Viewing 40 posts - 1 through 40 (of 49 total)
  • Bike Art at Thetford – why so miserable?
  • stumpy01
    Full Member

    Is it just me or is the bloke who works at Bike Art at the High Lodge visitors centre in Thetford forest a real miserable git who needs to work on his customer service skills?

    I was there yesterday as I was doing Go Ape with my partner's nephew. We popped into the bike shop so I could ask about demo full sus bikes seeing as I'm looking to replace mine in the relatively near future.
    Straight away he's on the back foot, moaning that I have to pay to demo a bike, they don't just give them out otherwise everyone would just ask for a demo, rather than hire a bike. At no point had I mentioned I expected a free demo, so quite why he started ranting I'm not sure.
    I thought that maybe he gets lots of people coming in asking about all the expensive bikes without actually buying stuff, so mentioned that I was looking to replace my Stumpjumper & ride it locally and in Wales, Scotland, the Peaks etc. as well as once a yr to Spain. His response was to screw his face up like he'd just ingested a bit of dog poo flicked up from his front wheel & say 'well, never mind' in response to my comment about owning a Stumpjumper. I asked what he meant by that, as in what's so bad about them, and he just shrugged his shoulders & went quiet.

    At that point I almost told him to forget it and I'll spend my money else where, but tried to perservere a bit longer. I told him I wanted it for general trail riding, in the places I had described above & for doing the odd race on, but that I didn't want anything 'XC race oriented' as such. To this he just waved his hands at some Giant Trances that were hung up, mentioned a couple of Scotts & then pointed out the New Kona Cadabra in a brochure.
    But, there was just a real dis-interested tone to the whole conversation. He didn't ask anything about budget, when I potentially wanted to demo one, find out anything more about what i am looking for…..

    So that's that……there's no way I am spending my money in that place. I would rather drive further afield to get one from a place that shows some enthusiasm and actually seemed interested – not like I was being a pain by making some enquiries in his shop.
    And it's not a one-off incident either. I have been in there a few times for different things and it's always the same.

    thebone
    Free Member

    i know what you mean, i was going to but some xtr cranks from him but walked away because of his bad attitude – the blokes a dick IMO

    allthegear
    Free Member

    Yeah – it always seems to be the same in there. Just not interested, really.

    UK-FLATLANDER
    Full Member

    I to feel that you're an inconvenience as a customer in Bike Art. Try Lifecycle UK in Bildeston, great service and sound advice.

    Olly
    Free Member

    ???

    odannyboy
    Free Member

    he's probably from brandon, say no more.

    theres some really expensive stock in that shop. amazes me how they keep going.i mean who has loads of suss forks in stock, surely you order them in as and when??( well in that part of the world anyhow )

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    I think they must only get by on the bike hire from families/large groups and people having to buy tubes/gloves etc. after forgetting their own.
    But they do have some pretty expensive bikes in there, so they must shift them?!

    Olly – way grumpier than that!

    mrben100
    Free Member

    Bike in thetford every week so have the pleasure of '****' I wont reveal his real name.

    I think 'well nevermind' is his stock answer to anyone who hasn't bought one of their scotts!

    Went in there when I had a brand new fuel ex 8 – response – oh, nevermind!
    Mate had a stumpjumper fsr elite – his response – you guessed it.

    Apparently there have been many complaints to the forestry commission – but to no avail.

    I think here's there so that you forget how annoyed you are at how much you're going to have to pay for the carpark – clever ploy by the FC I reckon!

    Bianchi-Boy
    Free Member

    I used to go to school with him, he wasn't much better then!

    BB

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    mrben100…..gave up parking at High Lodge about 5 yrs ago & now only use Brandon car park – I think you are right about the FC's ploy to make you try & forget about the parking fees…..

    bigsi
    Free Member

    Is it the larger bloke in there? if it is he's a complete t1t.

    I think that the only way they survive is because its a captive market as people have already parked up and lets face it you wouldn't make a special trip to go to that shop given the parking charges, if it was any where else then people would vote with their feet. However, i bet he gets more than his fair share of time wasters and dreamers in there wanting to know about bikes he knows they are never going to buy, or at least not from Bike Art.

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    Erm, not sure if he's that 'large'. He's the bloke who seems to run the place always behind the counter – suppose he's fairly tall with grey hair. I think he does a lot of the workshop stuff too.

    mrben100
    Free Member

    I know stumpy that's why I bought a season ticket, now sometimes I just go and park in the carpark and sit there to make sure I get my monies worth……….that'll teach them!

    taka
    Free Member

    howd you like go-ape?

    flange
    Free Member

    He's a miserable b@stard alright. I've been in there a couple of times and spoken to the lass and she's really nice. However for the most part you get that cheery bugger.

