Wednesday, March 11, 2009

A good bike shop

I frequent a couple of different bike shops. One is a one man shop that specializes in repair. Anything I can't fix myself, I take to him. Occasionally I buy parts from him, but he seldom has anything in the way of inventory, so I'm often forced to go someplace else when I need a specific thing.

Last night I stopped at my other regular shop, one of two in a chain (Can two stores be a chain? Two points make a line, and a chain is little more than a glorified line, right?). I've purchased many bikes from them, and I know three or four of the people who have been working there for what seems like forever (as an aside, what compels a person to work at (and not own) a bike shop for years on end?).

So last night I rode up to their door, stepped inside and asked if someone didn't have a minute to tighten my headset a scoach (scoach is a unit of measurement). Bruce stepped up, whipped out an Allen key, and offered his immediate assistance.

"Oh," he said. "Your headset top cap is plastic. It's flexing too much. That's why you keep feeling loose. Let me see what I've got."

So he disappeared for a minute and then returned with a couple of different metal caps, figured out which one fit best and then bolted it down. Problem solved.

I said, "Cool, thanks. How much?" He said, "Don't worry about it." And I rode off.

THAT is what makes a good bike shop, a place that knows that the flotsam and jetsam of bike repair, the bits leftover after conversions and upgrades and strip jobs, that those things are the currency of loyalty.

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