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Big Up For The Small Independent Bike Shop!

stevewheelstevewheel Posts: 32
edited March 2008 in Road beginners
I feel I have to give a mention to Bakers Bikes (aka Abel Baker) of Bishops Stortford in Hertfordshire. A nasty rear wheel "wobble" and suspicious noise from the bottom bracket on my "winterised" Trek saw me "limp" into their workshop the day before I needed to use the bike in an Audax event. I explained the situation to Chris (the owner) who asked me to leave the bike with them and they would do their best. Bakers are both respected wheel builders and a bike retailers and seem always to be stacked out with work. Given my predicament and tight deadline I wasn't holding out too much hope. Just as I was working out a plan B (beg, borrow but not steal another Audax bike at short notice!) I got a call from Chris. He had looked over the bike, confirmed my diagnosis (albeit a bit more scientifically) and was clearing a space in the schedule to do the work in time for me to take part in the event. Later that same day I returned to pick up a fully fettled and restored Trek (that rode like new) and was faced with a very reasonable bill for parts and labour. I was also given a good look over the old parts with a detailed explanation of what the problems had been. (probably in the vain hope that I might look after my poor bike a little better in the future!)
Internet based sellers, mail order? I have nothing against you guys but I don't think you can beat old fashioned good personal service. The fact that at Bakers it comes on the back of very competitive prices and healthy doses of good advice I think makes it something really special. Long may they and other independents continue and I hope, prosper. I should just add in case anyone was wondering that I have absolutely no connection with Bakers Bikes other than being a satisfied customer. :)


  • jenster88jenster88 Posts: 27
    Just had the same experience at my lbs, brought my bike of the internet and it was delivered last week. After taking it out the box,I found that wheels, bars, brakes,seat post and saddle required fitting not to much of a problem I thought. 2Hrs later the bike was ready for a test ride :) 200m up the road I found the gears were completly out of sync. Not to clued up on setting up gears I went to Senacre Cycles in Maidstone for some much needed help, Walked in and the bike was taken off me to the workshop. Not only was the gears out, the brakes that only needed the cables tighted by myself, he told me that they was not even lined up with the rim properly,something he said should have been done by manufactures. A couple of tweeks later he had done gears,brakes and even re-taped the bars that I had "attempted" to put on.
    I Cannot Big-Up this shop enough
  • giant_mangiant_man Posts: 6,890
    I know Chris at Abel Baker and you are right, a real good bloke he is. Your story doesn't surprise me, glad you got good service there. His mechanic is good too.
  • synchronicitysynchronicity Posts: 1,415
    I have to say the same thing about the service of a lbs, which internet mail order will never replace.

    Here in Tenerife, there isn't much choice. Obviously there are no mail order places, so it takes weeks (sometimes months) for an order to come through.

    Once or twice I've been down to my lbs shop, rock up at 4pm with a partially completed frame, and if they're in a good mood they'll have a finished bike by their 9pm closing time. and they don't charge me for the assembly. They always greet me with a smile & are always honest about the stuff they sell. That's service for yas.

    In return, I buy pretty much all my stuff in there now (apart from the last lot of framesets), and the prices are quite competive when you take into account shipping and possible customs tax.

    All I can say is that when you eventually find a shop like that, stick to it.
  • nickcuknickcuk Posts: 275
    Morreys have a great section for bikes including a workshop with Congleton CC rider Andy who doesn't know his own worth ! Forget Mondays and Wednesday afternoons though, even though though the other two guys are helpful ;-)
  • doobie919doobie919 Posts: 119
    It's all about the local bike shops man.

    Great write up. I'm in the process of getting to know my local bike shop as we speak, dropped in a few times since we've been here.

    Back in the states the mechanics at the top of the line shop were people I rode with, so I always got discounts there.
    2007 Fuji Newest 3.0.
    Cateye Velo 5 Computer

    2009 Mongoose Subject BMX
    Sky blue tires
    New seatpost and seat ( made by pivotal)
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