Effects of Coronavirus Felt By My Local Bike Shop

by Jeff Whitfield on | Comments

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Bicycle Shop
Bicycle shop

Today was sort of like a punch in the face...except it’s me that’s punching it. I say that because that’s kind of how it felt after visiting my local bike shops today.

The day started off with a planned ride up some of the local trails. I had a planned path that would result in a good 20 miles. But the best laid plans got diverted due to an issue with my bike.

While setting up my bike, I learned that my K-Edge combo mount would no longer hold my PowerPod power meter firmly to the bottom of the mount. The threads got stripped over multiple months of use. I tend to tighten it up pretty firmly but I never felt I was over doing it. As such, I figured it might be a candidate for a warranty replacement.

So, instead of just riding my planned route, I made the decision to ride to my local bike shop. The problem is that I read the day before on their website that pretty much all their shops are effectively closed down except the service department.

Now, you would think that I would snap and realize that maybe this isn’t the time to ask them about replacing a part like this. I mean, I did have a set of backup mounts that came with my bike computer and power meter. They’re not ideal but they work. So, why the rush, right? And, yet, I still made the dumb decision to go anyways. Sigh.

Upon arriving, I noticed that the entrance was blocked off with a few employees fielding customers for service. One customer seemed on edge while talking with one of the employees. I made some sort of comment like, “Whew! Lovely day for a ride!” I think the customer’s response was something along the lines of “Yeah, it’s hard, isn’t it?!”.

I later learned from the employee at the door that the customer was trying to buy a bike. Apparently, he was pretty irate and didn’t understand why the store was closed to shopping for bikes.

No doubt it was a hard decision for the bike shop but, due to orders issued by the city, they had no choice. It was the only thing they could do.

After going inside to talk to the service department about my mount, I could feel there was a bit of tension in the air. My dumbass should have right then and there turn around, walk out, and come back another day. But I didn’t. Big mistake.

One of the guys servicing a bike was wearing blue surgical gloves and sprayed a mist of distilled water and rubbing alcohol onto the bike he was working on. Based on how he was carrying himself, I wondered if he even wanted to be there.

I tried to lighten the mood and even joke a bit. But that didn’t help. The situation just wasn’t a good one and no one was in a joking mood really. This was the first day after the shop shut down so, no, pretty clear that no one was feeling good about anything really.

I got passed around a bit and eventually got passed back to the sales manager. I’m not going to even go into what was said. Doesn’t matter really. In his own way, he called me out on why I was even there in the first place. I felt horrible. I walked out, got on my bike, and rode home. Along the way, I thought long and hard about what just happened.

This is a shop that is feeling the pain of some very hard decisions being made by the city as a result of the Coronavirus. The folks at my local shop are under a lot of stress. Tensions are high with tempers flaring. I don’t blame them at all for being upset with me.

There’s no excuse for going though. What I did was irresponsible and stupid. But seeing what my local bike shop is going through really hits home. And, honestly, it makes me sad. Even as I type this, it tears me up a bit. Hurts me just knowing that I contributed to the stress of someone else’s day. I don’t like causing others stress much less upsetting them.

As such, I took the time to reach out to the bike shop and apologized for my actions. Along with that, being that I work from home, I told them that if there’s absolutely anything I can do for them just let me know.

Strangely enough, I think I needed to go. I needed to see and feel how others are being effected by this. And now that I have, it makes me angry. I read and see news every day about what’s going on with this virus and all it does is make me mad. I know I’m not alone on this either. Many people are angry and hurting from this.

But, aside from all that, I’m also optimistic. Eventually, all of this will pass and life will return to something close to normalcy. The bike shop will resume normal business and bike riders will get back to riding with each other on group rides. Unfortunately, that day just can’t come soon enough.



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