Portland Maine Bicycle Commuting Message Board General Discussion › Bike Commuter's Collective Input Wanted:

Bike Commuter's Collective Input Wanted:

john b.
AsshatOrganizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 509
I'm compiling a case to put forward to the powers that be in my bike shop. I sincerely feel that with recent developments in the local market (the particulars of which I won't get into) and with the exceptional location of the Gorham Bike and Ski Portland store, bike commuter related merchandise is sorely underrepresented.

Over the coming months and more likely during the ramp-up for next spring I hope to nudge the shop modus operandi to a much more commuter friendly one. This should be represented in our selection of on display components, accessories, apparel and eventually build upon what I started with becoming a successful dealer of Surly complete bikes and frames with a greater breadth of models and manufacturers of real-world applicable, utilitarian bikes.

I want to stock more items that are important to bike commuters. It's definitely not my ship to steer, but, I believe it should be our job as a brick and mortar shop to display these items, allowing the customer to physically inspect and handle before they buy - not just show you a facsimile on our special order website, take half the retail cost from you and tell you, "see ya in a week!"

I already have a game plan as far as what I want to stock for specific items, showcasing certain component brands and, eventually, expand upon decent commuter complete bikes and frames.

Without telling you all what I have in mind as far as what I propose we stock, I'd like to ask what any of you wished they could see in a retail bike shop environment as far as components, bikes, accessories and apparel.

Derek P.
dpellet
Portland, ME
Post #: 73
xtracycle accessories
Michie O.
michieoday
Portland, ME
Post #: 13
Portable air pumps, such as Topeak.
Bob B.
user 3380725
Scarborough, ME
Post #: 158
Winter gear, such as lights, helmet liners, booties, gloves. Also, decent commuter panniers, racks, and bags.
Lincoln P.
user 12657385
Portland, ME
Post #: 78
If you stock high-vis gear, you should look into the sort of heavy-duty and relatively inexpensive jackets and bibs they carry at hardware stores. This is much more utilitarian than what bike accessory companies sell, and it is priced accordingly. If you want to promote biking and bike safety, you have to make it affordable.
Scott
user 5414356
Brunswick, ME
Post #: 426
I would recommend making sure to stock a range of items at different price points -- sort of "good", "better" and "best". Those of us who ride every day, year-round might not mind spending $100+ on a quality set of panniers, but newcomers to bike commuting who still aren't sure if it's for them need a less expensive option.

I second the suggestion for winter gear like lights and thermal accessories, but I would add fenders and studded tires to the list. The difference in the number of bike commuters in the summer and winter is quite striking.
john b.
AsshatOrganizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 511
Thanks for the suggestions thus far. Keep 'em coming!

I fired off a 5 page email to my boss and the parts buyer full of suggestions of specific items we should have in stock and different manufacturers we should look into enrolling into dealer programs with. The response has been very positive and it looks like they're going to go with all of my ideas. This will be over the process of many orders, not in one massive order, so it'll take some time to see a commuter niche at the Gorham Bike and Ski Portland store to materialize in the way I have planned. Still, they've agreed to dedicate a large rolling cart to nothing but commuter gear and have not shot down any of my low-risk, low-cost suggestions.

Things you can expect to see as early as tomorrow:

- A range of decent panniers/ pannier sets at different prices.

- A range of studded tires that are optimum for local conditions and for years and years of real-world abuse (no steel studded junk)

- A more comprehensive selection of fenders

- Some better rear rack options

- Brighter, more dependable front and rear lighting in a wide range of prices

- Low-cost reflective item options (including a ~$10 reflective vest meant for cycling)

- Topeak frame-mount pumps (including the Road Morph with built in gauge)

Thanks again for your collective input and I'll keep you all informed with new products you and I have requested as they roll into our receiving area.

Keep the suggestions coming!
Michie O.
michieoday
Portland, ME
Post #: 15
All sounds great! Another item: better selection of horns.
Lincoln P.
user 12657385
Portland, ME
Post #: 79
This sounds like a great selection of items. By the way, I happened to be at the Ikea in Stoughton, Mass., where they sell Patrull reflective vests for a whopping $4.99--though I lucked out and got two on sale for $3.99.


john b.
AsshatOrganizer
Portland, ME
Post #: 513
Fair enough. But, this one is specifically for cycling. It's also kind of a one-time purchase so, if I were to be in the market for one, I'd pay even $20 and not worry about cheaper options.
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