    Lifecycle is a much better bet – a higher class of insult to be had off Rob and Matt….

    no_eyed_deer
    Free Member

    People who work in bike shops = consistently grumpy and with desperately poor customer service skills

    … end of story.

    I think it must have something to do with the fact that people who are into cycling aren't necessarilly all that great at sales and/or relating to other human beings. Yet, here they find themselves, facing the general public, every day of their miserable and failed, pointless lives*.

    The number of times I've enquired politely and in a friendly way in a bike shop about something, only to be met with a blank 'who-the-F-do-you-think-you-are?' stare. Hmmmm…

    The reason why I generally avoid bike shops like the plague and do everything online – including sourcing 'advice' (a very lose term!) from the STW massive.
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    * NB: to any nice staff in bike shops (and there are a rare few of you out there!) – this doesn't apply to you. 😉

    shepleg
    Free Member

    Had this misfortune to try and use the shop, walked in carrying my clean bike clean bike, and before had even closed the door this guys going off on one at me shouting to take it outside, replied i wouldn't put it down and it was clean but sent him off again shouting, T~~spot. Left the shop without buying anything and will Never go again.
    To put this in perspective there were loads of signs in their window saying don't leave your bike unattended too. I've worked in bike shops for the last 10 years on and off (not local to Thetford) and non have ever had the policy of not letting bikes in the shop. Really cross!!!!!

    Nonsense
    Free Member

    This is a recurring theme. See my previous post
    Thread

    The only way I managed to borrow a pump was to out grump and intimidate him by shouting loudly at him in front of a load of other customers. He had just been unbelieveably rude to me. I then accidentally slagged him off to his own son and felt rubbish about it. Bloody karma.

    whoopiegoldbars
    Free Member

    I was after a decent waterproof jacket last time I was up there, looking to spend £100-150 but he was so unhelpful and uninterested I just left.

    Don't even bother looking in the window when I'm up there now.

    defaultslipper
    Free Member

    ditto what nonsense said- also commented on the old man's ability to hold a friendly conversation.

    "that's my dad" said the lad.

    end of conversation, and walked off. thankfully i am no longer in that neck of the woods and now have some choice of bike shops.

    BermBandit
    Free Member

    Paul at Bike Art is a decent guy, and does more than his fair share of supporting Cycling and MTB generally. He sponsors TIMBER the trail building outfit at Thetford and takes part actively, he also sponsors some of the races, he constantly works at badgering the Fc to improve the offer to cyclists, which believe me is a thankless task.

    He has an extremely difficult business to run, not least for the reason of the car parking charges mentioned above, and the fact that the "big spenders" on MTB will tend to park well away from his shop and thus he loses that trade through no fault of his own. His shop is a constant target for theives, and thus he has to be relentlessly observant of what is going on.

    He is also, I suggest, for that same reason well used to numpties coming into his shop and wasting his time. Every time I have ever been in there he has been helpful and courteous, often dropping what he is doing to help people out who are going to miss their ride due to their own poor maintenance or forgetfulness.

    To muller the guy online for not being overly keen to lend his tools to some dick who a) hasn't bothered to check his bike before riding, and b) expects to be given immediate free attention to resolve that fact, is frankly unreasonable.

    Basically Stumpy you have had your point well answered by "nonsense". He is so miserable because he has to deal with cocks who walk into his shop and "intimidate him by shouting loudly at him in front of a load of other customers", and then "slag…. him off to his own son". Personally if that had been done to me the shouting would have been fairly muffled as the idiot concerned tried to pick his teeth out of his throat!

    AdeC
    Free Member

    ooooh!

    mtbfix
    Full Member

    Folk running shops at riding locations must be besieged with requests for a quick lend of this tool or that. Nightmare!

    stumpy01
    Full Member

    Berm Bandit….I am not quite sure what point you are making….

    From the sounds of it, you know him personally, or perhaps better than I do (as I have only been into the shop 3 times) and perhaps he is a decent guy.
    But regardless of how much helping out he does that you have outlined, each time I have been into the shop he has been rude & abrupt.

    You mentioned that he has a difficult business to run? How so anymore difficult than any other bike shop? In fact, it should be easier. He has a fairly abundant captive market of people who visit Thetford year round. High lodge in the summer is absolutely teeming with families on hire bikes and some of those people must buy bits from the shop, as well as people who turn up having forgotten a jersey, spare tubes, saddle & seatpost (mate of mine did this & bought replacement ones from the shop).

    And if it is indeed such a difficult business to run, you would have thought he would greet someone coming through his doors enquiring about demoing bikes (with an eye to purchase) with a worth of about £2k perhaps with a bit more enthusiasm & interest. If I am looking to spend £2000, I don't want to spend it with someone who is rude to me & uninterested.

