Monday, February 6, 2012


Sometimes you bite the bullet and pay too much at the LBS (local bike shop).

I needed a new kickstand. The nice double legged stand I've been using has been on loan from Allman. He bought himself a Big Dummy, so now he's got a use for the kickstand.

I figured I'd throw a cheap kickstand on for the time being and see if it was adequate. I'd seen made in the U.S.A. Greenfield kickstands at Ace Hardware before for about $5 and figured no big deal, I'll go snag one from the LBS.

I appreciate my LBS, I want to support my LBS. I knew it might cost me a couple bucks more there, but not a big deal on such a small purchase.
I walked in with little wrider, told them what I needed and they hooked me up. Only thing is it cost three times what I'd seen at the hardware store.

At this price I could be well on my way to a fancy two-legged stand from Velo Orange, but I'm in the shop, I told them what I needed and they had it for me. So I bought it.

Like I said I want to support my LBS, I know it costs more to get stuff up to Alaska, I don't want to buy from the bigger chain store, and I'm willing to pay a bit more for that. But 200-300% more is a tough pill to swallow.

But I know that down the road the folks in there are going to take care of me, either with a quick repair on the cheap as I'm on my out of town for a week or riding, or a backdoor bargain that might not be available to the general public. Maybe it will just be consistent, friendly service for years to come, but I know that ultimately the extra price of that kickstand will be well worth it.

Although I'd rather have paid less and brought a 6-pack in for the shop, oh well.


  1. gree. Your valuation of the kickstand is based on the big chain store, Ace, and the ubiquity of the item, which is almost disposable to most people. You might try asking for "take-offs" or used items next time. Additionally, I bet that shop has a double-legged kickstand in stock. Or, encourage that shop to begin ordering from VO, which distributes it's premium goods such as racks and fenders, as well as brake pads, kickstands and thumb shifter mounts, competetively priced. Actually, I've worked for both VO and the particular shop (I think) you are referring to. If the shop hears about VO or other unique products a few times, they might get wise. The would rather make the sale than have you buying on the internet, and larger orders could be cheaper than paying shipping on a single item. Good new: Greenfield is still making those things in Freeport, NY.

    1. It's an ongoing internal conflict, especially living in Alaska. It's not a situation unique to bike shops either.

      The shop has always been great about ordering QBP items as needed and you're right, it would be worth mentioning VO a few times. But it is tempting to not add a middle man when VO's shipping to AK has always been so reasonable.

      The fact is for better of for worse internet has changed commerce and now we all (consumers, as well as shops) have to decide how to respond to the change.

      And they did have double-legged stands in stock, I thought I'd try something different for a while.

    2. Been out of town for a bit...

      In the past I have found that many bike shops don't stock the kind of goods that I am interested in, as the buyers and employees of the shop tend to appreciate different styles of riding than me. This makes it nearly impossible to find steel racks, dynamo lighting, and other good touring and commuting gear in local bikes shops, here and elsewhere. Additionally, the "attitude" perceived by many at bike shops is a sometimes a real thing, and has driven me to purchase goods online, at competetive pricing.

      Finally, the internet allows us all to know as much about bikes and equipment as we are willing to learn, and supports niche retailers such as VO. If not for the internet, (aside from the ability to purchase goods), we wouldn't even know we needed things like steel frames, hammered aluminum fenders or low-trail geometry.