Friendly bike service is hard to find here
I have spent every summer in Aspen for the past 15 years. I am an avid cyclist. My wife, kids and I enjoy two months in the summer taking full advantage of the valley’s amazing roads and trails.
Inevitably, after logging so many miles, I am faced with the unpleasant predicament of bracing for the unsavory experience of the Aspen bike-store attitude. One would think that these entrepreneurs would be grateful for the business at the peak of a seasonal operation. However, more times than not, the owners and employees have developed a posture of “don’t waste my time before I open my mouth.”
Often, I need a tune-up or minor adjustment. Sometimes I am buying an accessory or apparel. On average, my family spends $1,000 – plus a summer with the bike shop that offends me the least. I have had too many bad personal experiences to share, but the most recent one sums it up best. The episode motivated me to submit this account; perhaps I am not alone.
I planned a Richmond Ridge mountain bike ride, meeting buddies at 8 a.m. Just as I mounted my bike in my driveway, I noticed my front brake pad was rubbing the disc. I didn’t have the proper tool or frankly, the skills to make the minor adjustment. On the way to meet my buddies, I noticed that there was someone in Ute City Cycles as I wheeled by. After I tapped on the window, he reluctantly opened the door, and before I could explain my dilemma, he said no service was available. “We are closed.”
I explained that I was about to do a 4,000-foot-plus vertical ride, and I had a brake pad rubbing. He said, “Dude, what do you not understand? We are closed.” He said he was in early because a bike fit was arriving in a few minutes. I am a 47-year-old man, and he duded me!
I didn’t respond and just completed my ride with added drag on the disc brake. After the ride, I wheeled into Fly Cyclery, the last in town to try. I described my experience with Ute City to a gentleman named Fletcher. I explained that after 15 years I am still searching for a bike shop that is sympathetic and enthusiastic and wants my business. He examined my brake situation, made a two-minute adjustment. He charged for the service.
I was grateful, and I happily paid. Finally I have found a bike shop to call home.
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