    My original post was actually a question – is it just me or….? As I genuinely was curious as to whether I have perhaps just caught him on a bad day (everytime I have been there) or whether I perhaps offended him with my Specialized riding-ness…….but from the replies so far, I guess it isn't just me, so question answered.

    BermBandit
    Free Member

    Stumpy, I think I answered the entire question in my reply above.

    However, in answer to your new one yes I do know the guy, and no he is not a mate.

    david_r
    Free Member

    I seem to remember an article in one of the MTB mags where this guy led a group around Thetford. It gave a little history on his background. I 'think' he did not originate from a retail background, but came into it from engineering or something like that. Although I might be wrong. If I'm right perhaps that might explain his 'unique' customer skills.

    I also 'think' that car parking charges were ongoing at High Lodge before he took on Bike Art, and if so, hardly a cause for complaint now perhaps?

    Theft and tyre kickers in a shop; welcome to retail I would imagine !!!

    Been in the shop a few times, and I agree with all the negative comments above. He's a bellend of the highest order.

    fuzzyfreak
    Free Member

    I have just registered on this forum after I found this post while doing a search for this guy, specifically to see if others had the same experiences as me!

    I just got back from Thetford and am disappointed to see he is still running Bike Art after remembering how he had treated my wife and I, my brother, and numerous other customers.

    It must be said that we are adults and not children, we know how to communicate properly and ask nicely, yet this guy seems to take offence to everybody who walks into his shop.

    My brother and a mate went cycling in the forest. The mate hired a bike from Bike Art. When they got back muddy, my brother asked if he could hose down his bike before putting it in the car. Mr. Grumpy refused, my brother pleaded with him but he still flatly refused to let my brother hose down his bike.

    About a year later, I walked into the shop with my wife and asked if he hired tandems, he did, so I asked if I could hire one for my wife and I, he asked where would I be cycling – which, considering we were surrounded by forest and some great cycle tracks, I found a little odd. I told him we would be cycling on the cycle tracks – his answer – "Not on my bikes you won't" !!!!

    Please note that the details of each incident above are irrelevant, he may well have his reasons for sticking to rules, but there is a right way and a wrong way to conduct yourself to customers, and his attitude stinks.

    This was a good five years ago now and following that incident I discovered a few posts on MTB Forums of similar stories and experiences, I now discover this post and note that he has not matured or learned any skills in customer service. As I sit in my stuffy office, I'd give it up in a flash to be working in the environment he does, however he doesn't seem to appreciate where he is located or the happiness he could be providing people.

    grumm
    Free Member

    Basically Stumpy you have had your point well answered by "nonsense". He is so miserable because he has to deal with cocks who walk into his shop and "intimidate him by shouting loudly at him in front of a load of other customers", and then "slag…. him off to his own son". Personally if that had been done to me the shouting would have been fairly muffled as the idiot concerned tried to pick his teeth out of his throat!

    Sounds like he is the wrong business. I have worked in customer service, and you have to be polite and amenable with people regardless of how much they are pissing you off. One reason I don't work in customer service any more!

    Curly68
    Free Member

    I take my son (11) and daughter (6) to High Lodge once a week generally. Have a season ticket for the car park (much better to spend £44 for the year on that). As such, we do go into Bike Art quite often. I usually park my bikes in the hire part round the back and ask if its ok. Never had a problem with doing that. In the shop I can understand some of the comments. I was in there last Friday and a young chap came in (must have been about 11/12) and asked the bloke what was the most expensive bike he had in there! He must be asked that tons of times and get p1ssed off with it. I would.
    I bought my daughter a small camelbak and when paying for it asked about lights. He then proceeded to get out loads of Lupines and other to show me. Thought that was very good of him really.

    chrisjg
    Free Member

    Visited Bike Art in Thetford on the Sunday of the last Easter Bank Holiday – queued for 15 minutes to be told “no adult bikes available, you’ll need to book”…went in store to book and was told, “we don’t know when they will be back”…
    They were without doubt the most unfriendly people in retail I have encountered – the younger staff are friendly, but not the older ones.

    I would rather go to the hassle of a cycle rack / holder for our car and bring our own bikes than ever visit this store again.

    crotchrocket
    Free Member

    Personally I use Revel in bury or Newmarket. They can over charge you for a new spoke as well as any other bike shop in the county.

    thebunk
    Full Member

    Someone emailed the STW feedback to Bike Art last week:
    http://www.singletrackworld.com/forum/topic/bike-art-at-thetford-forest-the-owner-is-just-plain-rude

    Not sure if he ever got a response though.

    kendizle
    Free Member

    I guess you will all be shocked to hear that I had a positive experience in Bike Art. I snapped my chain after completing the black route and brought it in to see about a repair. I was served the part, he told me how to fit it and said if I had any problems to come back. So after struggling to fit it I wheeled my bike in and he set it up in the back and fitted it for me. He even tweaked my gears for me and shortened one of the cables that was too long, gave me some tips on my bike and I left very happy and satisfied.

