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I don’t mean for this to sound like an ad. It’s not. For most of the people that follow my blog, you notice I don’t talk about mountain biking very often. I spend most of my time on here talking about more global and virtual events. My personal experiences online, with a computer, a web app, an operating system, or a review of something far away from single track and mud. Well today I want to talk about people closer to home. People that I deal with on a regular basis, that make my number one passion outside my family a reality.

The old cliche is that a picture is worth a thousand words. The above picture is of my beloved mountain bike. I really love it. In an unhealthy, creepy way, to be honest. I have had my 2007 Brodie Loki for a few years now and it has been the best bike I have ever had. So, when I send it into the bike store for a repair or for a more extensive upgrade, I count the hours until I can get it back.

Most of my friends and family know about my passion for cycling. A couple of days ago it was my 40th birthday, and they all got me very generous gift certificates to my favourite bike store, Experience Cycling! So, in I take it for some upgrades! This is where the story really begins. From the moment you walk into Experience Cycling, you feel important. It is this care and attention to the customer that has brought some well deserved accolades as the top rated bike store in Canada!

The entire staff has the same passion for cycling as I do. So, yesterday when I wandered in after my birthday ride looking to upgrade my front fork, Jim took care that I would have my bike back as soon as possible. Understandably the winter months are slower, but he even offered to get it done same day if I needed it! From the picture, you can see it is snowing out. I won’t be doing any riding in the next week or so(damn you Winter…), but that doesn’t matter. They know I love to ride.

The entire staff think this way. From Matt who talked to me for half an hour on the phone about the brand of fork he felt would fit with the type of riding I do(and giving me 3 different choices), to Jim, that greets me every time with a smile and a hand shake, to Dale that made sure he got the bike ready for me before his day off. Not to mention the young guy that helped me out to the car with the bike and even put it on my bike rack because I had my baby with me. This care and attention to detail is why I come back, over and over again, for the last 25 years.

How does a small store in a small town like Duncan get it so right? The answer? Will Arnold. The owner. I have talked with Will on numerous occasions and he is a man that loves what he does, and you see it when you go into the store. Jim, his brother, shows the same passion. I am still kicking myself that 15 years ago I didn’t take that mechanics job Will offered me dangling like a carrot…

So why write about my bike store? It’s just that I don’t know of any other store I’ve been to that treats their customers so well. With the advent of big box stores, online merchants, Walmarts and Costcos EVERYWHERE, and mom and pop shops going out of business, how do little companies stay in business? From word of mouth. So though I glow about my little bike store to everyone that is looking for a bike, I wanted to do my part in spreading the word in the virtual world…

Experience Cycling is getting an online presence. Here is their site. http://www.experiencecycling.ca/

Check out their Facebook page! http://www.facebook.com/pages/Experience-Cycling/140829112611352 Here you will find repair tips, bios on the staff, and updates of sponsored riders, and Will’s trips to various bike events.

If you like bikes, or like me, you love bikes, and you are on Vancouver Island, you need to do yourself a favour, and head to Duncan to Experience Cycling! Tell them Jamie sent you…

If you listen to my advice, you will look like this on your next ride…Happy…

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