Worst Bike Shop in the City?

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Anonymous's picture

The Park Slope discussion got me wondering. In the interest of consumer awareness the question is begging to be asked - what's the worst bike shop in the city?

Never been to R & A, so I have to say:

Bicycle Renaissance (Edit - where you have to beg them to take your money after being insulted by their attitudes, snotty questions, and long looks down their noses.)

Anonymous's picture
Dave Hallerman (not verified)
And Your Reasons Are...


Dave, the former Brooklyn resident who also disliked R&A immensely but found it a good place to browse since they ignore you but have enough stuff worth browsing

Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

Re: Bicycle Renaissance:
Curtis, who actually rides, is very helpful, so I only go when he's around. If you get the other guys, it's a roll of the dice. The manager is not only unhelpful, but is arrogant and would like you to think that he is the next Sheldon Brown, which he most certainly is not (for starters, it looks like he hasn't been on a bike since he was a kid).

Evan, I think you're asking the wrong question. Within any shop, you're likely to find knowledgeable and helpful folks as well as relatively clueless and unhelpful folks. I think the question should be: who are the best and worst bike shop employees in the city?

For starters, at Sid's, (I can't remember the employees' names) there is a woman (looks like she has never ridden a bike) with a surly attitude (I know a few people who have noticed this) who doesn't know much, if anything, about bikes. Also at Sid's is a woman (I think she races), with a shaved head, who is awesome - knows her stuff and is very helpful.

Anonymous's picture
Hank Schiffman (not verified)

Best to keep the comments to the positve unless you have a real issue based on first hand experience.

Most people in the bike industry have or had a passion for it. Some people are having a bad moment or day. Misunderstandings can be mutual. Sometimes we are reading the tea leaves incorrectly. Most of the workers are not getting rich. Keeping a small business running in the black in this neck of the woods must be very frustrating. We don't want to contribute to the downfall of our LBS, especially since we can never know all the facts.

Anonymous's picture
Sue (not verified)

Actually, I feel I have to chime in about Bicycle Renaissance. I've been going to them for the past 10 years or so, and I think there's something to be said for building a relationship with a shop that makes all the difference in the world. I've gotten nothing but great service from all the guys there. I realize that it shouldn't be the case that they have to know you to get good service, but I think we all have our bad days.

Anonymous's picture
Evan Marks (not verified)

That makes snotty, arrogant behavior acceptable? I disagree, and I've had enough unacceptable first-hand experiences at Bicycle Renaissance to say that, IN MY OPINION, it is the worst bike shop in the city. Your opinion may vary.

Would you tolerate it in a restaurant, where the owner has a passion for his food but is an obnoxious SOB? How about at the doctor's, where there's a passion for healing but in all other respects the healer is an obnoxious SOB?

Or let's say the Runcible Spoon, which opened a (failed) branch in Piermont, managed by an obnoxious SOB.

You'd take your business elsewhere, wouldn't you? What about the bike business makes it any different?

(Standing back to watch the can of worms I just opened)

Anonymous's picture
Sue (not verified)

I would certainly take my business elsewhere if I were treated badly. Fact is, I've had positive experiences there.

Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

Hank, my comments are based on first-hand experiences. Also, they are based on repeated interactions I have had with the people I mentioned, and I am fairly certain that it was not just a misunderstanding or them having a bad day (unless they have bad days quite frequently, but then that's no excuse is it?). My reference to others was only to confirm that my experience with that particular employee was not unique.

Anonymous's picture
R.Fernandez (not verified)

I have dealt with Bicycle Renaissance over the years and have had only positive experiences.You dont have to be a genius to figure out if you dont like the service then dont go back,or you can stick around and humor yourself.Maybey it is you that mis-interpeted.

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
Anyone that opens a bike store is AOKAY in my book...

Running a small business is very difficult and requires drive, ambition, determination, and great service. The NYCC is such a large organization in the city that I'm sure this message board is seen by many store owners/employees.

Expressing and praising great experiences will likely get more mileage for everyone - no pun intented.

Anonymous's picture
Anonymous (not verified)
Definitive Answer

R&A bike shop in Park Slope, Brooklyn. Unnecessarily rude and indifferent staff, from the moment you walk in. I've been in most other well-known NYC shops, so I can attest.

See other threads. Many agree.

Anonymous's picture
Tom Laskey (not verified)
Thumbs up for...

Bicycle Renaissance. The former first lady and I have had uniformly good experiences there. They have been nothing but helpful and have gone the extra mile for us more times than we can count.

Evan, maybe they just don't like you :-)

Anonymous's picture
Claudette (not verified)

We ought to be careful about what we post here. It's fine to state opinions but when we start to slam businesses that live or die by word of mouth we may be hurting folks we don't intend to hurt.

