Victoria BC Bike Shops

Victoria Bike Shops: Going through the Spin Cycle

For this blog I’m doing something for the first time. Something I certainly planned on doing…just not so quickly.  It’s the FOLLOW UP TO FORT ST. CYCLE.

The Order:
As I mentioned last week, I’ve decided to get myself back on the road “bike-style” after having sold my Jeep. Well the bike looks and handles great but there were a few knick-knacks (yes, I was alive during the Depression) I needed to get to make me ready for the mean streets of Victoria.  Namely – a rear mud flap, front/rear lights and an inexpensive helmet. I had been suggested to go to Mountain Equipment Co-op so that’s where I started out.

My travels started at Mountain but to get the full shopping list, I found myself also visiting Reckless Bike Stores and Fort St. Cycle.  I’d like to say that my customer service experience was the same for all but you know that’s never true.

The Service:
Let’s break it down into the three businesses I visited:

Mountain Equipment Co-op: I easily found the mud flap and lights myself but looked like a fat kid (with a glandular problem) at the drive-thru.  What to buy…what to buy…
Thankfully an employee came by to check on me and quickly pointed out that unfortunately all the helmets left were either out of the price range I was looking to pay, weren’t the most manly (I still think I can pull of pink), or were too small. She still had me try on the tiny helmet just in case but no luck.  Now she was great but she really shined by letting me know that though they were getting a shipment in soon, if I wanted the helmet today then there were a few alternatives.  She suggested one shop I can’t remember and Reckless Bike Store on Yates.  This wasn’t as much about the sale as building a relationship with the customer. By solving my problem rather than pushing a sale, she sold me on Mountain Equipment Co-op.

Reckless Bike Store: It was the closest to where I was so that’s where I headed. I walked straight over to the helmets…most were more than I wanted to spend but I had some questions.  Unfortunately, the employee was talking with a customer so was a little busy. So I waited…and waited.  I understand he was busy with the other person but a “I’ll be with you in a moment” would have been a nice touch.  I was the only one in the store.  So I left.  And as I was leaving, I got a “have a great day” to the back of my head. In the end, it looked like the employee was talking to ANOTHER EMPLOYEE! Not a customer.  Wow. Too bad, they were having a sale and moving to a new location…I don’t have much good to say.

Fort St. Cycle: I returned only a few short days since getting my bike tuned up.  And you know what?  Brilliant.  I walked right over to the helmet display, was greeted immediately, given a few minutes to gander and followed up with a helpful exchange.  I was in and out in eight minutes with exactly what I wanted. $50 bucks I was happy to spend at an establishment I was happy to give it to.

Fort St. Cycle Conclusion (reinforced): Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major. After now returning to Fort St. Cycle once again, I’m happy to say my initial review was correct.  It wasn’t a fluke.  Damn good customer service. I’m swooning.

Reckless Bike Store Conclusion: Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.” Sorry, you pretended like I didn’t even exist. There are far too many fish in the sea for me to be treated like that.  I can do better.

Mountain Equipment Co-op Conclusion: 2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance. Helpful, informative and may not have offered what I wanted initially but intrigued me enough for another try.

Service Rating System:
Friend Zone – I just don’t like you in “that way.”
Booty Call – If I don’t have anything else better going on, I’ll stop by.
2nd Date – I’ll give you a second chance.
Going steady – This could be the beginning of something major.


The Tip:
If you can add to your customers’ experience, as a great shoe philosopher once said, “JUST DO IT!”

I was heading home from Mayfair mall on Saturday.  I no longer have a car so transit is my new best friend. I got on the 1:30 pm #5 to Downtown with the minimum expectation that I would just get to my destination.  Well thank you Dan, Mr. Bus Driver for making my experience a more enjoyable one.  The guy was funny.  Sure they were probably the same jokes he used for everyone but it was my first time and I loved it.

Dan: “For those of you feeling nauseous and lightheaded, that’s the fresh air of Victoria.  We’ll get you back to Ladner on the next available No. blah blah bus.”

Awesome.

And then he told us the time and what the next stop was. He didn’t have to do that.  He could have just opened and closed the doors as he picked up and dropped off…but no, not Dan.  Thank you for making something mundane, better.

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2 thoughts on “Victoria Bike Shops: Going through the Spin Cycle”

  1. Well well well. Going steady. Good for you. I always had high hopes that you would find someone that made you feel special. Enjoy the relationship.

    Side note: I always check into MEC for everything outdoors. The odd time it may be difficult to find help, but the save is that when you do, they usually know what they’re talking about. There’s that…and the prices are great…if you have a membership (don’t be cheap…it’s $5 for a lifetime).

  2. Based on this blog’s advice, I took my daily commuter into Fort St cycle for a tune-up. (I’ve had dismal experiences in most other Victoria shops. In response, I’ve been actually travelling to Goldstream Bikes in Langford – great service, good guys).

    Anyway, I got to FSC this morning at 0900 to pick up my bike. However, they don’t open until 10:00. Fortunately, one of their staff saw me, opened the door, and invited me in. Like this blog repeats, “Make it easy for me to spend my money in your store!” and they did.

    I haven’t ridden the bike yet, but I’ll assume that the repairs are fine; it was a pretty straightforward major tune (truing wheels, new pads, shifter adjust and lube, etc).

    Price was comparable to what I’ve paid at other shops, and service was much better than most.

    (Reckless Bikes, for example, disregarded my suggestion of what was wrong with my bike when I took it there for a new drivetrain. They only did a tune-up (for $70), which didn’t fix the problem, which meant I had to return the next day to indeed have the drivetrain replaced at $200, making the $70 tune null and void. Did they credit me for the wasted $70? Nope. Which is why I’m now a loyal follower of Fort St., and slagging Reckless on a blog.)

    thanks for the recommendation!

    sincerely,
    -happy customer.

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