Bella Velo. Interior
  • OhRoie

    Similar to the author, I had some terrible experiences when I wanted to buy my first “real” bike, about 6 years ago. When I had the temerity to complain to one manager, his response was “But I have 2 female employees”. That’s great, but not much of a help when of the 2 male employees in the shop at the time, one actively ignored me and the other tried to sell me “the red one”. Things are definitely getting better though, although maybe it’s because after 6 years of experience I have weeded out the bad ones.

  • Emily

    I’ve been very fortunate, perhaps lucky, but so far I’ve had very positive experiences with bike shops, especially with buying my first bike 12 months ago. What may have helped me in male dominated bike shops is arming myself with a lot of research and information prior to walking into a shop; having the knowledge to be able to ask an educated question but also being prepared to walk out of shop with my money still in my hand.

    • aliciacoden

      i earn seventy five dollars /hour working simple jobs for several hours at my convíníence over síte i found online – and it is a perfect way of makìng some fast earníngs which ìs exactly what ì have already been ìn search for for many years now.. examine thís websìte by clícking my on…ooi……….

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    • jules

      in other words – doing their jobs for them..

  • Ryder

    Hardly a gender issue, I am a male cyclist with 30 years in the sport. I have had crap service, been ignored and talked down to, Even been sold a bike that was not the right size for me. Bad service is bad service male or female. Walk away and find a shop that treats you well. Funny… but the only negative experience of cycling my wife has had was a few catty girls on our local bunch ride and a female bike shop assistant.

    • Gavin Adkins

      There is a gender issue, but you’re right too. I’ve been fooling around with bikes for 20+ years, but 10 years in a collared shirt means that I don’t really look like a hardcore ‘bike rider’. As a result, I’ve been treated as if I was an idiot many times (went to a shop with about a $5K budget burning a hole in my pocket for a new roadie once, the goose tried to sell me a hybrid). When I think about shops where I’ve had those experiences, almost all of them have since closed down. I’ve had really good service from My Mountain here in Melburn in recent times. They hold occasional shop rides and there is a good mix of people. My impression is that they want to sell you stuff that you will be stoked on whoever you are. Seems like a solid approach to me.

    • Simone Giuliani

      Ryder, I agree that bad service isn’t only a gender issue but can’t agree with it not being a gender issue at all. Not only do many others consider it to be (based on comments, reports and surveys) but in my experience it certainly is. The shops that I talked of receiving poor service at in the article were at the time the go to stores for many of the male cyclists in my circle, and they didn’t become that by providing them with bad service.

    • Simon

      I drive past 3 or 4 bike shops that have shown how not to do it, to get to my “local” who offers great personal service (male or female). They are a husband and wife owned shop and hold weekly womens only rides as well as the regular shop group ride. Based on their service alone I go out of my way to give them my custom when other, less customer focused shops are more convenient

  • Unbelievable

    The talk of “women’s only” stores, rides, and riding groups makes me a little sad: I’d always prefer to ride in a mixed group, and I hate the idea that I would have to ride only with other blokes if all the women were riding in women’s groups. Is that really the answer? Maybe it’s part of it, and provides one avenue for some women to enjoy their cycling.

    • TC

      It isn’t necessarily the answer, but this is a great stepping stone for any women to get into cycling! There was a gap in the market for this, they’ve seen it and it is clearly paying off… The footfall of women using this store is the biggest testimony that this venture was much needed in the market! More people on bikes ultimately! :-)
      I’m still going to ride with my male mates for sure!

    • Annie.

      I like the idea of a shop that’s open for anyone. Like you, I’m sort of repelled by being classified as “woman” with regard to cycling: More often than not, I ride with men only due to the fact that still, there are merely any women in our sport. When trying to ride with other women, I’m often shocked by a) their bikes, b) their gear, and (unfortunately and most notably) c) their riding.

      Not only is it about many of them not being fit which may be a problem at times, but more often than not do their bike handling skills simply not allow for bunch rides of any sort, and yes, I hate hearing “I’d rather ride on my own” as to me that’s nothing but an excuse for not being able to comfortably and safely ride with others.

      Hence: I could ride with stronger as well as weaker women if they’d be able to ride in the slipstream or have me do it (without risking my life).

      Seemingly another issue, to me that’s also part – or at least one side – of the problem: If there were more women keen on improving themselves and thereby becoming part of the “well-informed customers”, shop owners would have to recognize that fact as they’d experience a growing number of females standing their ground, buying good stuff ony, not accepting any bike choice offered to them.

      I made the experience that I’m welcome in many bunch rides as well as bike shops who treat customers/fellow riders well in general. Therefore, to me, only a shop where I can go to as a woman and get what I want is a shop recommendable for male riders, too.

  • DavidM

    Was looking to buy my wife a bike, so we went to a store that was having a ‘Women’s month’ event. After discussion, we chose a bike that she liked. They then told us they didn’t have it in stock so would only sell us a man’s model with a women’s seat?!?! (Even though we would have waited for an order) Great women’s promotion! Hahaha!
    Went elsewhere….

  • libby

    I have been into bike shops in the past and been egnored and looked at like I shouldnt be in the shop. But I now have a new local bike store and they have treated me as an equal and I am made to feel very welcome every time I go to the shop. I can recommend The Bicycle Centre in South Morang. They have a coffee shop, AND a shop ride just started up on sunday mornings too. Friendly service with a smile.

