When Richard Boothman’s motorcycle turned into stolen in 2014, it seemed like the universe became extending him a possibility.
Then fifty-nine years old, Boothman had simplest just rediscovered the pleasure of biking. In regulation college, he’d ridden swish steel, lugged Schwinn Le Tour avenue motorbike. But after he started his own family, biking fell through the wayside. Old high college soccer injuries led to orthopedic surgeries, which caused received weight. After the kids left for college, even though Boothman started out eating better, exercising greater, he shed a few pounds. He concept approximately biking once more.
His wife sold him a Trek Navigator—an aluminum consolation motorcycle with bubbly 26-inch wheels. “It changed into a barge,” he says. “It felt like it weighed 30 or 40 pounds.” But Boothman used it to commute to paintings and fell in love with being in the fresh air. When the Navigator became stolen, it turned into excellent timing. He has thought he might deserve a nicer bike besides. He set aside $1,000—more money than he’d ever imagined spending on a bike. He becomes excited.
But then he commenced visiting bike stores. Five-foot-ten and (on time) about 250 pounds, Boothman felt what he describes as “a specific snob factor” while he walked into the first few stores near his domestic in Ann Arbor, Michigan. “It changed into clear once I walked thru the door that I changed into being typecast,” he says. Though he desired something sportier, salespeople stored directing him closer to other consolation bikes, even seeking to push him again onto a Trek Navigator.
One enjoy stood out mainly. A salesman, who turned into visibly irritated to ought to get a ladder and pull down the handiest comfort bike in the store from the ceiling rack, started regarding Boothman as “Clyde”: “Hey Clyde,” he said, “why don’t you sign this release in your take a look at the ride?”
“I notion it became kinda strange. However, I didn’t think lots of it,” Boothman remembers. “About a yr later, I discovered humans of my size are referred to as Clydesdales.”
Boothman encountered a discouraging remedy in nearly each of the stores he visited earlier than he walked into Great Lakes Cycling and talked to proprietor Oscar Bustos. “In 40 mins, I discovered more approximately motorcycles from Oscar than I did from the six shops I’d visited previous to that,” he says. He ended up buying a $1, one hundred Cannondale Quick and saved progressing his using. By 2016, he became ready to address larger rides. He sold a carbon Cannondale Synapse with Ultegra Di2. And of direction, he bought it from Great Lakes Cycling.
“I Was Treated As If I Had No Right to Enjoy Cycling”
Richard Boothman discovered a motorbike save that treated him with recognize. But unluckily, the studies he had alongside the way are all too not unusual. Unprofessionalism, poor customer service, and sexist and elitist remedy in motorbike shops have been properly documented on Yelp opinions, in articles, and on social media.
In January, BICYCLING surveyed rider experiences in motorbike shops to gauge the quantity of the problem. Sixty percent of 718 respondents say they’ve had at the least one bad revel in with a bike save worker that made them sense unwelcome. Thirty-eight percentage say this has taken place extra than as soon as, or “often.”
General condescension or snobbery was the most normally stated behavior: “The bike store employees…Made me sense stupid for now not being a professional,” stated one respondent. Another said, “Shop personnel tends to socialize with recognized clients. Until you’ve been to the shop some instances and made purchases, the personnel tend to disregard you.” Other feedback included being pressured into purchases or feeling down upon for having less expensive motorcycles or being novices.