Sunday, October 4, 2009

Without the Vibration

Keeping a level head when dealing with an avid cyclist who desires to custom build a bike from the frame up is a skill I have tried to hone over the years. In the process of the many custom builds I have worked up, worked on, or just ordered the parts so the customer could build it, I learned that it can be a very stressful situation for my customer. Most have thought about and maybe even dreamed about the bike that will fill their every desire or image of what that bike will be. They often have spent many man hours pouring over magazine articles, wasted stupid hours surfing the Internet, calling riding buds for opinions, and generally worked themselves into a frenzied state I would characterize as a manic bee with too many flowers to pick from. They almost vibrate.

It is more than simply plopping down money and wheeling out of the store on a brand new factory built scoot. That will create excitement and joy. But to nurse a wish list into that new dream bike transcends the mere joy of picking a bike from the sales floor. Most hardcore cyclists, even if they have not yet had a custom built bike created, lust after one. We cyclists always find something we would like better than the factory spec. Yes, we often will make changes after we buy a showroom bike. That just does not create the excitement and anticipation working up the perfect bike in your mind does.

The trick to keeping the process on an even keel and keeping at least one of us sane during this transaction is to detach myself from the emotions the customer has invested in it. I try to build excitement, but without the vibration.

Once all the pieces and parts have been decided on and the orders to the various vendors have gone out, the ensuing lull in action from list to actual build is often the worst time for me as a dealer. I used to figure after holding their hand through the parts pick and keeping their choices grounded in reality, the hard part is over. It is just beginning. They have spent their money and unless they stepped up with some extra jingle for fast shipping, it seems UPS slows down just to make their lives and mine miserable. The build is actually anti climatic as the customer has usually worked through most of their fussin and frettin before the fact. Beginning the build for me is when I start to relax. When I relax, they seem to relax. And soon, they are out riding their new ride.

Yes, over the years I have become somewhat.......what's a good word? All business or professionally detached maybe. Yeah, another nice bike for you. So what. I see them all the time. Let's get the parts in, put em together, and get you the Hell out there on your new bike. The sooner it is done, the sooner I can move on to the next project.

Recently, I reminded myself how whacked a customer can get when I decided to yes, that's right, become my own customer. Not only am I dealing with a crazed cyclist who wants their new ride yesterday, as the crazed cyclist I am being forced to deal with a dealer who seems to be less than attentive to my needs. I am caught in the worst nightmare I could have. I am trying to keep myself happy and calm, and restrained. I have been contemplating and scheming for a couple of months now about this new bike I will build up for myself. And try as I might, I cannot seem to even come close to professional, never mind conjure up any sort of detachment.

I have successfully made my final choices of what frame, parts and look I am shooting for. I have ordered up most and will finish ordering tomorrow all the parts I need not in stock to complete the vision I have of what this next "perfect ride" will be. It has been over 5 years since I gave myself a new bike form scratch. Lord knows I do not need another bicycle. I just want one.

I have rationalized this effort as having some kind of benefit for the shop. Like building up a custom bike for myself is really for the bike shop. Yes, it will showcase my wheel building skills and assembling skills such as they are. And yes, I would like to have a 29' wheeled bike in the shop to show folks what is possible with them. But I am not fooling anyone, least of all myself. I'm getting a new bike and right now I am driving the bike dealer part of me crazy. How the Hell I put up with yahoos like me, I'll never know.

Forget vibrating, I am shaking here.

More to come.............................................

No comments:

Post a Comment