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  1.  
    I ran across the below text on a blog yesterday. There were a lot comments from people who agreed. #1 and #2 are obviouslly beyond obnoxious. However, I am curious as to how some ya'll feel about #3 in regards to Boston area shops. I guess guys can answer, too. I wouldn't want to be sexist. ;)

    ____________
    So! As a female bike mechanic working at a community shop, I see this shit (these are two very particular examples of bigger annoyances):

    1. A nice heterosexual couple comes into my shop with a bike. They want the bike fixed. The bike is the girlfriend's bike. Boyfriend doesn't let girlfriend get a word in edgewise about what's going on with the bike - HE tells me what's wrong, what she uses it for, what she wants, what her concerns are, and interrupts or talks over his girlfriend when she tries to have input. In fact, when I pointedly ask the woman directly what she wants, he butts in! when I say, "I'm just going to ASK HER what she needs", he doesn't get it. I think that that may just be the relationship dynamic that some people have, but it's really, really frustrating to deal with. Let the woman talk, already. It's HER bike.

    2. "It doesn't need to be perfect/have good components/work very well/look good/etc. - it's just my girlfriend's bike. DUDES. I HATE THIS. It's okay of your girlfriend honestly doesn't give a shit or doesn't want to spend much money, but you make me think you are a TOOL when you phrase it so poorly. Women NEVER say "it's just my boyfriend's bike" - and a LOT of them come in to work on and fix up their bf's bikes, by the way, and put a lot of care into it - so y'all have no excuse. And are you honestly telling me that you don't care whether or not the bike being ridden by someone you care about is safe, light, efficient, comfortable, functional, or enjoyable to use? Shame!

    3. ALSO - a lot of women I know find bike shops to be terrifying, and won't go to them without backup from a male friend, family member, partner, etc. Yes, bike mechanics are a rude and surly bunch, but something's going on where women feel WAY less welcome and comfortable in these spaces than men do... I could go on and on about the reasons, but I'm not gonna today. So do me and all the women in your life a favour, and when a lady comes in to your shop, smile! say hi! explain things a little! treat her nicely, 'cause chances are she's taking a huge risk just by coming in!All you white kids look alike when you're still covered in baby fat, so I was getting bored with the non-stop WASP parade.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMorgie
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    chr|s sedition:WHEN ANYONE comes in to your shop, smile! say hi! explain things a little! treat THEM nicely


    Fixed....


    seriously though I haven't been in to a shop in Boston that doesn't need a refresher in this lil lesson.. maybe I'm just use to southern hospitality.
  2.  
    ^ HAHAH! nice edit!All you white kids look alike when you're still covered in baby fat, so I was getting bored with the non-stop WASP parade.
    • CommentAuthorbluedog
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008 edited
     
    Having worked in a fairly large bike shop that had an almost entirely male staff, in reflection I think we may have often given women better service than men. And granted the extent that that happened may have had a lot to do with whether or not they were attractive (which may just be part of the problem, maybe we too obviously often had our tongues hanging out), but I think we were still generally more interested in talking to women than men.

    I'd be curious to know if the women on the forum are more comfortable going to larger shops than smaller, because, at least in my experience, folks in larger shops tend to be more outgoing on average (or at least less surly).that's when I reach for my revovler...
  3.  
    i thought this was going to be "any of you single and like guys who are assholes?"

    i'm assuming the above posted deals with the average female who walks into a bike shop (though in all fairness, the average male may walk in completely clueless), and not the female who is a competitive racer and knows exactly what she wants. this probably also reflects upon the customers' relationship, one where the male need to assert his dominance on the smallest possible scale.
  4.  
    i haven't had any problems at any of the bike shops i've been to in boston. the mechanics aren't scary.

    i would say i go to bike shops 50% with my boyfriend and 50% alone.... usually i tag along with him or he tags along with me because we both want to look at something or are both nearby
    • CommentAuthorMcDonald
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    I'm glad you asked.

    I (a female) have taken a number of my bikes to different shops in Boston, and prefer to do most repairs and maintenance at home. For anything else, I go to Revolution in JP because Ben is awesome and always takes care of me.

    I have to say that when you say things like "explain things a little", it can be taken the wrong way. By far the worst offense by male bike shop employees are that they tend to overcompensate for females, they baby you and assume you don't know your bike from a doorknob. I don't want to be the girl who came in to the shop, I want to be a customer same as Joe Six Pack. In the age of "super" customer service, sometimes I can't even get my foot in the door before I'm asked if I need any help or asked if they can help show me to what I came in for. A greeting is nice, but sometimes a girl just wants to come in and pick up her basic tubes and a tire on the down low, without getting a complete once over of every part you carry in the store and it's respective use. Especially if a girl doesn't go to the bike shop often, that browsing/shopping look in our eyes can be mistaken for being lost or not knowing what we need. Treat us like you would any customer, ask if we need help (once!), and then back off after questions answered and help served. And when we walk away, don't stare at our ass.
    • CommentAuthor.
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    Being one of the 3 or 4 BFG girls, I thought Id give my thoughts on this...
    Ive never had a problem at a shop. Maybe cause I know most of the shops around here.
    There is a cockiness that some of the workers like to give but they're not worth the time to pay attention to
  5.  
    kirstencupcake:Being one of the 3 or 4 BFG girls


    i reckon there are just a few more than that.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMorgie
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008 edited
     
    kilgore_trout:
    kirstencupcake:Being one of the 3 or 4 BFG girls


    i reckon there are just a few more than that.



