531colin wrote:Thats ridiculous. 5' 9" is reckoned to be average male height. Now I'm in my seventies I have to wear shoes to measure 5' 9".(...I used to be 5' 10" in my socks.) More than half the population is under 5'9" tall.
Anybody who can't fit somebody 5' 8" is either incompetent, not interested or so dazzled by the latest fashion they can't see whats important.
Were these "bike shops" staffed by smirking teenage boys who think its funny to be rude and unhelpful ? I see no purpose in trying to support a cycle shop if its dysfunctional.
I think you have been cycling long enough to know whats important for you. Just get out the geometry tables and find a frame which is capable of getting the saddle and bars where you want them relative to the bottom bracket, and thats most of the job done. Then front centre (if overlap is important to you) BB drop (if getting a toe down is important to you) tyre clearance and perhaps chainstay length. (Have a look at a website called "Geometry geeks" lots of geometries already input by enthusiasts....I suspect you will be better able to work the website than me)
I can design a bike to fit somebody 5' nothing, with drop bars and 700c wheels. I am not a genius, its not that hard. However, I can't do it using forks with fashionable 45mm offset, and it doesn't have a fashionable 1000mm wheelbase.
TBH, I think that the main problem was that they saw I was a woman, and decided that meant I needed a woman's bike, of which they had only hybrids in stock. Also, I generally take one size smaller (or shorter top tube) than my height might suggest because I have a relatively short body, which means the smallest men's size doesn't always suit me due to reach.
Unfortunately, it's not only teenage boys that have done this sort of thing; men of all ages have. They were mostly earnest, occasionally dismissive, and a couple of times overtly sexist. I have always managed to get what I needed in the end, but it wasn't as easy as just walking into any old bike shop. IMO, only a proportion of the bike shops that serve men well, also serve women well. Mostly, they have not given it thought & consideration, and made an effort to serve women well. This is in some ways understandable given the historic lack of inclusion, the marketing by companies that provide parts & services to cycle shops, and an inherently sexist society, but understandable doesn't mean it is excusable. I do find it is very much better in shops where they have women on staff and/or involved in the business, or where they are involved in local initiatives to get people cycling, inclusive cycling, family cycling, etc. I also have experienced less of this in Norway than I did in the US or UK.
I'm not currently in the market for a bike. I'm quite happy with the current collection, and we've got a couple of decent LBSs, though the last couple of bikes I bought for myself were both used.