sounding and less than encouraging observations. Some of which were “I am just not sure she can handle it Dad.” “I don’t think she’s ready.” He really had a good stream of these going before dad finally got her on the bike and got her rolling (with a little seat holding help, which she pointedly insisted on). At that point her brother totally snapped and started running behind her waving his hands in the air like a crazy person and screaming “You’ll never make it out of this parking lot without crashing!! You are going to crash because I am a magician!” I think by this point dad was pretty tired. I however, was doubled over laughing. It may have been the high point of the expo for me.