Wednesday, January 27, 2010

Partly Cloudy with a Flurry... Of BIKES

A warm wet day followed by a warm sunny day destroyed most of the cross-country skiing on Monday and Tuesday. The weather hasn't really cooled much today, either.

On this sunny morning I arrived at work to find a mountain bike hanging in the work stand. A note on another repair ticket informed me that the owner of that bike had moved his deadline closer, so it was now urgent as well.

As I planned my morning, in walked a teenage lad inexplicably at large from any of the local educational institutions.

"Can you put a chain on my mountain bike?" he asked. When someone of that age asks that question they mean right away. And, as always, further questioning and a look at the bike revealed that it needed more than just a chain. He had, however, done a spectacular rattle-can paint job, with all kinds of swirlies and stuff. I complimented him on it. I sold him a chain and a chain tool, and put out the air hose so he could inflate his tires. He looked like the type who might develop some mechanical skills.

I don't like working on things out of season. It's not that I can't handle the change. It's just a bitch working around a bike stuffed into a forest of hanging skis. It's also tricky working on the clean bench with greasy bike substances. Then I have to test ride the bike in the sandy, icy, wind-swept parking lot. It's harder to concentrate on the little noises and subtle cues with a frosty breeze hissing in my ear hairs.

We keep fewer parts in stock this time of year, too. That may make sense from a bean-counting point of view, but your winter rider is someone who doesn't want to go without the bike. That's why they ride all year. They are more eager than the fair weather rider to get things running again.

This guy with the mountain bike wants to replace a dilapidated first-generation Judy with a rigid fork. You'd think that would be cheap and easy. Unfortunately, we have nothing left in our dusty fork pile. Far East, the parts supplier in Maine, only has something ridiculously upscale in rigid steel. This project will have to wait until I hunt down your basic chrome jumper special.


Steve A said...

Thanks for the reminder. Must take the road bike in to get it worked on while I don't really care if it takes them a while. I can put the commuter bike work off until the light gets better and I ride the road bike to work.

Urgency is partly a matter of planning...

cafiend said...

If we didn't do the ski thing I would be ecstatic to see service work. With the winters all punky, I sometimes think that it would be nice to work in a pure cycling shop, so I would have an off season for overhauls and special projects that get crowded out in peak riding season. For now the shop and I continue to farm each season as we can.