So far, I've been pretty disappointed in my bike shopping experience. I'm used to getting treated like I don't know anything when I take my car to the mechanics, but I never expected the same kind of treatment from a bike shop, especially where I live. Women's Cycling is HUGE here. However, my shop visits are all turning into the beginning of a very bad joke: "So, a girl walks into a bike shop, and...."
Here are my caveats when it comes to the bike I want to buy. Also, I make sure to tell the salespeople this up front:
1. I am not interested in Women's Specific bikes. I typically dislike the colors they are available in, and even if it comes with a "women's saddle", I can almost guarantee you that I'll be using a different one.
2. I want a bike meant for racing - not for endurance or beach cruises, etc.
3. Not a caveat, but my current bike is 49" Women's Specialized and is too small.
Here are my experiences so far:
Shop #1: After telling the salesguy what want and don't want, he walks me right over to the Specialized Dolce. Um, how about the Amira right beside it? In our conversation, he suggested that I would probably fit perfectly on the Specialized Men's 49". See caveat #3 - this dude isn't causing me to have any faith in him, but I go along with him because I'd like to find out my size. He puts me on a 51. Still too small, but the salesguy was very reluctant to put me on a 54". It felt like pulling teeth, but eventually he did. What do you know? The 54 is a pretty good fit, but hey, this is a women's bike. I had to ask, ask, and ask again to be sized on the Allez.
After trying out the Allez, I all but sprinted from that store. If that salesguy were paying any attention, he might have seen the steam coming from my ears. After telling him exactly what I wanted and what I didn't, he put me on the exact thing I said I did NOT want.
Shop #2: I'm going to be a little more forgiving of Shop #2 - they didn't have anything much in stock in my possible sizes. However, when discussing sizing, the salesguy said (and I quote),"It would blow my mind if you fit on a 54." Then, much like the other salesguy from Shop #1, he started showing me women's bikes in the catalog. I repeated how uninterested I was in Women's stuff, and promised to come back when they had something closer to my size in stock. Follow up: At another store, I tried the 54 in the brand we had been talking about, and if standover height hadn't been an issue (sorry, but I prefer to be able to get on and off my bike without hurting myself), the 54 would have been perfect.
Shop #3: We'll call this the Everyman's Bike Store. They have everything. They aren't really an LBS. I had 2 salespeople that day - 1 guy and 1 girl. The girl was new, so the guy took the lead. I repeated my spiel, and off we go. I wanted to see how a 52 CAAD10 fit, but it was in the window display. I tried a few other bikes. While I was waiting for the bike in the display to be retrieved, the salesguy starts leading me around to other bike options. First stop? The Specialized Women's Bike section. At this point, I was fed up with the girl treatment from other stores, and I interrupted him as he was singing praises of the Amira to say, "That's fine and such, but there's one problem with this. It's a Women's Specific Bike. I said specifically that I did not want a Women's Bike. Haven't you been listening?" He got flustered but was smart enough to take me over to look at the Men's Specialized and Trek bikes. I secretly got a high five from the saleslady when he wasn't looking.
I've been to ONE shop so far where the salesguy wasn't immediately trying to sell me shrinked-and-pinked bikes. Have you all had similar experiences? Do you call them out on their sexism? I don't want to be the cranky lady, but my goodness, I can't imagine I'm the only one with this mindset. How much business are they losing?