An Open Letter to the Management of “Mellow Johnny’s” Bike Shop

03.19.2008 | 6:06 am

A Note from Fatty: I’ve got a new article in BikeRadar today. You can read a snippet below, or click here to read the whole thing.

Dear Mr. Mellow Johnny,

I am writing to complain about an experience I recently had when I visited your store, shopping for a bike. I have no complaints about the decor or cleanliness of the store itself; it seemed quite pleasant.

My complaint has to do with the service I received.

As soon as I arrived, I saw one of your employees and approached him. "I’m looking for a bike, Lance," I said. I knew his name was Lance, by the way, because his name tag said so.

Well, I don’t mind saying that Lance looked me up and down with the coolest, most appraising look I have ever seen. "What kind of bike?" he asked, after an uncomfortable silence.

"I hear good things about the Specialized brand," I replied. "And I’d like to get something really nice, so I have as much as $450 to spend."

You will be as shocked as I was, Mr. Johnny, to find that this Lance character turned around without saying another word and walked away.

The nerve!

Click here to continue reading "A complaint to Mellow Johnny’s Bike Shop" over at

PS: Both Susan and I were amazed at the huge number of nice comments to yesterday’s post. Thanks to all of you who have been — and continue to — pray, meditate, think good thoughts, and otherwise show kindness.


  1. Comment by Lori | 03.19.2008 | 6:17 am

    Ah, Fatty! What a funhouse your mind is!

    PS – A big HUZZAH! to Susan!

  2. Comment by mark | 03.19.2008 | 6:22 am

    Maybe mellow johnny’s will pick up giant and display them on a floor just below their trek lineup. If that Lance character does get fired, make sure and send him a basket of apples.

  3. Comment by Bob | 03.19.2008 | 6:48 am

    The nerve of some people. Your best bet is to just steer clear of bike shops all together. I here Walmart carries bikes and has good customer service.

  4. Comment by Bob | 03.19.2008 | 6:50 am

    Sorry, I meant “hear” their wear I said “here”

  5. Comment by rich | 03.19.2008 | 6:52 am

    What kind of name is Lance anyway for a bike salesman? Shouldn’t he be over at the golf store or the tennis pro shop?

  6. Comment by Weiland | 03.19.2008 | 6:57 am

    It sounds like Manager Lance from Dick’s Sporting goods has found a new job at Mellow Johnny’s . When my swag shows up and Mellow Johnny’s opens I’ll give you an update on this Lance employee and maybe a picture or two of your swag in Mellow Johnny’s.

  7. Comment by bikemike | 03.19.2008 | 7:05 am

    yeah,we just read in the industry mag yesterday that mr.armstrong is opening his new trek store within a five mile radius of two other trek stores, one of which has had trek for fifteen years. interesting, to say the least.

    it’s truly a tough world, business wise, out there.

  8. Comment by Weiland | 03.19.2008 | 7:06 am

    I think when Lance mentioned the Apples he was in fact trying to upsell you on an Apple iPod nano. Gotta watch those fast talking sales guys.

  9. Comment by Don ( | 03.19.2008 | 7:06 am

    Excellent as always, my friend! Only problem is I found myself laughing hysterically at work with employees looking on like I was on drugs.

  10. Comment by Jared | 03.19.2008 | 7:09 am

    I’m looking forward to it opening up. Hopefully by then this Lance character will have been talked to and hopefully reprimanded for his actions toward you!

    Maybe I’ll ride there on my Specialized…just for you Fatty!

  11. Comment by the greg | 03.19.2008 | 7:29 am

    come on guys! what’s it, like 14 Tour wins. he’s earned the rite to do whatever he wants. of course, his best work was in “Dodgeball”. i still hate trek for not letting us get stickers when we painted the wife’s 6000

  12. Comment by Anonymous | 03.19.2008 | 7:50 am

    Fatty is witty, no doubt, but it took Bob exactly 2 minutes (from 6:48 to 6:50) to formulate this masterpiece that probably went largely unnoticed. (Sorry, I meant “hear” their wear I said “here”) Well done!

  13. Comment by Harp | 03.19.2008 | 8:18 am


  14. Comment by The D | 03.19.2008 | 8:31 am

    Sorry but if you live in Austin and sell Treks, you have to see this coming. As soon as Lance retirement loomed, I would have been trying to hook up with indy fabricators and the uber-custom world as the only way to stay ahead.

    You don’t get future entitlement for having done a lot for the brand and cycling generally. What, Lance hasn’t earned a right to capitalize on his preeminence in Texas re: bikes generally and Trek specifically?

    At least he’s not just pointlessly hawking underwear and Charlotte Bobcats tickets like Michael Jordan.

    Lance creates more passion for cycling in this country than anyone else. I’m glad he’s vested in its continued growth. I felt the same about LeMond, and I feel the same about Hincapie’s many enterprises.

    Seriously, cyclists now have celebrity to leverage in the general public. How cool is that?! What other type of athlete/entertainers do as much good with their celeb!

  15. Comment by db | 03.19.2008 | 8:47 am

    “Elden Nelson blogs as The Fat Cyclist most weekdays, where he’s been known to occasionally miss the whole point of things.

    I didn’t realize that we’d been separated at birth.

  16. Comment by bikemike | 03.19.2008 | 8:49 am

    The D
    true’s definately not a what you’ve done for me in the past business formula the bike industry abides by. don’t know if it’s the same in every other type business.
    what would happen if everybody won a couple of tours and opened their own shop. o.k. bad example, it’ll never happen. never mind.

  17. Comment by KT | 03.19.2008 | 9:25 am

    Lance spends his evenings calling people during dinner to push the Livestrong rides. I know, because I got a call last night.

