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File:Welsh bicycle shop in Caernarfon.jpg
File:Bike mechanic at a local bike shop.jpg

Template:TOC left A local bike shop or local bicycle shop is a small business specializing in bicycle sale, maintenance and parts. The expression distinguishes small bicycle shops from large chains and mail-order or online vendors is abbreviated LBS.[1] In the UK & Ireland, the expression independent bicycle dealers (IBDs) is also used.[2]

The local bike shop is a key component of the bicycle industry and, in recognition of the value that local bike shops provide, some manufacturers only sell their bicycles through dealerships.

Possibly the oldest bicycle shop in the world is Pearson Cycle Specialists in Sutton, Surrey, England. This local business has been in the same location and run by the same family since 1860, when it was a blacksmiths. It is now run by William and Guy Pearson, the great-great grandsons of the founder, Thomas Pearson.[3]

Offerings Edit

Beyond bicycles, a local bicycle shop may offer clothing and other accessories, spare and replacement parts, tools, and a variety of services.[4]

Services may include expert fitting and custom bike building or ordering,[5] maintenance and repairs from experienced bicycle mechanics, and organized group rides and classes.[6] A self-service work area may be available.[7]

Shops may also specialize on one or more aspects of cycling: bicycle racing,[8] triathloning, bicycle touring, BMX,[9] mountain biking, etc. Similarly, shops may carry a diverse range of bicycles, from single-seat upright bikes, to more specialized types such as tandem bicycles,[10] recumbent bicycles,[11] folding bicycles.[12] Many shops also carry related items such as unicycles[13] and skateboards.[14]

Shops located out of temperate climates may have a secondary line in order to keep busy in the off season (winter). These include goods and services for skiing,[8] camping, and physical fitness.[15] Some shops keep their regular customers coming in through the winter by offering group training sessions.[16]

Some shops have a women-specific section,[17] and at least one is devoted entirely to women.[18]

Studios Edit

A small but growing trend in bicycle retailing is called the bicycle studio, which offers service in an intimate environment by appointment only. A list by Bicycling Magazine shows five studios founded before 2000 and 13 since. These are seen as more complementary to, than competitive with, traditional bike shops.[19]

Competitors Edit

The primary competitors to local bike shops are the mass merchants such as Wal-Mart or Target, representing 73% of the units and 36% of the dollars in 2007,[20] full-line sporting goods stores such as Dick's Sporting Goods, multi-sport stores such as R.E.I., representing 7% of the units and 9% of the dollars in 2007,[20] and mail order and on-line vendors such as Bike Nashbar or Performance Bicycle, representing 3% of the units and 6% of the dollars in 2007.[20] There are also chains of bike shops, though most LBS are singly owned, 91% of them have one location.[20]

The lines between local bike shops and on-line vendors is blurring as local bike shops begin to sell products on line[21] and traditional mail order vendors open their own retail bike stores.[22]

A recent development is the introduction of brand specific stores from bicycle manufacturers such as Trek Bicycle Corporation.[23] Other manufacturers, such as Specialized are strengthening their channels with concept stores.[24]

Statistics Edit

According to the National Bicycle Dealers Association, in 2007 there were approximately 4,400 "specialty bicycle retailers" in the USA; down from 4,800 in 2005. Although they sold only 17% of the bikes, up from 16% in 2005, they collected 49% of the dollars, up from 47% in 2005. In 2004, the average specialty bicycle retailer had gross sales of $550,000 per year, 91% of them had one location, and average store size was 4,822 square feet.[20]

Trade Organizations and Publications Edit

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Organizations Edit

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