Thursday, July 17, 2008

I <3 Norcal Bike in Santa Rosa

Definition of a great bike shop:
  • They know their stuff
  • They're not condescending
  • They don't make you feel stupid
  • They can fix anything
  • They are willing to explain what they're doing if you ask
  • They do a GREAT JOB
  • You can trust them (like you would your car mechanic!)
  • They are willing to make some fixes for you at the last minute (assuming you ask nicely)
  • Have I mentioned they do a great job?

Throughout all my time in Berkeley, I could never seem to find a bike shop that I really 'gelled' with. I was intimidated by most places, and even though people were nice enough, they often had a tone that made me feel like I was an idiot for not knowing more than I did, or for asking the questions I did. The place that came closest to earning my love was the Missing Link on Shattuck Ave. They were pretty nice, but often were so backed up in the shop that I usually had to go somewhere else. If I tried to make an appointment, my bike wouldn't be ready for 2-3 days for a basic tune-up. :(

Every time I've been to Norcal they are friendly, sweet, answer my bazillion questions (if I have to bring my bike in, I might as well understand a little more each time, right?), and I can make an appointment, drop my bike off the evening before and it's ready the next afternoon.

I also think they do a great bike fit. It's a bit pricey but I think a good bike fit should be. A couple of years ago Phil fit me on my old road bike and was very honest in the end when he said "ya know Sarah, this bike really is too big for you. I think I've done the best job I can given what we're working with." And you know? He really did. In spite of my Trek being too big, the fit was awesome - I never had any pain or discomfort in the entire time I rode it after that fit.

Last week I brought my bike in for a pre-race tune up. Fritz remembered working on my bike before - he had actually figured out how we could manage a slight defect in the front fork, and asked me "how's that front fork working out for ya?" Then when I went to pick up my bike, I remembered that I had been having some problems with my bike seat coming a little loose and tilting down or up at times. He explained what the problem was (my seat screws needed some grease), told me how I could fix it, then said he'd do it right there on the spot! After that, I brought my bike home, stopped by the store, picked up some beer and promptly delivered it to the guys at NorCal. They were grateful, but I told them how grateful I was, too! :)

Cut to this week. I met up with Matt D. yesterday to pick up the Zipp Wheels. Man, they are SO SWEET!!! But after I put them on, I realized my dérailleur would need some adjustment - the cassette was a 12-25 and my previous one had been a 12-27. Argh!! I knew how busy the guys at NorCal were...maybe I could just ask them to swap the cassette real quick?

I brought both wheels down this morning, and Fritz said "yeah, but we'll still prob need to adjust the derailleur." Damn! I said "well...I hate to be a pain in your @$$...would that be okay?" He looked at me like I was crazy and said "sure, it's fine." So, right then and there, he swapped my cassettes while I ran home to grab my bike, and then made the adjustments and presto! My bike is ALL SET!

NorCal Bike Sport - YOU GUYS ALL ROCK!!! Many many thanks for your quick help and for being so nice to me (and not making me feel stupid about trying to learn about bikes). :)


Chris Westall said...

That's Awesome... I know how hard it is to find a good bike shop!

I Always bring the guys in my shop a 6 pack or a 12 pack depending on how much work I have done. And they Always give me good treatment.

I'm stoked you found a kindred bike spirit.

Sarah said...

Congrats on finding a good shop! I really think finding a bike store that fits is harder than finding a good bra or a dentist you like. Thanks for stopping by my blog!

rocketpants said...

Sounds like you have found a sweet shop! I love finding that perfect bike shop that just 'works' perfectly.

Getting excited for this weekend I"m sure! Looking forward to hearing all about it.

Courtenay said...

whoa i just blogged about how i heart them...

Rainmaker said...

That's awesome that they just did it all no problem. I'm sorta on middle-ground with my bike shop(s). Most times they are great as far as the mechanics go - but otherwise they are just so-so as far as general srevice goes.

Looking forward to seeing you kick-ass on the race wheels!

Lee said...

Sarah's right, these guys are awsome! I also live in Santa Rosa and that is where my bike came from as will my next one. They also have the off-season bonus of having Levi Leipheimer hanging around on a regular basis. Good luck on Sunday!

Marit Chrislock-Lauterbach said...

Fantastic! I wish I could find a shop like that - there's one that I love here in Pensacola, but nothing like that. I know exactly where I'll go if I'm ever in Santa Rosa... :) Thanks - you'll do GREAT this weekend!!!! I'm cheering for you!

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