Category Archives: Shop news

News about Chain Reaction Bicycles

Yelp and reviews… Can they be trusted?

paidyelpHad to take the train to SF to visit the Passport Agency this morning; on my way back, walking through Sequoia Station, a sign in a store window caught my eye. Yikes. Hard to believe a major chain is openly soliciting for “positive” Yelp reviews! We’ve heard stories…  even within the bike biz. But this? In a store window? Yelp’s pretty darned clear about what isn’t allowed.

“Please let us know if you stumble upon a business that is trying to boost its reputation by paying people (or offering freebies or discounts) to write positive reviews. You can help us spread the word that paying for positive reviews not only isn’t ethical, but can also be illegal.  We work hard to warn consumers about the businesses we catch paying for biased reviews.”

What really surprises me is that a sign like this wouldn’t cause some to wonder about claims they might be making for the products they sell about “natural ingredients” or quality in general. Once you put up a sign saying that you’ll offer discounts for positive reviews, essentially buying them, what credibility do you have left?

Regarding our own reviews, with the exception of a few easy-to-spot “out there” negative reviews, for the most part, we’ve earned them. The good, and the bad. If we screwed up, we’re going to do whatever we can to make it right. But, because a bad review can really rattle you, I make it a point to not even look at Yelp after 1pm or so, just to make sure I have a chance to really look into it and respond appropriately before going home. Otherwise, it can become something you literally lose sleep over.

It took a long time to get to the point where I didn’t reflexively view Yelp as evil, and use it as part of the process for making Chain Reaction Bicycles a better place. That’s why it’s so disheartening to see that people are still engage in manipulating the results.

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Sometimes you get the bear. Sometimes the bear gets you. When do I get the bear?

From Tuesday's ride up Kings.
From Tuesday’s ride up Kings.

Sorry for the recent lack of entries. It’s been pretty hectic (surprising for this time of year, but people are apparently mowing their weeds and finding all sort of old rusty bikes in need of replacement but it takes a very long time to convince them that it’s not reasonable to expect something left outside for quite a few years is going to run well for $50…), but I’ve been riding as usual. Well, not entirely as much as usual. Somehow I got talked into being driven to work on Monday, so I missed a commute.

More lost time yesterday as the SF Chronicle sent a photographer by to get photos for a story they ran today on the tacks & nails found on Kings Mountain. This followed an interview on KCBS a couple days prior, that came from a belief I might be a reasonable person to talk to after a post I’d made in the Portola Valley Almanac. My 5 minutes of fame I guess? Or is the “shooting star” analogy better… a bright light followed by disintegration. Hope not!

Tuesday’s ride was actually pretty nice. I felt OK; we had fresh meat (Emil, a new employee in our Redwood City store), Marcus showed up to give Kevin a rabbit to catch, and we finished the ride pretty much on schedule, so I couldn’t have been that slow.

Today… that’s another matter entirely. There was no indication, heading out on the ride, that anything was amiss. I felt pretty decent going over Jefferson. But as soon as we started climbing through the Park, it was over. Put a fork in me, I’m done. Breathing… sucked. Power… sucked. Heart Rate… wouldn’t rise. I have not felt such lack of power in years. Nothing changed in my routine, other than getting to watch people ride away from me on the climbs earlier than usual. Eric dropped back to keep me company; couldn’t have been much fun for him, as I’m struggling to put out 240-250 watts, a good 30-40 shy of normal. Up on Skyline, I was telling Kevin (my son, not the pilot) that, on this ride, he needed to encourage me to do the whole ride and not bail early!

Kevin being helped up after a seizure on West Old LaHonda
Kevin being helped up after a seizure on West Old LaHonda

Obviously I hung in there, because that’s what I do. I had time to admire the view on West Old LaHonda even more than usual, eventually clawing my way up that final steep ramp to Skyline. Well, sort of. Brief stop in the middle where those ahead of me were tending to Kevin, who’d had a seizure and was just now getting back on his bike.

The good news? I felt much better at the end of the ride than I did earlier. Just as it should be.

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