    He said (after a long pause), as his opening, “Hey.”

    I’ve got it saved on our answering machine, because it’s not everyday Lance calls your house.

  18. Comment by TomE | 03.19.2008 | 9:37 am

    I too got a call from Lance last night and it took me a moment to realize it was a recording. I got all excited that LANCE was calling ME!!!

  19. Comment by Clydesteve | 03.19.2008 | 9:49 am

    That stinker – I raise funds every year for his cause, and he never calls me.

    To be fair, he gave me a set of those fancy sunglasses with a O on the side in 2003 after a Tour of Hope ride. And that was out of his pocketses, unadvertized swag. He is kind of skinny & short, though.

  20. Comment by axel | 03.19.2008 | 10:58 am

    right now the service at mellow johnnies is poor, you have to wait a few months before someone takes care of you – I think they will open in the summer.

    the cool part is – it is 3 blocks from where I work.
    I hope it will help promote more ‘bike culture’.

    One more store should not upset the bike business in town – there are already 2 triathlon stores selling high end bikes, one big local store, and an outdoor clothing store that sells bikes (REI) within a mile of Mellow Johnnies. Plenty more within 5 miles (ranging from the BMX shop to national chain Performance). As long as Lances store can inspire some of the new residents of downtown Austin’s new apartment towers to bike more, it will all work out.

  21. Comment by Mike Roadie | 03.19.2008 | 11:28 am

    I got the phone call, too. It’s actually the second time, and it tricked me both times!

    Did it say in the Austin article that Mellow Johnny is a play on “maillot jaune” (yellow shirt)?

    I chased Lance around the Ride for the Roses last year. His group of 20 “bodyguards” playfully paced at the front of the ride until the hills and sharp turns came….then they did, indeed, hit the boosters and took off! Later, I was at a rest stop (sorry, “Power Break”) and their “train” roared on through. Retired or not, he can lap us in an Austin Minute!!!

    Live Strong!!

  22. Comment by Sprocketboy | 03.19.2008 | 12:19 pm

    I wish that salesgirl Sheryl would come back.

  23. Comment by KanyonKris | 03.19.2008 | 12:32 pm

    First, hurray to you and Susan for the downgrading of your medical issues! I was going to comment yesterday, but the comment count was already over 90 so I felt the congratulations point had been made.

    How do you come up with this stuff? I guess you have a fertile imagination and mine is more barren – but then I like the desert, good riding and no puncture thorns, but the sand …

  24. Comment by Dobovedo | 03.19.2008 | 1:19 pm

    hahahahahahahahahahahahahaha :crying: hahahhahahahahahahahahaahaha

  25. Comment by Big Mike In Oz | 03.19.2008 | 2:10 pm

    I had a similar experience recently when shopping for a car in Monaco.

    All I wanted was a Fiat Punto but the salesman, named Jan (a girls name at the best of times), kept trying to usher me over to the red F430 in the parking lot. It was a used car and while I certainly liked the look of his sporty number I wanted something a little more utilitarian; and I definitely didn’t want to buy something used. To humour him I went for a spin around the block in it and as we pulled up at a red light he said “I know why you’re really here. Here’s what you want to buy.” and opened the glove compartment and offered me a foil of white powder.

    I returned to the store and told his boss that I had already bathed today and offering me talcum powder was an inexcusable insult.

  26. Pingback by Fort Orange Cycling » Links of the Day: 19 March 2008 | 03.19.2008 | 2:18 pm

    [...] An Open Letter to the Management of “Mellow Johnny’s” Bike Shop (Fat Cyclist) [...]

  27. Comment by FlatsMan | 03.19.2008 | 4:31 pm

    This might be the same Lance fellow who at the Ride for the Roses in 1999, told me “Hey, nice Pinarello”, as he and about 30 of his pro rider pals, including E Merckx, M Indurain, G LeMond, S Kelly and others passed me on the way into Austin, TX at the end of the century.

    They were riding about 30 miles per hour, laughing and chatting. They had about 1o miles to the end of the 100. I was holding a respctable 20 and approaching the end of a metric.

  28. Comment by Duane | 03.19.2008 | 8:41 pm

    I’m an idiot. Didn’t know Lance had a bike shop.

    At first I thought this was a story making fun of bike shop douche bags. I was given the same look when I told the dude at a local bike shop my budget was $2500. He told me no way I could buy any of the Specialized MTB for less than 5K.

  29. Comment by Primal | 03.19.2008 | 11:54 pm

    Arhh yes… the bike shop with more than a touch of attitude.

    Well they have seen my back and will never see my wallet. I prefer the trusted shop where the service is good and the B*llsh1t is set to zero. I like advice and some direction when in a store. To be left to make your own choice with no pressure when you are about to spend some serious cash. Nothing gets up my nose more than a shop assistant touting information that you know is incorrect.

    I myself research all parts before walking into a store. I have found myself (not being able to hold my tongue) telling the said “Retail expert” that he was “full of it”.

    We are all educated in modern technologies and research is easy.

    NOTE: Message to the world of bike shops, don’t try sell me Shimano… yes, yes it may be good for some but this cyclist is a Campagnolo man! Sorry raised that way.

  30. Comment by fixedgear | 03.20.2008 | 10:15 am

    Heh, good one.

  31. Comment by Robert | 05.17.2008 | 8:02 pm

    There are some sweet art bikes in Mellow Johnny’s built by Artist Fatmark.
    There is an awesome red lowrider and white cruiser with custom tooled seat bringing a little bit of the LBC to Austin. Check them out they are sweet.
    They are really livin fat.

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