one cyclist's adventures through the urban jungle

Tuesday, April 21, 2009

Ride Locally. Shop Glob...Locally?

An interesting set of articles and opinions regarding shopping at your LBS vs Online Retailers are popping up on the blogosphere at the moment. The argument has been had or will be had in every industry buy it online for cheap or locally for more, but (hopefully) get better service. Its a tough choice to make as a consumer - but, then again, why should it be hard for consumer?

I spread my bike related dollars out to some degree. Local shops get the majority of my money - I can walk in, they remember my name, know what I like, give me trustworthy advice and don't BS me. I'm lucky that there are plenty of LBSs in Vancouver and that I've found one (plus a few backups) that I can count on for goods.

I've bought some things online too. Generally I have researched the bejeepers out of said part online and found a good deal or some other perk that makes it make complete sense to buy from the Interwebs. I've yet to go to a physical shop, ask a pile of questions about doohickey X (and or Y) and then go buy it online. If I thought I was getting screwed on price at LBS, I'd see what wiggle room there was, but I wouldn't appreciate being kicked in the junk like that if I were the LBS. Sometimes buying things from the US, as a Canadian gives you the benefit of a favorable exchange or the ability to take advantage of lower prices due to better distributor pricing.

In Canada there exists a not-to-be-named group of active, outdoor stores that sell some cycling related gear. Tools, consumable type parts, clothing etc. I buy from them too, at least some bits anyways. Over the years they've made more things available to their members/customers, probably because they kept getting requests for more parts. Because of their size and business model the stores have some items for prices that I am sure are below wholesale cost to most shops. I don't go their for advice or for maintenance, but I'll go grab a few things that I don't need to be sold to me and continue on my way.

So-called brick and mortar stores of all types have a lot of hard work ahead of them - haven't they always? Be savvy, but try to get comfortable with some local shops. Chances are you need them more than your other options than you may realize. At the same time, appreciate that you have several choices. There is a balance to be had with relationships and value. The cost of something can be more than just the price.

Wednesday, April 08, 2009

New Route

On Sunday when Eileen and I were traipsing around the city - me trying to determine if the asthma was going do me in - we stumbled upon a new route for me to take to work. Ironically the route is really just an extension of the bike route that passes down our street! I've only taken it so far...until Sunday. I've been using it all week so far and it is pretty quiet. There's one spot where people seemed to be rather stunned, but its really only one block, better than the several blocks of the other route.
One of the bonuses of cycling to work (or anywhere) is the ality to mix up the route every now and then. For a year now I've missed an entire neighborhood, complete with sleepy streets. I wonder what else I am missing?

soundtrack 2009-04-08

Interesting mental playlist today.

Biohazard - Judgement Night
Biohazard - Tales fromt the Hard Side
Drive-By Truckers - Outfit

On the way home:
Jill Barber - For All Time

Tuesday, April 07, 2009

soundtrack - 2009-04-06,07

David Myles - When it Comes My Turn
...went to see Jill Barber on Saturday night. David Myles was the opening act. Phenomenal, both of them.


Last week I put the bike away and dealt with a allergy-related cold. For the first time in many years my asthma kicked in to gear to make the matters worse. I haven't needed to use my inhaler like that for, no-joke, 15 years.

Anyways I claim to be mostly through all of that. I still have a lingering cough and my sinuses still enjoy be clogged most of the time (that's typical for the spring) but my energy is up and I'm back on the bike.

On Sunday Eileen and I took a tour around the city for a few hours, I was hoping to ride the 100km Pacific Populaire this year but didn't want to push my luck. Dang.

As of yesterday I've recommenced riding to work, flinging snot rockets as I go. Today I was thanked by a guy on a recumbent for 'shoulder checking before unleashing', No problem.
Its been very sunny out the past few days - its great being able to get some much needed vitamin D.