    OK he didnt smile, but I call that good customer service that went above and beyond the sale of a £2.50 chain link.

    Just thought I’d ballance the universe a bit by posting this.

    sc-xc
    Full Member

    What I like to do, is join forums specifically to counter 7 month old feedback…

    njee20
    Full Member

    Well, really a 2 year old feedback, supplemented 7 months ago! Glad you had a good experience, it’s still 2:1 to ‘he’s crap’ though.

    Margin-Walker
    Free Member

    i found him ok when I lived near Thetford. I actually demo’d a Scale 10 for about £30 (did 3 hours round Thetford on it) and handed it back. Bought one 2 weeks later with discount.

    When readin threads on here about people shouting, moaning about service and borrowing bike shop tools then flaming them on some forum, I just ignore them and write the moaners off as dicks.

    chrisjg – Member
    Visited Bike Art in Thetford on the Sunday of the last Easter Bank Holiday – queued for 15 minutes to be told “no adult bikes available, you’ll need to book”…went in store to book and was told, “we don’t know when they will be back”…

    Easter weekend and wanting a demo bike and not booking or checkimng availability ….bell end.

    fuzzyfreak – Member
    I have just registered on this forum after I found this post while doing a search for this guy……..

    My brother and a mate went cycling in the forest. The mate hired a bike from Bike Art. When they got back muddy, my brother asked if he could hose down his bike before putting it in the car. Mr. Grumpy refused, my brother pleaded with him but he still flatly refused to let my brother hose down his bike.

    why should he let you …Llandegla they charge for you to clean your bike. Its his facility for his hire bikes.

    starting to wonder why I bother coming on here anymore. 🙁

    edthegreek
    Free Member

    OK, it’s now my third time using this shop this summer to hire bikes for the Black Run as I wait for my new 2013 MTB to arrive. I’ll keep it short and sweet: We’re talking about the bike hire shop Bike Art at the High Lodge Forest centre in Thetford Forest.

    All the staff are at best miserable and worst simply rude.
    The ‘Premium’ bikes I’ve rented have been bottom (or near to the bottom) of the range and poorly maintained or just simply broken (missing control cables, grinding bottom brackets and poorly adjusted and worn brakes to name afew). They repeatedly ignore my instructions to have a bottle cage fitted to the bike, they have on each occaision got either my height (I’m 6ft2″ and they keep giving me a Medium frame) or my weight wrong so I end up with an incorrectly sized, uncomfortable bike. I’ve had poor advice from the shop assistant when asking about my options to buy a £2500 mountain bike. “Why get a titanium frame? They only creak and break”, “Steel Mountain Bike? It’ll rust up over the winter and you’ll need a new one”. “Cube bikes? The warranties are not worth the paper they’re written on”. Not in my 25 year experience of mountain biking my friend.

    My complaints about the bikes are met with their anger at my calm and measured tone – they ask how the bike was and I tell them all the things that were wrong and the old woman (I’m assuming it’s the owner’s wife) just looks an me sternly over her glasses and says “well you should have brought it back and we would have fixed it for you” – yeah, I really want to pay you for a premium bike and then wait around while you fix it or set up another one on my only spare 2 hours in the week. No apology or thanks for me pointing out their failings.

    The Forest riding is so much better managed than it was 10/15 years ago when I used to go there every weekend before we had kids. It’s a great place to go for some not-too-technical singletrack fun and a bit of a work-out. But that shop needs a shake-up. As there’s a captive market I don’t suppose it’ll ever happen, we’ll just have to wait until the owner (Mid 60’s I suspect) sells the franchise on and hope the incoming owners are at least human beings.

    strike
    Free Member

    There is a simple, re-occurring point here. The general public can be difficult to work with. So IF you don’t like dealing with the general public then DON’T work with them. And even more so, don’t start up your own business which serves the general public (you don’t even have the excuse ‘I just work here’!).

    maccruiskeen
    Full Member

    “Why get a titanium frame? They only creak and break”, “Steel Mountain Bike? It’ll rust up over the winter

    thats not poor advice, thats just advice you don’t want to hear 🙂

    welcome to the furom, incidentally.

    stevepitch
    Free Member

    You know I wrote a big long story about looking at bike in that shop but frankly can’t be arsed, on a particular day a young lad helped me out and he was great, went back a few months later didn’t ask to borrow tools, threaten or raise my voice ask which bike is ‘bestest’ just made an enquiry re demo and purchase of a bike.

    I’ve never met anyone as rude or disinterested in all my life and frankly considering me and the mrs were the only people in there I was gob smacked at the attitude.

    Such a shame but hey they’ve survived this long so they must be doing something right 🙄

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