    their is a misunderstanding going on here that has to do with differing definitions/understandings of what BFG stands for..


    to gary - bostonfixedgear
    to kirsten - best friends group
  6.  
    bostonfixedgear?
    •  
      CommentAuthorMorgie
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    see..
    • CommentAuthorMcDonald
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    Morgie:
    kilgore_trout:
    kirstencupcake:Being one of the 3 or 4 BFG girls


    i reckon there are just a few more than that.



    their is a misunderstanding going on here that has to do with differing definitions/understandings of what BFG stands for..


    to gary - bostonfixedgear
    to kirsten - best friends group



    Ha Ha Yes!

    There are a bunch of girls registered on this board, a huge amount of girls who are SS/FG (Single Speed/Fixed Gear for clarity) riders who know about this board and choose not to use it, or that read the board occasionally but don't necessarily hang out with everybody on the board, etc.

    Back on topic, I didn't meant to come off as saying that the local shops are not dealing well with female customers, only to suggest that there can be issues that come up. It as much a reason for girls to research before buying, go in with a little knowledge and no shame in asking for help as it is the shop to deal with them with respect.
    •  
      CommentAuthorMr. Shelby
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    kilgore_trout:i'm assuming the above posted deals with the average female who walks into a bike shop (though in all fairness, the average male may walk in completely clueless), and not the female who is a competitive racer and knows exactly what she wants.

    the "average male," 9 times out of 10 is probably more than completely clueless, though normally will not admit it.
    competitive racers are not all that much better either. i have dealt with some that can't even change a tube, and one who had no clue he was riding tubulars.
    • CommentAuthorMcDonald
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    I'd say that the average biker in Boston is a college student who picked up some <$100 bike off Craigslist to get around their campus. A lot of these people ride on sidewalks, leave their bikes outside for days, weeks, or even months, etc. On top of that, they may not know much about the parts on their bike or how to fix a flat etc. Males and females alike, this is your audience a lot of the time, but like any customer service job it is your job to work around that and provide them service.

    I think for the most part (and there always exceptions), people who get into a more specified type of riding be it SS/FG or Cross or whatever, know more and more about their bikes and their components. That being said, because the trend train came through SS/FG town, there are a growing number of riders on track bikes with no brakes that can't change a flat in less than 10 minutes (or at all), couldn't tell you about any other type of bike, but who are the first to grab matching top tube protectors, Velocity rims, and a hip pouch.
    •  
      CommentAuthorOhHeather
    • CommentTimeOct 4th 2008
     
    i've only had a negative experience with one worker in a bike shop in boston, but it had nothing to do with me being a girl. apparently the guy is a non-discriminating semi douchebag.
    • CommentAuthormindchalk
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2008
     
    i was in a local shop, watched a girl come in looking for a front brake setup and a pair of toe clips. a 100$ estimate and a "come back tomorrow" were given. sometimes "helpful" isn't the right word for how some shops treat customers, especially customers they feel don't know better. i will have to agree with mcdonald though:

    McDonald: I go to Revolution in JP because Ben is awesome and always takes care of me
    out of true.
  7.  
    i've been a clueless girl many times before, and have not had any problem with bike shops. but honestly, if they do give you a problem, just leave and try a different shop (although this is a lot easier in boston, than in a smaller town). ultimately they are service based, and they will suffer if they keep treating customers poorly and the customers just leave.
    • CommentAuthorPugatch
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2008
     
    I haven't seen guys do that to girls. I have seen dads do it to their kids or wives and my dad does it to me still and im 27...

    I see more women than guys come in alone all the time

    We are trained to ask if we can help you regardless of age, sex, bike you have, etc. I know a spandex clad roadie can grab some tubes from the shelf but its being that annoying helpful friendly salesperson that makes me grab them for you since I am closer. Would't it be rude to say "they are over there go get them yoursel

    As far as come back tomorrow.. I didn't understand until I worked in a shop that shops are almost always booked a week out no matter what and try to do small jbs when they can. I remember being mad cause Cambridge told me to wrap my bars I'd have to make an appointment and come back in a week. This was July 2007. Now I understand why.

