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Velotique

Posted by Staff / Posted on March 19, 2011

Velotique TorontoVelotique is a bike shop that doesn't sell bikes - because its mission is to offer the city's widest selection of cycling accessories. Lights, locks, bottles, helmets, bags, books, videos, and even banana guards are found here in profusion. The shop also hosts free bike repair seminars (call or visit their website to register).

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3 Comments

Katharine / August 22, 2013 at 08:08 pm
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TERRIBLE service!

I had a rear tire blow on my high end bike on Lakeshore, between Leslie and Coxwell this morning. I thought to myself, 'thank GOD that Velotique is just up the street!', and, set off on foot on a horribly hot morning. Looking at the time, I was relieved to see it was only minutes to 10am by the time I hit Coxwell, thinking that hopefully, I'd be one of the first one's there, and would be able to be helped and on my way home shortly, as I started work at 10am.

When I got there, I was dismayed to see that, as opposed to 10am, they weren't opening to 11. But, still happy just to have gotten there at this point! (Sitting out the front of the shop, two of Metro's Finest Cycling Police officers rolled up, and, after chatting about my crappy luck of the day, said what I’d been thinking, how lucky I was to be so close to a shop, etc. and wished me luck.)

The doors opened at 11 and, relieved, I wheeled the bike in, telling the owner what had happened. Now, I've been in quite a few times in recent months, having just started cycling and discovering that I LOVE it. And, each time I've BEEN in, I've purchased something, not to mention bringing in a friend who's quite heavily into the sport and SHE’S purchased from them as well.

This is when things, that were already pretty crappy, started to turn distinctly south. Having had a kind man stop on the Lakeshore, to make sure the reason I was walking my bike wasn’t because I was hurt, (which is what I've come to expect in my short time as a cyclist, everyone is very kind, and seem to love to help or guide a newbie!), said that that all I'd done was blow the tube in the tire. So, I said as much in Velotique and asked if she knew how to change the tube.

"I DO, but you have to do it yourself."

Ummm...okaaaay....

As I mentioned earlier, this is an expensive bike, so, I was nervous and I guess the look on my face registered that. She then asked if I'd tried to pump it up yet. (What?! Well, SURE! I used one of the many bicycle pumps that you can find on the Lakeshore! That's why I waited outside the shop for an hour!)

But, I bit my lip and said no. She then waved an airy hand at the foot pump on the floor and told me to try it.

OK. She walks away to busy herself speaking to 2 women that had walked in behind me with their BABY STROLLER, (and, not a CYCLING one either!), whose wheel had also gone flat, as I stare at the pump. I knew to unscrew the valve and did so, then, was left looking at a rather confusing, two headed pump. But, who wants to appear either dopey or lazy? Not me! So, I do my best to get it on the tire and start pumping.

Nothing.

After a few minutes of struggling with it, I stopped and waited until she was done speaking to THEM, (I mean, THEY'RE getting spoken to in a CYCLING shop, while the CYCLIST is left to struggle in the corner alone?), and told her that I couldn't get it to work. Practically rolling her eyes, she came over and showed me how to unscrew the OTHER bit on the tire and moved it so the valve was on the bottom. Good to know!

I mentioned that I'd been told that the pressure in the tire should be around 90-100psi, (thank you HELPFUL and lovely staff of Cycling Solutions!) and she agreed and, turning away AGAIN, said to call her when I hit it.

So, I'm starting to get irritated. There's no one else IN the shop, and I keep getting walked away from. This wasn't a bell that wasn't DINGING, this was a WHEEL that I couldn't get home without and, as I said, I was already over an hour late for work.

But, fine, I pump like hell, the tire gets hard, but I can hear air escaping and, as soon as I stop pumping, it's softening right up again. Thinking of the kind man on the Lakeshore, I asked her if it WAS the tube. She said 'Probably.'

“Okaaay.....can you please fix it?”

“No, but we have videos you can watch on our computer that will show you how.” WHAT?!?! Fine, I come around the counter and she brings them up. The first of the three video series is 'What IS a bicycle tire' Again, late for work, and, she knows it.

After scanning the 'how to FIX the tire' video, the idea of having to remove the wheel, the cassette, the chain, etc., is simply overwhelming for me. I don't want to ruin my bike and, if I WAS elbow deep in there and ran across a problem, would I be helped or told to take a break and re-watch the video?

Late.

For work.

And, getting later.

That's when the other gal that works there popped in. At this point, I'm getting really irritated and ask HER if SHE knows how to fix the tube. Looking uncomfortable, she says that SHE does too, but, can't help me. I don't blame her, seems to be a rather ridiculous company policy. (I'm assuming it would be listed under the 'Have An Emergency? Ignore the Customer!’ section)

At this point, I've had it. Frustrated, I say to the second gal, “This is bloody ridiculous, I'm not going to sit here and watch 43 mins worth of VIDEOS, I'm already late and I'm not comfortable doing it myself. Anyone ELSE around here?”, HOPING that maybe I've just been too nice/discreet and they're not getting the fact that I don't want/have time for a LESSON on Cycling Mechanics 101, I just need to get my wheel fixed so I can get HOME.

Nope!

She tells me about another place, up the street and tries to call for me while I stand there, dumbstruck. Really? You both know HOW to do it, but simply WON'T and you'd send your CUSTOMER to competitor? Incredible!

No answer at the other place. Then, the owner reappears and helpfully points out that it's no longer rush hour, so I can get on the streetcar with my bike. Now, luckily, I'm in the beach, and my house is mere steps from Queen Street, but, SHE doesn't know that! It's also starting to rain.

Right, THAT'S it. So, I take the bike, say "That's fine, I'll do as you suggested, grab the STREETCAR, and take it to Cycle Solutions later on today, as I'm sure they wouldn't mind helping a CYCLIST."

Now, don't get me wrong! I'm neither lazy nor stupid and LOVE learning new things! (And, I realize that flats DO happen and, easily!) So, that would have been one lesson I'd LOVED to have learned! But, no offer, at ALL, of assistance.

The points that, I think at least, are important here...

1. I'm a customer
2. I've brought in other customers for the shop
3. I'm in an emergency situation (in MY book anyway)
4. I'm a relatively new rider (they knew that)
5. I’m not asking them to do it out of the goodness of their heart. Obviously, I’m going to pay for their help and any products necessary to FIX it.

Needless to say, I will NEVER be back and hope that no one else ever needs their help, because they won't find it at Velotique.
SirWanker / November 27, 2013 at 08:59 pm
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Katharine - you missed the point that Velotique do NOT offer bicycle repair services. They never have for as long as I've known them since the early 90's. Has it occurred to you that due to this, they cannot perform any repairs without compromising themselves to possible legal actions if anything were to happen to your "expensive" bike?
Emergency situation? You waited nearly an hour for them to open! Sounds like you made it an issue and refused to take responsibility of your own actions.
After spending so much money on your "expensive" bike, why did you not spend the additional amount for a simple flat repair kit and pump and take the time to learn how to use it? Or were you too frugal and self-absorbed to do so?
Andrew / February 10, 2014 at 08:53 am
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The new owner is great!

While I was riding my bike in the middle of winter, my chain snapped and I wasn't able to bike home in -20 weather! It was a Sunday at 4:50 pm, the store closed at 5 pm and I was a few blocks away. The owner of the store waited for me to get there after his close time, then stayed in and fixed my bike well after close. I am very grateful for their service and for their prices.

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