  • TC

    “A major focus going into the opening of Bella Velo was to provide a
    place for women to meet other like-minded women to learn from and ride
    with,” said Robson. What we didn’t expect was how quickly this group
    would become such a central part of Bella Velo.” Delighted to be part of this group, it is exactly this that makes me go back for more!

  • RacingCondor

    I’ve seen the same. Used to be a tri shop in London called SBR (swim-bike-run). Me going in with club kit and shaved legs, great service. My wife and her sister go in looking for wetsuits for lake swimming… Completely ignored and then useless, condescending ‘advice’.

    Awful service, and note above ‘used to be’.

    I’ve also had similar problems when I walk into a shop with jeans on carrying a baby despite having a pretty obviously cyclist physique.

  • Lulu

    So in the past 3 years i have purchased 3 bikes, for me. Only one store has attempted to help me. Simple things – letting me try a bike on! Pretty simple really. So guess where i keep going back to..Customer service – its not hard, but its often not done.

  • ML

    The cycling experience is so much more than the initial bike purchase and repairs and occasional gear, which are bursty businesses. I’d love to imagine a bike business/shop that offered community/coaching first, gear second. For example, yoga and crossfit have exploded and both grew classes first, then mega brands like Lululemon piggybacked on top of the audience. From my experience, many many people — men and women alike — are fascinated by cycling but just don’t know how to make it part of their lives. Their needs run the gamut from picking the right bike, to learning good routes, to setting goals or picking adventures. Anyone want to go in on starting such a business? ;)

  • Derek Maher

    Sorry to read that you met some clowns when you went to get your dream bike Simone.
    Even though you knew what you wanted you were treated in a very off hand fashion.
    What its like for the person female or male who was thinking of taking up cycling and wanted advice and guidance God Knows.
    The first question the sales person should ask a would be customer.Are they new to cycling if so.What type of cycling would you like to do.Then explain the different options and bike types.Once that is understood then they can get down to details.

  • Pink

    One of the issues I find sad here in Auckland is that it has been very hard for my partner to get into women’s cycling groups and bunches. Although knowing a lot of the women in question personally and having ridden with them occasionally they have made it fairly clear that as she doesn’t race she isn’t part of the group. I would like to add that although racing isn’t her thing she can generally rip the legs off nearly all of them as well as most of us men. This means she generally rides with us guys, witch is great and I love it as dose she, but I know she would also like to ride more with like minded women. Its a shame that it seems so cliquey in the women’s only bunches (please note, I am aware that cliqueyness is not a gender specific issue) .
    Having said that. There are some shops here (notably Hot Cycles) that do really encourage women as part of the mixed bunch. They are not encouraged as women but just riders and people. Gender just doesn’t come into it. You turn up in there shop and you are just like everyone else (even if you have no idea, or aren’t even a ‘cyclist’ and are just getting your kids bike fixed). Good genuine service all round for men, women, children, cyclists and non-cyclists.

  • jules

    OK if you don’t mind, I can mansplain this for you. As Ryder said, it’s partly a symptom of generally crap service in the bike retail industry. A lot of bike salespeople seem to believe they are gatekeepers of the sport or industry. Some random person walking in to their shop can’t possibly know much about bikes and really should show some respect for the salesperson’s professional credentials.

    I bought a new bike a few years ago and the arrogant sales guy actually said to me with a big helpful grin as I was riding off “look out for that front wheel with low spoke count over potholes!” sure, I will sir, because I now know it will behave very differently to the 36h wheels on my ‘hubbard’ bike you imagine I must have been riding up until now.

    I can only imagine how women customers are treated by these conceited idiots.

    there are good employees, I’ve met them. but there are an awful lot of fools too. the sad reality is that you can mostly shop without using bike shops these days, and key reasons why they may retain customers (and a reason to exist) – trustworthy advice and friendly, honest service – many industry members seem to dismiss as being beneath them.

    but then on the other hand, a professional, trustworthy, knowledgeable, friendly employee on $50k a year or whatever they are being paid is probably under-valuing them self.

  • Amy

    Since I started cycling two years ago, two bike shops have shut their doors around my local. I went to Avanti Plus Collingwood (as I’d previously shopped when it was Smith St Cycles) with a vague idea of what bikes I wanted to look at, and walked out happily with a mid-range road bike. It was daunting taking the initial step, as I hadn’t ridden in years and had no idea about road bikes or how to ride them.

    I think the key to their success is their service. They have something for everyone and will treat anyone who walks into the shop with the same friendliness and respect. Understanding your customer is the key to staying alive in the changing world of retail.

  • Yasmin Santoso

    The Freedom Machine – Melbourne
    Everyone who works at these store are incredibly helpful and genuinely want to help you be a better rider, whatever kind of rider you are. Here in Melbourne I’ve experienced terrible service from other bike stores, I’ve been entirely ignored while the staff have chosen to serve some guy that came in after me, Total Rush and BikeNow have been the worst offenders. TFM have been a breath of fresh air, I no longer shop online because it’s actually a pleasant experience to go into the shop these days.

  • Von

    Omafiets in Sydney!! :)

    • Von

      And thank goodness for Liv Sydney which used to be a separate space to Giant Sydney when I got into cycling (but is no longer). Fingers crossed maybe it will be again in the future!


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