Monday, March 26, 2012

Let's Go To The Shop

You never know what to expect when you volunteer for a shift at "BikeWorks".   An older dude might come in with an 1980's department store bike in terrible condition.  Frayed shifter cables, worn out brake pads, a chain that needs replacing and everything coated in motor oil (one of the reasons I wear disposable mechanics gloves).

A twenty something university student with a bike that she had bought from us last year and wanting some help tuning it up will come in and meekly put the bike up on the repair stand.  Too shy to ask for help, she'll putter with the bike until one of us mechanics sees that she needs assistance.

You see a lot of afficionados with well tuned and immaculate machines who don't need any help but after watching you dart about the shop fixing this and advising on that, they will pull you aside with an arcane question like "Wouldn't you say that the 46/16 on my mountain bike and the 52/12 on my Moulton are the same as the 53/19 or 39/14 on my road racer?"

Or the fellow who pulls in with an arm load of gear consisting of a new rear cassette, a new chain, a sealed bottom bracket, new front and rear derailleurs with fifteen minutes left on the clock before we close for the day.  It's up to the shop's lead mechanic to inform him that with so little time until closing that he might as well not start on any repairs at all.  Which ten times out of nine means that he'll ignore your advice and begin anyway - which also means that you'll be lucky to leave the shop by 5:30 and then have to race home on your bike so that you won't have a pouting spouse and a home filled with smoke and the smell of a burnt dinner wafting through the air that sets off the insistent blare of the smoke detector.