Design advice in the bike shop

The other day I found myself in a bike shop, in Park Slope. Mark was in heaven for his triathlon hobby, getting shoes and a helmet.  There was a really fun vibe – the sales guys riffing off each other, joking with regular customers. This sense everyone in this shop knew each other.  Last time I bought a bike it was a cheapO Kmart one, I’ve never been fitted for one.  Didn’t even know you could be.  At the BCC gym, I remember being told the seat should be around your hip height when standing, but apart from that, this was a new world to me.

Mark got measured.  They measure height, inner leg seam, length of torso and length of arms.  I was intrigued by it all. Basically Legs gives you height, and torso and arms gives you bike length (reach to handles).

Felix, the friendly chatty guy, gave a passionate ‘lecture’ about how crappy other bike shops were with unskilled sales and people who don’t pay attention to customer needs.  He said this store focussed on individual body and bike symmetry, to give you the best outcome.   Mark was treated as “long legs, shorter torso” giving him a very different bike to the other guy was “long torso, short legs”.

This I thought was prefect metaphor for design.  Customer service being critical to design service.  Listening to needs. Paying attention to details.  Working with constraints and unique circumstances. Human-centered design. High awareness to the issues and solutions.

“Always remember to pay attention” was his advice.  True in design as it is in life.  Pay attention.

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