Monthly Archives: January 2011

Day 1 of the “New” Chain Reaction

Last night my brother Steve and I introduced the first of many changes, some procedural, some physical, that you’ll see at Chain Reaction this year. From the front page of our website-


  • Free tune-ups on derailleurs, brakes & wheels for life on all new bike purchases. While you wait!
  • 7 day low-price guarantee on all new bikes!
  • Buy-back program on all new kids bikes!

There are many more reasons to buy from Chain Reaction Bicycles, including discounts on accessories when you buy your bike, our dynamic fit services (we’ll swap out the stem on your road or mountain bike anytime in the first year, not just when you buy the bike), our expert assembly, tremendous inventory and 31 years of doing business so we can honestly say we’ve done business with your parents, with you and your kids. We won’t be undersold, and we’ve never been outclassed. 2011 is going to be a great year for Chain Reaction and our customers!

What does this mean?

Free tune-ups on derailleurs, brakes & wheels for life on all new bike purchases. While you wait! It’s taken us a while to react to the “free tune-ups” being offered by some shops, believing that customers could see through it, especially as we continue to work on many bikes, paid repairs, that customers could have taken back for their “free tune up.” You can read the reviews of work performed by such shops and the truth becomes rapidly apparent, but other shops just saying they did “free tune-ups” was costing us sales. We, on the other hand, have done more “free” work on bikes we’ve sold than any such shop, handling adjustments of brakes, derailleurs and wheels on the spot, at no charge. So instead of defense and trashing other shops (never a good idea), we’re going on the offense and redefining what we do, both in words and procedure. We are confident that we are doing more for you and your bike. Always have, always will. The other guys will no longer win the battle of words though!

7 day low-price guarantee on all new bikes! If you buy a current-model bike from us and you find it in stock locally at a lower price, we will refund you the difference. We will not be undersold!

Buy-back program on all new kids bikes! This one’s pretty cool. We know that kids grow out of bikes, and we know that the bikes we sell are quite a bit better, and quite a bit more expensive, than what you find at a department store. Our bikes will typically survive several kids, while in some cases a kid has a tough time surviving a department store bike! So to make it easy to understand that you get a better bike without having to spend more, we’ll buy the bike back when the kid outgrows it. For up to 3 years, we’ll give a credit of 30% what you paid for it, less the cost of new tires if needed, towards a new bike! Obviously the bike can’t be a pile of rust, but we’ll be reasonable about normal wear & tear.

It’s going to take some time fine-tuning everything, so things will get added to this, things may change slightly, but the intention is obvious. In a bass-ackwards way, we’re backing up our deeds with words.

It’s incredibly self-serving for me to say this, but we’ve always worked hard at being the best-possible place to buy a bike… or anything else. We’ve always made the extra effort to take care of our customers when something wasn’t quite right, we’ve always tried to be as reasonable on pricing as we could, we’ve always acted like anything purchased from us was still “ours” and we were still responsible for it, years later.  But these days, that’s not enough. You have to master social media, you have to train your staff to better understand that people coming into the store aren’t “just looking” (wanting to waste time driving many miles, finding a place to park, just for fun? Don’t think so!), but want a solution to something, and it’s our job to provide that solution.

I think we’ve earned the right to sell you your next bike. Now we’re going to make sure you think so, too. Today, tomorrow, and many years from now.  –Mike–

Asian Chicken Salad… again… Farrels, and other stories about buildings & food. Or is it just 63 songs about Joe?

Going to Togos next door for my always-the-same lunch, Asian Chicken Salad and a medium drink, is a constant reminder of two things. First, my never-ending battle to keep my weight reasonable and second, that I am comfortable with rituals and routine. This is no surprise to my family; since the beginning of time, I’ve eaten things on my plate one thing at a time. By that I mean, if, say, it’s Thanksgiving and we’ve got Turkey, peas, carrots, salad and a potato dish, I’ll

Observed from Togos, a woman texting from a wheelchair across the street. Was she waiting to be picked up by someone? Downloading the 10 billionth iPhone app? Or just seeing if the outside world was still there?

eat all of one item until it’s gone before moving on to the next. This drives them nuts sometimes. So I have a process for eating. Why is that wrong? Keep in mind that, just because you have a ritual or routine, it doesn’t mean everything is the same. Whether it’s my Tuesday/Thursday-morning ride or getting the same Asian Chicken Salad from Togos, I always look for something new & different. Sometimes that’s a challenge, but I think that’s a function of a stale mind, not lack of the new & interesting. Today it was the woman viewed from across El Camino, texting from a wheelchair. What’s the story?

The other thing my family can’t figure out is why I’m done (eating) so quickly, but to me, eating is something you get out of the way so you can move on to the things that need to get done. Yes, it’s important to spend time with the family, hear about Kevin’s day at school, Becky talking about the new car she wants to get (Honda Civic automatic, why automatic, sticks are so much more fun?), and Karen wonder why all the stuff that needs to get done around the house isn’t getting done. The usual “How did your day go dear?” doesn’t really apply when 3/4th of the family ends up working together. Continue reading Asian Chicken Salad… again… Farrels, and other stories about buildings & food. Or is it just 63 songs about Joe?