Wednesday, March 11, 2009

Last stop on the 2009 $%#-Box Bike Shop Tour!

Final stop!...Gator Cycle.

Funny Story. Back in 1992 or so, a Saddle manufacturer named Selle Italia released a version of their popular 'Flite' saddle with no padding whatsoever, just a carbon shell over titanium frame rails. The goal, obviously, was to reduce weight as much as possible, and as a pleasantly beneficial sidebar, to promote sterility and impotence across the cycling community. Word is Lance still has a pending lawsuit against Selle Italia...
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...ok, that last part is a complete lie.
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Anyway, my buddy Gary and I went on a Gainesville bike shop tour way back then and we stumbled in to Gator Cycle. The shop at the time, like most bike shops in the heyday of the mountain bike, was packed to the gills with fancy shmancy stuff. Tange Switchblade forks, GT Tech Shop frames like the Zaskar and Xizang, lots of high in parts. One of the juicy little tidbits up for sale was this Selle Italia Flite 'Evolution' carbon saddle.
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Gary and I took a look at it, and seeing as Viagra and Cialis were not yet on the market, simply winced and moved on. Sure it was nice to look at, and damn light, but I bet if I packed my rump with helium I could shave a few grams off my combined bike/rider weight too, but I'm not trying that either.
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Anyway. The owner of the shop, an older Greek gentleman, proceeded to explain to us that the saddle was actually very comfortable, but conceded that, as he was not necessarily a svelte man, he wouldn't want to ride it either, and that he understood our trepidation.
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Then the conversation got weird.
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He began to explain to us, in fragmented and heavily accented English, that all 'his guys' used the carbon saddles on their race bikes. Imagine a chubby little shop owner, holding up his hands with his fingers pursed in the gesture normally used to praise cooking, saying the following; "All my guys, dey uze deez saddles on der raze bikes, bott you know? (gesture, gesture, gesture)...der azzes are so haaad!"
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I've never, either before or since, had a fat Greek guy try to sell my a bike part based on the race team member "ass hardness quotient." To this day, I cannot go on a camping trip with Gary without one of us making the hard-ass cyclist joke. I can report to you Gary, that the old crazy Greek dude is still there. Weird as ever.
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The shop, though...is much less interesting. Gone are the delightfully distinctive components, replaced with quality, if not interesting, selections of componentry from the ubiquitous Shimano. Not much else. You could build a fine bike from this shop. You could buy a fine Trek or Fisher from this shop, but you may fall asleep either riding it, shopping for it, or looking at it in your living room. Wonder Bread.
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On to the Score!
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Stuff!
- 2 Crispy Kids. Not much to get the blood to full boil in here, but if you need a quality derailleur ASAP, they've got you covered.

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Merchandising!

- 2 Crispy kids. No snoozing signs are placed strategically around the shop, to keep hapless customers on their toes. Not one hard-ass comment was to be heard.

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Bikes!

- 3 Torched Tots. Trek *yawn*. Fisher *yawn, yawn*. There was a Serotta steel frame hanging from the rafters though, dressed to the nines with good quality Shimano stuff, as if to indicate that there were more exciting options available for the high-dollar crowd.

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Folks!

- 3 Torched Tots. Two people asked me for help, albeit in a robotic manner that said obligation more than solicitation. Bonus points for the dirty minded old dude still on the job. Props Pops!
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Fuzzy Feeling!
- 2 Crispy Kids. Not much feel good. Gator Cycle has always been about business. That's the reputation. Without the Tech Shop goodies and little colored anodized bits for sale, that's even harder to take. Nobody said I had a hard ass either...

Tally 'em up, Mr. Fire Marshall!

- 2 Crispy Kids for Gator Cycle!... "Der azzez are so haaad!"


Gator Cycle
3321 SW Archer Rd

3 comments:

Steve said...

"Der azzez are so haaad!"

You say it like it's a bad thing.

I bet this guy makes a ton of money just because his shop is named after the Gators and all the UF loyalists feel compelled to go there.

Utahdog! said...

ha!

Hey, I'm all in favor for hard asses all around...but I'm not sure that I'd sell a bike seat with that catch phrase, and I'd sure not direct it toward a group of 19-20 year old college students, describing other 19-20 year old college students, if I were 60! The creepy part of the exchange is the inflection and the hand gesture...No retailer should reference sex that specifically to make a sale. Calvin Klein wouldn't have been that creepy.

You don't sell sport bras by saying "all my girlz uze deez, but den again, der bewbers ah so haaaad!" Some things should just be left out of the dialog surrounding bicycles.

As for the Gators tag in use, I wonder how he gets around the royalties and infringement issue. Does he cut a check to the NCAA? Does a cut of his proffit go to student athletics funding? He's not even the sponsor for the UF cycling team, that's Chain Reaction.

Steve said...

I'm sure there's a court ruling somewhere that says businesses can use that name...I dunno.