I’ve hit this issue before, but my recent post titled “Friends Don’t Let Friends Buy Department Store Bikes” has me thinking about it again.
Here’s the point – Making a go as an independent bike shop is a difficult task. While I’m not suggesting that riders ignore the internet, all of us need to consider what I call the real value of having great shops like Canyonview, Camas Bikes, and Cyclepath available to us.
As I’ve mentioned in previous posts, these are the people who support us. We need to return the favor whenever possible. You might think you’re getting a great deal by shopping online, but have you considered what we’d lose if Mark Plotkin, Ed Fischer, and Bill Larson were forced to close?
I’ve been around for a while, and my involvement in various projects has given me an opportunity to see who is willing to stand with us when we need help. I won’t pretend that I’m aware of everything these guys are involved with, but I do know that Mark, Ed, and Bill do a hell of a lot more than sell bikes and biking gear.
Canyonview Cyclery – Mark has taken on an increasingly large role in the biking community. During our build of the Castle Rock Bike Park, Canyonview footed the bill for lunch for our crews on approximately a dozen occasions. And when we have the Bike Park Blowout each September, the shop sends mechanics to conduct safety checks on the kids’ bikes and repair what they can at no cost.
With changes underway at both Coldwater and SHIFT, Mark has volunteered to do more to keep these events alive. Canyonview will provide food at Coldwater and will take on a large part of the organizational duties at SHIFT.
Camas Bikes – Ed came out for the Chainsaw Massacre at Growlers this year and encourages people who frequent his shop to get involved with trail work here and throughout the area.
He is responsible for much of the progress that has been made toward construction of a bike park in Washougal and is also a big supporter of the trail system at Lacamas Lake.
Ed also organizes and sponsors the Lacamas Freedom Riders, a bike team for kids in grades 6 through 12. Imagine having this kind of opportunity when you were a kid, and consider what the benefits are for young riders in our area. My grandson Carter has been lucky enough to be part of the team and has loved being involved.
Cyclepath PDX – Not only did Bill Larson come out for two of our builds at Growlers this year, he brought a crew of ass-kicking trail dogs with him each time.
Cyclepath was the primary sponsor at SHIFT in 2015, and Bill has vowed that they will be back again this year.
Perhaps what impresses me most is that Cyclepath PDX has been the biggest donor for the construction of the Castle Rock Bike Park. Ask yourself whether Bill’s involvement in CR translated into money in his pocket as a result of people from this area driving down to make purchases at his shop. I’m guessing he didn’t see a dime of the money he contributed. Like Mark and Ed, he believes in trail, kids on bikes, and get-togethers to celebrate our sport.
The next time you get ready to pull the trigger on an internet purchase, ask yourself what Performance, Nashbar, Jenson, and the others have done for us. They’ll take your money. But they won’t do what our local shops have done and will continue to do.
Always support the people who support us.