Sunday, January 17, 2010

Viva la Revolution!

Yesterday, I went out on the Soup Spoons & Carbon Forks ride.  This is a new monthly ride sponsored by West County Revolution Bike Shop, which is one of my favorite bike shops ever.  Surprisingly, this is not a write-up about that ride.  If you want to read about the ride, you will have to wait until it’s published in the WCR newsletter. Instead, this blog is about the shop. 

WCRI discovered West County Revolution (WCR as we call it) just over a year ago at the first ever Viva la Revolution at Riviera ride.  This is where I got the opportunity to ride with Team BMC cycling pro Scott Nydam (read My ride with a pro cyclist for more about this ride).  This is also the first time I met Steve, one of the owners at WCR.

So what makes a bike shop so great?  Well, in my mind, it starts with great people who share a passion for cycling.  In fact, the passion for cycling is so strong it overrides the desire to make “easy” money.  We all know, or have been a victim of, the "up sale” bike shop.  You know what I mean.  The shop that will sell people, especially newbies, much more expensive gear then they need.  WCR is not like that. 

The owners of WCR, Steve and Bradley, have both ridden and raced bicycles for years.  Bradley also started OrganicAthlete, a community of athletes dedicated to promoting an organic, vegan lifestyle, and provided some nutrition tips to help my vegan friend David participate in Ironman Arizona last year.  So yes, you could say these boys have a passion for cycling.

That brings to the next thing – relationships.  It is evident to me that WCR believes in the concept that helping people enjoy cycling to the fullest makes good business sense.  Their business model appears to put making relationships ahead of making money.  It seems they feel that if you treat people right, the rest will take care of itself.  In today’s world of depressing business headlines, I find this approach quite refreshing and one I can easily support.

There is one more critical attribute a shop must have to be great.  It has to support the cycling community.  And not just the local hammerheads but everyone from the weekend warrior to the family out for their weekly Sunday fun ride.  WCR has this covered.

SS&CF I’ve already mentioned the Riviera ride.  I also mentioned their new Soup Spoons & Carbon Forks ride.  This is a monthly ride that starts and finishes at one of Sonoma County’s fine restaurants.  There are always at least three courses, one the fast guys and gals, one for more intermediate riders and a route designed just for families.  Yesterday, we had all three routes and finished with an awesome lunch at Rosso Pizzeria.  Next month we will be lunching at Bistro 29.

WCR recently launched their new periodic newsletter Power to the Pedals to which yours truly has provided an article.  If you follow the link to the latest addition you can read about the Soup Spoons & Carbon Fork philosophy.  You can also read about WCR’s new cycling team being formed.  Of course, in true WCR fashion, this is not just another bike shop team.  This team will be about much, much more then racing.  It will be all about having fun on the bike.  And I want to be part of that fun.

Just to drive the point home, let me tell about this morning.  I went out for a short 30 mile recovery ride that took me near the shop.  So I decided to roll by and see what was happening.  As I got there, Team Swift was just leaving for their training ride.  So I was chatting with Laura about Team Swift and Team BMC when Steve walked over.  After some more chatting about cycling, I casually mentioned that I would be coming by later for new cleats.  Steve promptly walks into the shop, comes out with my cleats and simply says “Stop by and pay whenever you get the chance.”

There you have it.  A cool guy, supporting a local development team, and trusting a loyal customer to pay him later for gear he gave me today.  This is what WCR is all about.

I hope that each cyclist out there is lucky enough to have a local bike shop like West County Revolution to keep you riding.  Now, if you’ll excuse me, I have to go put on my new cleats.


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