Bike Shop Hijinks!

April 5, 2009

DuWayne Brayton posted today about what a fucking pain in the ass it is for a well-trained repairperson to have to clean up after the fuck-ups of amateurs who get in over their heads. This got me reminiscing about hanging around in my buddy’s bike shop shooting the shit with him and his mechanic all afternoon every Saturday and Sunday.

Every fucking Saturday, there’d be a parade of mooks coming in and asking for some obscure part that you could just tell the motherfucker had no idea how to install correctly. Then each of these dumbasses would return for another part, and then another. We would all be taking bets on when they would bring the fucking bike in to get it fixed properly.

When the mook finally returned with the bike, the conversation would invariably start like this: “I’ve just about got this thing fixed, but I just need this one little bit of help. Do you have such-and-such tool?” The owner was a sarcastic former Euro-pro, and he would roll his eyes and say, “We do have that tool, but we don’t offer help. We do have a professional mechanic who can fix your bike. We charge for parts and time.”

There would then be three different possible outcomes: (1) The dude would be relieved and just turn the bike over. (2) The dude would sort of try to follow the bike back into the work area, as if it were going to be a collaborative effort, but would be physically cut off in no uncertain terms by my buddy (let’s just say he was never a great climber). (3) The dude would storm out in a huff.

The outcome #3 dudes always sheepishly returned on Sunday to turn the bike over for proper repair. And the shit that some of these assholes did to their bikes was horrifying, including totally stripping pedal/crank and bottom bracket threads because they had no concept of backwards threading.

I miss hanging out there.


12 Responses to “Bike Shop Hijinks!”

  1. Miss Outlier Says:

    I see the same thing at my brother’s “bike” shop, where people bring in their quads and motorcycles. For just the reasons you say, I never, ever skimp on a good mechanic for any equipment I’m unsure about…

  2. For all my cycling experience, my repair knowledge consists of being able to change a flat tyre and getting a slipped chain back on the chainrings. Beyond that, I’m happy to get the pros at the bike shop to do everything else – even down to degreasing and lubing the chain. Hmmm … might be allowed to return to cycling at the end of the summer so maybe I should think about getting my bike serviced … but I should probably wait until I can lift it in and out of the car first …

  3. scribbler50 Says:

    If this isn’t too much of a reach there is a parallel in my business (bartending) that addresses this kind of stuff…. people trying to get something for nothing. It’s when people say, instead of “yes” when I ask them if they’d like another say, “Ahh, no… just top me off, okay?” Meaning just kinda refill my three-quarter empty drink for zippo.

    An actor friend of mine and former bartender, a guy named Lou Mustillo, wrote a great line for this kind of bullshit in an off-Broadway one-man show he did called “Bartenders”. When someone asks to be “topped-off” he says, “Hey, Pal, if I do top you off you’re payin’ for the whole drink, okay? I mean, can you check into the Waldorf for a fuckin’ nap?”

  4. leigh Says:

    things get even scarier, and downright dangerous, when this happens on motor vehicles. why people insist on fucking with their brakes when they’re clueless is just beyond me.

    or the idiot who comes in with some head-up-the-ass used oil analysis, asking why he’s got high ppm’s of sodium in his oil. well, dumbfuck, it may have to do with the fact that you drilled a hole in your engine block in the wrong place, and your totally unnecessary OIL bypass filter (on your toyota sedan, give me a fucking break) is also a COOLANT bypass filter. congratulations.

  5. bikemonkey Says:

    who the fuck kidnapped this blog????

    Bikes???????? WTF?

  6. This is why I’m too intimidated to try and fix anything myself. I even took a multi-day course on bike repair. I learned how to do it all myself…and that I do not own and cannot afford most of the necessary tools…which is why I love my mechanic. Dude’s a little off but he does an awesome job and I’m generally happy to pay him for it.

  7. TomJoe Says:

    Sadly enough, I did this with my car once (tried to replace the radiator myself). Fortunately, my repairman didn’t take offense and only charged me $60 to fix my mess (couldn’t even close the hood because the radiator was half-in/half-out). I learned my lesson though, and now I just go to him without even contemplating a repair on my own.

  8. DuWayne Says:

    Bike repairs were something I just had to learn, because I tend to go through wheels and frames pretty regular like (at least when I’m actually biking regularly). Back in the day, I had really nice pertinent bits and whenever I managed to trash yet another frame, I would dutifully switch them to the next one – usually acquired through university salvage (also a great wheel supplier). Unfortunately, the last one I put them on got stolen, when someone recognized what was on the rather uglified frame was very expensive – least ways I assume that was the case, because I went out of my way to make my bikes look fucking ugly.

    All right, now I really need to get back to my fucking paper…

  9. alby Says:

    My asshole brother used to always try to fix his motherfucking bikes after he destroyed them. It drove me fucking nuts!11!1!! He’d be banging on the fork with a goddamn hammer and some shit while I’d be trying to sleep. Asshole.

  10. Fixer Says:

    I’ve been writing about the DIY crowd for 5 years. Being a mechanic, I get my share.

  11. I am proud to say I can (largely) service my own bike. But I leave bottom brackets to the pros. They’ve got serious shit to loosen those thing without stripping, which I don’t have. Thank goodness for good bike mechanics!

  12. One Eyed Marlo Says:

    Hey! I learned a new word today!

    Thanks Dickhead!

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