In my previous post, I explained why I think the best place to get a ride is a local bike shop (LBS) where you have a one-on-one relationship with a knowledgeable, accommodating vendor. I also said I didn’t think an LBS was the only place to get everything bike related, and we’ll talk about that now. I’ll use a recent accessory purchase of my own to demonstrate.
For years I’ve used a Vaude Egger Commuter Pannier as both a pannier and briefcase. It can carry a 15.4″ laptop and all my other stuff. The old warrior is threadbare, has a broken zipper, and I wanted to treat myself to something new.
I visit my favorite LBS, only to discover they are completely sold out of bike bags as a result of the holiday season and won’t be getting more in anytime soon. Onto the Web I go, and in short order I’ve identified three suitable candidates: the Vaude Reva Single Urban Pannier, the Ortlieb Downtown Commuter Pannier – 2016 and the Banjo Brothers Backpack Pannier Combo. After looking at the specs, features and pricing of all three bags, I settled on the Vaude and ordered it.
In a future post, I’ll explain why I bought the Vaude, but for the purposes of this article here is a list of reasons for making this purchase online:
- Other than the bicycle itself, and some specific bike clothing, most bike products do not require an up-close, personal, touchy-feely precondition to purchase; good web sites always provide an image of the product which will satisfy any aesthetic concerns.
- The variety of vendors and products is much richer online than almost anywhere else; online vendors can serve suppliers from all over the world, from places where bicycling is a bigger component of transportation than here in the U.S. where I live.
- Most online retailers have a web feature which facilitates a side by side comparison of products; so that buyers can quickly determine the best fit for their needs.
- A lot of online merchants have access to a variety of closeouts and special products; the savings can be pretty impressive.
- Some online merchants will team up with the big boys on the Internet like Amazon Prime for billing and product fulfillment; you can save even more money with further discounts and free shipping.
When I started this post, I had a decent dose of apprehension. Since one of my favorite online resources for bike stuff is the BikeShopHub, and since almost all the links to date have been to it, I wondered if it would be perceived as blatant shilling by the readers and if I would be called out by a cynical mob. My first impulse was to get proactive and call attention to all the other times I’ve mentioned products and services not provided by the BikeShopHub.
Then I remembered an adage I heard recently: “The sane are only ones who question their sanity.” So, since my fervent belief is that I’m really good at giving the reader intelligent strategies and tactics for discerning the wheat from the chaff as far as bike products go, and since I am nobody’s sycophant, I ain’t gonna apologize upfront! If anybody wants to discuss suspected “toadiness” on my part, we can have at it in the comments!
BluesCat is a senior citizen still living and working in Phoenix, Arizona. He is slowly progressing from cranky old coot to crotchety old cuss.