    It doesn't matter what kind of store it is, the people who work there are told to constantly ask w hat you need. I am in the middle of truing a wheel, a customer comes in and is looking around hasn't talked to anyone, and my manager tells me to go see what they need. It happens 100x a day.Think of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world
  8.  
    I don't feel like I have had any bad experiences, maybe because I know most people at Cambridge (so thats where I go). But when I first got my bike a year ago (and didn't know anyone) I was fine at Boston Bikes. And I went in Broadway the other day and the guy who helped me (not Pugatch) was really nice. So I guess I feel comfortable going into shops. My only issue is non-girl related: I know nada about bikes and when I am trying to buy a new part for whatever reason, people have trouble breaking it down for me.YO NOT EVERYBODY GOES TO EAR SCHOOL OK
    •  
      CommentAuthorLHtrustme
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2008
     
    I've worked in two shops and we always went out of our way to be nicer to women. well, mostly attractive young ones...but sometimes older ones would tip you which guys don't do.

    however, having to do with shops in Boston, I've never been into one where the workers are nice.no one gets a shovel at this shit party!
    • CommentAuthorPugatch
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2008
     
    Maybe people don't know to tip your bike mechanic...

    I got a $6 tip for doing a flat the other day from a guyThink of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world
    •  
      CommentAuthorMorgie
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2008
     
    Pugatch is 49x18:Maybe people don't know to tip your bike mechanic...


    "know to tip you mechanic" i think is a little strong, "know when/how to tip your mechanic" is a little better.

    I think in most cases mechanics don't/shouldn't get tipped.. a tip for a mechanic is a special occasion type of thing that is appropriate when a mechanic does something special or goes outta their way. Not like a waiter who should always be tipped even in a a normal non stellar occasion.
  9.  
    Is this a thread of questions for Big Fat Gay Ladies?Jockin' Mike D. to my dismay!
  10.  
    ^yes
    • CommentAuthorlissaandy
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2008
     
    I love the bike shop. I have never experienced this kind of discrimination anywhere, and if ever I have been met with a "rude and surly" attitude, I didn't assume it was because of my gender, but rather just assumed that person was a douchebag in general. I wouldn't want some condescending faux-chivalrous act to be put on for me when I go there either.fuck art, let's ride bikes
  11.  
    iPhone Punk:Big Fat Gay Ladies?


    Those are called "Jamacia Plain Lesbians." Although, the "lady" portion may be questionable to some of them.All you white kids look alike when you're still covered in baby fat, so I was getting bored with the non-stop WASP parade.
    • CommentAuthorPugatch
    • CommentTimeOct 5th 2008
     
    Morgie:"know to tip you mechanic" i think is a little strong, "know when/how to tip your mechanic" is a little better.


    Well that is what I meant.

    An average day the shop gets (and spilts between 6 people) 10-30 dollars in tips

    Depending on can we do something for you now that normally you'd have to make an appointment, or we saved you money but selling you not what you wanted but suits your needs and costs less and doesnt sacrifice quality, or did a quick brake or gear adjustment/adjust seatpost, etc for free then the shop has made as much as $80 a day in tips then split between 6 peopleThink of bicycles as rideable art that can just about save the world
    •  
      CommentAuthordeadbolt
    • CommentTimeOct 6th 2008 edited
     
    even though the topic's been answered in the way that i would answer, i'm gonna add my 2cents anyway.

    1) from what i can remember i've never had a problem at a bike shop. the problems/sass i've had with bike dudes usually occurs OUTSIDE the shop with dudes who think they're mechanics and they know everything about eeeeeverything. whether they do or not it doesn't matter to me at that point, my eardrums turn off and i don't listen anymore.

    2) i don't think i've received any less than excellent service from the bigger shops compared to the smaller shops or visa versa. the mechanics and sales people who work at the shops in the greater Boston area all impress me and make me feel human and i don't think that has anything to do with them knowing me IRL or whether or not i'm alone.

    3) my boyfriend's not an asshole and would never talk over me unless i was having an issue expressing my thoughts/needs so that takes care of that,.

    4) BFG stands for anything from "BostonFixedGear" to "the Best Friend Group ever FTW!" to "the Big Friendly Giant" so there can be a bit of confusion with abbreviations, don't hate on people. we're all pals here, right?

    oh PS i like Cambridge Bikes cause they sell me the parts i need in a friendly/timely fashion and then let me put it on or fix it myself if i want to. i like that since it gives me a bit of practice for when the shop's closed and i need to make do.Mattia: "I don''t usually watch porn with pickaxe, but when I do it, I make sure to be on the right website"
  12.  
    I completely agree with the blog post, and try my best to defy the statistic, but sometimes fail to.

    My advice for someone who doesn't want to invest thousands of dollars (and hours) into a home shop is to develop a relationship with a bike shop. Male of female, most mechanics will treat you like a tool until they get to know you, and once they do, you well get much better service.

    You see, mechanics who are rude are simply protecting their fragile lil' hearts, which get broken daily by customers who have no idea how sweet their ride is, and that it should be loved. Also, most customers don't want to hear sound advice, and are tools.

    Speaking as a bike-dude (who thinks himself knowledgeable), I do my best to invest in the scene by building bike people from scratch rather than attempt to walk the fine line between being helpful and treating someone like an idiot.

    I would like to think I'm equally contemptuous of men and women.

    -Robot[all your base are belong to us]
  13.  
    Robot, we were talking about big fat gay ladies, okay? Thanks!Jockin' Mike D. to my dismay!
  14.  
    ^Sorry, I'm only semi-literate.[all your base are belong to us]