What is it with bike shop guys?

I’m still seething…or am I?

I still can’t work out whether I’m angry or have been reduced yet again to being a stupid woman in a bike shop who knows nothing.

What is it with these bike shop guys who just make that instant assumption that I’m an idiot and know nothing about bikes, or riding, or in fact anything at all that requires even the tiniest amount of technical know how – like how to take my water bottle from the cage and drink, while heaven forbid, I’m riding at the same time! (It’s called multi-tasking I believe).

So I walk into the bike shop, one I wouldn’t normally go to, and wander around checking out the bike candy…nice gear I think to myself. I didn’t want to be too conspicuous because frankly I was just there to get one thing, on the off chance they’d have it…but oh the distractions of pretty bikes. The Dura-Ace on the carbon frame, glowing yellow bar tape, and the beautiful matt black underbelly of the frame…..STOP!!! This is NOT what I went into the shop for.

So, back on track I make my way to the wall display of bottle cages where I search out any side-loading ones suitable for a small frame. Not much there; just rubbish I wouldn’t put on my bike in a pink fit (or is the pink fit what happened when I got the bike?). On inquiry as to whether or not there were any other side loading cages I was given THAT look.

Yes THAT look that instantly says to me ‘you’re a girl, you’ve got no idea what you want and someone told you that you need this but in fact you need a pretty plastic basket on your bike with some flowers on it” look.

I stood there waiting for the answer I was hoping for, “yes sure, we have some other higher quality ones here that aren’t in the bargain bin and they might be what you’re after.” But no, I just got THAT look…and then the pause, and then the question. I just love that pause, as they draw breath, a slight roll back of the eyes and raising of the eyebrows, arms fold across the chest.

“Why do you want a side loading cage, we don’t stock them because no-one ever wants them.”

“Well, I need it so I can fit two bottle cages on my small frame.”

“Why do you want two bottle cages, why don’t you just get a drink bladder. That’s must safer because you can’t drink safely and ride at the same time. If you’re going on the road and you want a drink it’s much better to use a bladder in a backpack, they’re called a Camelback by the way, and then you can sip whenever you want. It also means that if there are people around you and you need to drink you won’t get all unsteady and wobble into them…what size would you like”

“No, I really want the side loading cages. It will be much better.”

“You don’t need them. Have you ever tried to drink while you’re riding. Its something most girls don’t like doing. Ha, even us fellas have a bit of trouble sometimes.”

So with that comment I just wanted to say “Fella, you couldn’t even drink and think at the same time, let alone ride a bike at the same time…d%$K!!!”

“Where do you ride love, do you commute?”

“No, I teach cycling to others…I’m a coach”

“Yeah well, anyway, if you’re putting them on your hybrid you just won’t need them…”

On that note I politely said thank you before I ran the risk of ramming the nearest Shimano crank up the his Khyber Pass. My blood was boiling and I walked away…why the hell didn’t I stand there and ask him why he assumed I knew nothing about riding? Because I also knew that people like him are not worth wasting my time with.

What is it with these guys who instantly assume that any woman who enters their bike shop knows nothing. And even if it seems we do know something, he still knows better. I am perplexed as to why he thinks he has the right to treat women in such a condescending manner, or make assumptions about what I know or what I ride.

I may not look like an Olympian, and I certainly can’t ride like one. And I may not be the skinniest or the fittest looking cyclist who has ever walked into his store. And I may not be the world expert on group sets and chain-ring ratios. But how dare you mister make an assumption that you know better, worse still, why the hell didn’t you just listen to what I wanted instead of telling me your stinking sexist opinion.

I guess I won’t be going back there again.

PS. I’d like it noted this was NOT at my usual bike shop!


I’ve now got one side loading cage…I can fit two of these. They’re just for decoration of course because I’d never be able to drink while I’m actually riding would I?

6 thoughts on “What is it with bike shop guys?”

  1. You should name the business. The best way to get the point across that this attitude is unacceptable is to have their bottom line impacted on. I’d be happy to pop in and spend 15 minutes talking up the new carbon framed sprint bike I need to buy at full retail price before advising them I don’t buy from misogynists.

  2. Luckily the local shop guys in my ‘hood aren’t such jerks like this dude you ran into! 🙂 I’ve ran into jerks like that on the road sometimes, though. One of them insisted that my perfectly calibrated seat was too low (and that I was a “rookie” for not realizing it). Luckily most of them can’t climb worth a dime and I get to indulge on some revenge sprinting pass them on the way to the top. 😀

  3. I think a carrot-and-stick approach is best in these situations; make sure the shop knows they’re losing your business and why, and shop at a women-friendly shop instead. ‘Half the population’ is a pretty big demographic to ignore, so go to somewhere that ‘gets’ that women want to be treated with respect (don’t we all?) when exchanging goods and services for hard-earned.

    BikeGal.com did a survey and handed out awards for women-friendly Sydney bike shops recently: http://bikegal.com/get-on-yer-bike/good-sydney-bike-shops/

  4. This is not a female thing IMO. Bike shop staff tend to sell you what they have rather than what you ask for. And they never pitch at the right level for your knowledge….

  5. I walked into a shop not so long ago and found 3 blokes sitting around laughing. When I walked in, I felt like I had 3 heads with the look they gave me. I was egnored completely until I asked for the item that i had come in to purchase. Through out my visit to the shop I was made to feel very uncomfortable as though I shouldnt be there.
    On the other hand I recently bought some new bib and brace and was delighted to have not one but two ladies working in the shop, they helped me get a dozen pairs of knicks and left me to get on with it! They asked me where I ride and we had a great chat. will definately return there!

  6. I am so glad my local bike shop is not like that. I am a newbie who really can’t pull my bottle and drink on the fly…yet! If this shop would have been my first experience with biking I would have moved on to another thing to enjoy life and it is sad to think of what I would be missing out on. They would be getting an on-line review from me for sure! By the way, I love my side loading cages! One of them can be adjusted to how much side which is awesome!

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