Are Bike Shops “Essential Businesses?”
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    Are Bike Shops “Essential Businesses?”

    I got an email from PeopleForBikes asking me to contact my local elected officials and push for bike shops to be labeled “essential businesses” so they could stay open during the lockdown. But are they? I get that many people rely solely on bikes for transportation, especially when public transit is closed or unsafe. But you can pretty much order any part or accessory online. As for repairs, If you rely solely on your bike, wouldn’t you be able to repair it yourself? Maybe bike shops could do some sort of contactless dropoff service for repairs?


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    Just like cars, lots of riders have no clue how to repair their own bikes. I'm always shocked on group rides how many serious cyclists can't even change a tube to fix a flat tire. Just go in a shop and look at how many high dollar bikes are in for a lube job or a simple tune-up and cable adjustment.

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    Here in PA they're labeled 'Essential' for maintenance and repairs. My wife has a friend who owns a LBS and they are busy as hell with work.
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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    I got an email from PeopleForBikes asking me to contact my local elected officials and push for bike shops to be labeled “essential businesses” so they could stay open during the lockdown. But are they? I get that many people rely solely on bikes for transportation, especially when public transit is closed or unsafe. But you can pretty much order any part or accessory online. As for repairs, If you rely solely on your bike, wouldn’t you be able to repair it yourself? Maybe bike shops could do some sort of contactless dropoff service for repairs?


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    There seem to be quite a few businesses that are deemed essential that maybe shouldn't be. Here in New Jersey bike shops can only be open for repairs. If we are going to do this lock-down, I say we need to make it count

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    Quote Originally Posted by steelbikerider View Post
    Just like cars, lots of riders have no clue how to repair their own bikes. I'm always shocked on group rides how many serious cyclists can't even change a tube to fix a flat tire. Just go in a shop and look at how many high dollar bikes are in for a lube job or a simple tune-up and cable adjustment.
    I been on many group rides where someone gets a flat and they just sort of wait around for someone to fix it for them. Some don't even bother to carry a tube and pump. I am willing to help once but repeat offenders should be left behind to reflect on that

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    Quote Originally Posted by TiCoyote View Post
    As for repairs, If you rely solely on your bike, wouldn’t you be able to repair it yourself?
    I realize you might not rely solely on your bike but a quick review of your own posting history might provide an answer.

    I also realize you are asking so many questions for the purpose of doing it yourself but I'd think you might understand the person using a bike for essential transportation would rather just having it taken care of by a pro rather than dick around on a web site waiting for help.

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    If auto repair businesses are deemed essential, then bicycle repair businesses should be too. Along the same lines, if gas stations are deemed essential, then so should coffee shops. I mean, hey, you have to be able to refuel, right?
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    Quote Originally Posted by AlanE View Post
    If auto repair businesses are deemed essential, then bicycle repair businesses should be too. Along the same lines, if gas stations are deemed essential, then so should coffee shops. I mean, hey, you have to be able to refuel, right?
    I know you're joking and stores with food and coffee remain open but on a serious note I think cyclist, for now, should carry everything they need from home. I don't know if sweat is actually dangerous and obviously I would not be riding if I know I had it I'm not taking any chances going into stores. I live in a crowded city. Really not a good assumption I don't have it just because I feel good.
    I want for a ride Saturday and it was cold so naturally my nose was running like a first hose.....not cool to go into a store.

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    Here in Wisconsin bike stores have been deemed essential (think Madison which is a heavy bike commuter city). Our sole LBS's owner sent out an email last week that despite being "essential" that he was closing the shop for a month for the safety of his employees and their families, and the public. He said that in 2 weeks the shop will be available for emergency repairs by appt. He is also paying his employees during the closure. He rides and he's a genuinely nice guy. More power to him.

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    Quote Originally Posted by Jay Strongbow View Post
    I know you're joking and stores with food and coffee remain open but on a serious note I think cyclist, for now, should carry everything they need from home. I don't know if sweat is actually dangerous and obviously I would not be riding if I know I had it I'm not taking any chances going into stores. I live in a crowded city. Really not a good assumption I don't have it just because I feel good.
    I want for a ride Saturday and it was cold so naturally my nose was running like a first hose.....not cool to go into a store.
    I was thinking the same thing. Normally I depend on convenience stores and General stores for water and food rest stops but I am re-thinking that approach. In the short term I plan to stay solo

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    Quote Originally Posted by DaveG View Post
    There seem to be quite a few businesses that are deemed essential that maybe shouldn't be. Here in New Jersey bike shops can only be open for repairs. If we are going to do this lock-down, I say we need to make it count
    There's "open" and then there's "open".

    My LBS here in Nebraska is barely "open". No browsing allowed, no customers in the shop, they only take drop-off work by appointment. They'll do sales, but only over the phone or by email; prepay and then pick up.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    There's "open" and then there's "open".

    My LBS here in Nebraska is barely "open". No browsing allowed, no customers in the shop, they only take drop-off work by appointment. They'll do sales, but only over the phone or by email; prepay and then pick up.
    That's what we're doing in Tennessee.

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    Bike shops in Washington state are considered essential, but like others, they are not open for browsing. They have maintenance staff in the shop, but you have to schedule an appointment to meet them.

    An interesting side note. "Construction" is only considered essential if it's government funded work. The Sound Transit Light Rail project work is proceeding as usual as is the new NHL Hockey Arena in Seattle Center. However, private construction (commercial and residential) is not considered essential and those companies not complying will be (potentially) fined. I have some family friends in the construction and construction vehicle business who aren't working because they work on private projects, and they are mostly not happy about the situation (assuming that if it's safe enough for Govt construction, it's safe enough for private construction).


