Support Your LBS:
Here is a great video posted by my friend and builder Rocky Huang from T-Mosaic Cycles in Taichung.
When Rocky is not preparing for a race he usually reserves his weekends for taking customers on rides. They usually offer different rides for different levels of fitness, so nobody is excluded.
Although the big box stores like Giant and Merida offer some good deals, you don’t get the same level of expertise you get when dealing with a good local bike shop. At an LBS like Rocky’s, you might pay a little more, but you get service from a guy who actually knows what it is like to seriously ride a bike and shares the same passion for the sport. Often, the big corporate stores do just enough to move merchandise, but the employees do not have the saddle time it takes to understand the customer’s needs. Sometimes with large corporations, excessive overhead drives the sales rather than ensuring the customer has the bike they want and need. In my own experience I have found Giant and Merida stores are great for a quick repair, but generally they are technicians of limited ability. The employees go through a short training course, like McDonalds, and then hit the sales floor. Rarely are the Giant derailleurs ever indexed properly. Visiting Rocky is more like going to a cycling councilor. I can discuss training technique, different component options, geometry, routes and resources. This is a huge advantage of the LBS.
Furthermore, supporting your LBS is a great way to support your cycling community and I hope more cyclists will go out of their way to lend these places their support. The LBS forms a center where local cyclists can meet, ride and build community awareness. They need your patronage to remain a part of your community. To favor the corporate stores is simply penny wise and pound foolish.
I would again like to thank Rocky for his expertise and help with prepping by bike on short notice when I need to ride. Best bike shop in central Taiwan.