There is little to be gained from a thread about the ""worst"" of something (unless it's the worst hill climber, which might be a tie between Richard Rosenthal and me). If any of us has a gripe about a particular place, just write about the experience and try not to generalize. Our posting negative generalizations up here might jeopardize the message board or cause a business to sue the club for libel. There are clear laws about internet bulletin board postings and liability, but those do not prevent folks from *bringing* a lawsuit; these would only protect us *during* a lawsuit.

Besides, it's better to applaud those places which do good work and bring our business there.


Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
I resent Claudette thinking she's as bad a climber as I.

Claudette, it's not enough to struggle uphill S L O W L Y. The Worst Uphiller in History is a distinction derived --well, I like to think richly and deservedly earned--by dividing speed on the flats by speed uphill. If one is painfully slow on the flats--god knows you are NOT--and painfully slow uphill, he cannot get credit for being a rotten climber. It's a ratio of ability on flats over inability on climbs. The lower the number, the more oafish the uphiller. I win. Or, as the case is, I lose. (Of course, my competency on flats, such as it is, is merely a function of my weight and the inertial effect of my being as a leaden (overweight) flywheel.

Anonymous's picture
Judith Tripp (not verified)
Lower the number?

Isn't it, the higher the number? Or is my math just actually even worse than I think it is.

Anonymous's picture
Richard Rosenthal (not verified)
Judith, we're working with fractions here.

"Suppose Claudette and I travel the same stretch of road in the same wind in, say, two minutes while a ""D"" rider who, for literary sakes, we'll call Ned, takes 5 minutes to ride it.

Now suppose Ned takes 10 minutes and Claudette takes 4 minutes to ride up a hill, while I sway and heave and shimmy up it in six minutes:


Ned the Neophyte: 6/10 = .6

Claudette the Physician: 2/4 = .5

Richard the Lard Ass: 2/6 = .3

However, if Claudette the Physician insists she is, in fact, slower going uphill than I am, then, if only by flywheel effect of my avoirdupois, I will state I am also, if only marginallly, a bit faster than she is on the flats. So if I am five seconds faster going up a hill than she is, but ten seconds faster on the flats, that yields:

1.83 / 3.92 = .467. Q.E.D.: Lardman is still the slowest uphiller.

I win...or, as the case is, lose. Well, no, win the hard earned but richly deserved distinction as the club's (if not all of western history's) most dreadful, rotten, incapable, unable, incompetent uphiller. And I stand ready to defend my title...even though people say I'd be better off sitting rather than standing as I climb*.


* Bear in mind, any uphill is a climb for me. That includes coming out of potholes, bounding up over a curb, or even tackling a driveway."

Anonymous's picture
Herb (not verified)

I've ridden with both of you, and your both full of .....
Where as I'm 20 lbs overweight, old and slow. Alright Rosenthal, you're older, but I have you beat on the other 2.

Anonymous's picture
Marcia (not verified)
that's entertainment

This is the most fun I've had all week!
Admittedly, it's only Tuesday, so 2/7 is only .28...

Anonymous's picture
David (not verified)
in defence of Bicycle Renaissance

I think it is wrong to criticize Bicycle Renaissance based on experience with a salesperson. I purchased my first ten speed from them over 30 years and even though I have only done a little business with them since then they have always been friendly and helpful. Although they may be more expensive than mail order as most stores are they are well stocked and for the most part very accomodating. I special ordered a rim from them and they were quick and not really expensive. While the popularity of cycing is increasing I don't think any bicycle stores are making a killing. Most are just eking out a living with tremendous Manhattan rents. i think we should encourage these Store owners who's employees are usualy genuinely interested in cycling. When was the last time you encountered friendly staff at any Manhattan establishment. My wife was amazed at how nasty most new yorkers were, especially store employees [she's from japan where service is paramount]. Bicycle Renaissance is a good bike store and shouldn't be maligned.

Anonymous's picture
Joe S. (not verified)

"""I think it is wrong to criticize Bicycle Renaissance based on experience with a salesperson.""

??? So I should only criticize the store based on my experience with their merchandise? Or I shouldn't criticize them at all? Hypothetically speaking, what if the store sells someone the wrong product for their needs? Should only bike shops be granted this immunity from criticism? I'm sure we could think of other businesses that are barely making a decent return - should they be exempt from criticism as well?

I'm sure everyone in the NYCC is genuinely interested in cycling - does that mean we would all make great bike shop owners or employees?"

Anonymous's picture
Robert Shay (not verified)
NYCC Message Board Monitors....

"IMHO this thread should be deleted. While it does represent heartfelt opinions of individuals regarding their cycling experiences, the ""worst"" aspect of it has the potential to reflect poorly on the NYCC."

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