    Sadly, I think that there is no teeth behind the "order", and ultimately those "non-essential" companies that choose not to shut down would ultimately win in court in the eventual lawsuits that will tie up the court systems for many years to come.

    When Gov inslee announced the 'stay at home - stay safe' order, one of the first questions asked of him was 'how will you enforce this?'. Bottom line is, he can't. The police can't and won't do anything, and have made it very clear not to call them (or 911) to report violations of the 'order'. There is a phone number and email address being given out to report violations to the county, but I doubt much will come of it. Inslee basically said the enforcement will be the guilt of having potentially killed (yours or someone elses) grandma and grandpa (paraphrased obviously).

    I think most businesses are primarily obliging out concern for the safety of their customers and employees. There is also the liability concern if their employees or customers get sick.

    I wen't to Home Depot today because I have a toilet leaking and needed a new valve and hose so I can turn my water back on. You wouldn't even know anything was going on other than the occasional barely intelligible announcement over the PA system to be safe, don't cought or sneeze on anyone, and maintain a safe distance from other customers and staff. Hardly anyone there was wearing gloves, etc....

    Costco on the other-hand has made some significant changes. They are only allowing a certain number of people in the store at a time to prevent queues at the registers. They are aggressively cleaning shopping cart handles, and wiping down the POS systems after each customer, and have someone herding customers into the register lines.

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    I don't know the letter of the law in Mass but shops are open and below is a cut/paste from one of their websites. Seems like a sensible approach.


    "With the Covid-19 virus pandemic going on, we want to do our part in keeping our customers and ourselves safe. We will be changing our operating hours to Tuesday-Saturday 12pm-5-pm for pickup and drop-off only. We will also only be allowing one customer in the store at a time. You can book an appointment below or please call before you plan on stopping by. Thank you and stay safe!"

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    Quote Originally Posted by Marc View Post
    There's "open" and then there's "open".

    My LBS here in Nebraska is barely "open". No browsing allowed, no customers in the shop, they only take drop-off work by appointment. They'll do sales, but only over the phone or by email; prepay and then pick up.
    Makes sense. This is probably how all retail should function right now. Not ideal, but a good compromise.

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    Our LBS is a small-time business, and are considered "essential" because they repair bikes, which some people use as their primary form of transportation.
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    Quote Originally Posted by robc in wi View Post
    Here in Wisconsin bike stores have been deemed essential (think Madison which is a heavy bike commuter city).
    Liquor stores are also on the essential list here in WI I'm not understanding why unless people might die w/o their alcohol?

    Because everyone is locked-in for the most part, some people are buying/ordering bicycles right now so they can get some exercise while still "physically distancing" themselves. My LBS is technically open, but for the most part is just assembling ordered bikes (a lot of electric bikes) because there isn't really anyone coming in the door. I'm glad they're allowed to stay open as it's already a tough economy for them to begin with.

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    hmmm.
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    My primary LBS is actually in the next town over (about 15 miles away), so technically I shouldn't go there. I've been ordering supplies and a couple of high-margin items via mail order to throw them some $. They just moved to online-pay pickup-at-curb model yesterday and are open for maintenance by appointment I believe. I suspect that as this drags on cycling is going to become a lot more popular as people find it an easier way to get out and exercise than running. Lots of wall decorations going to come down and be overhauled in bike shops in the coming days. Good for all of us; more $ to LBSs.
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    Quote Originally Posted by PoorInRichfield View Post
    Liquor stores are also on the essential list here in WI I'm not understanding why unless people might die w/o their alcohol?

    Because everyone is locked-in for the most part, some people are buying/ordering bicycles right now so they can get some exercise while still "physically distancing" themselves. My LBS is technically open, but for the most part is just assembling ordered bikes (a lot of electric bikes) because there isn't really anyone coming in the door. I'm glad they're allowed to stay open as it's already a tough economy for them to begin with.
    One can certainly argue that alcohol is not essential to sustain life. But, these are stressful times and people are drinking more. According to Statista sales of wine and spirits are up 27%. I think the US has one big data point of what would happen if the booze supply was ended. That would create a worse problem.

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    Here in Wisconsin if everything shuts down it would be bad. The National Guard would probably have to hand out beer, cheese, and bratwurst less the populace revolts.
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    Quote Originally Posted by velodog View Post


    hmmm.

    Exactly.

    Stephen uses a screwdriver as a tire iron?!?
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    Quote Originally Posted by xxl View Post
    Exactly.

    Stephen uses a screwdriver as a tire iron?!?
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    Quote Originally Posted by ogre View Post
    That's what we're doing in Tennessee.
    Same exact situation here in Sewanee, Tn. For now it beats the hell out of closed.

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    Quote Originally Posted by steelbikerider View Post
    Just like cars, lots of riders have no clue how to repair their own bikes. I'm always shocked on group rides how many serious cyclists can't even change a tube to fix a flat tire. Just go in a shop and look at how many high dollar bikes are in for a lube job or a simple tune-up and cable adjustment.

    To be fair, many of us (I have a GIANT Defy Advanced Pro 0 DI2) with expensive bikes do know how to work on them, but choose to support our LBS to, well, support them, as well as convenience. But yet at the same time, I do see people in expensive kit and bikes, and ride like no tomorrow.. who cannot change a tire or tube... so you get a partial point

    I am not partial though, like others, I am not only a customer, but also friends with the owners and staff. I do think they should be considered essential, because right now, the only thing keeping some people from going batshit crazy and murdering their entire family, is being able to get out and ride solo.. it's week 3 now for me.. and things have gotten pretty damn dicey in the house.. tensions are flaring.. and I'm about to dig a grave.. we are not sure just yet whether its for my body or my 7 year old who may not survive the week....

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