Anything with spoked wheels or pedals or a chain drive is liable to show up at the repair shop. If any part or parts remind someone of a bicycle, the bike shop must know how to fix it.
Bike mechanics being habitual improvisers, we usually can figure it out. And we tend to work cheap, because our skills are not valued in society.
Most of the people who bring in weird stuff don't buy bikes from bike shops. If they bring us a bike
it's something from a department store. But when they have nowhere else
to turn, the bike shop seems like the place to find help.
Yesterday, a woman brought in the wheels from her manure cart. They radiate the rich, earthy smell of a livestock barn, from years of steeping in a mixture of animal bowel contents, urine, and soiled bedding. I'm considering removing the old tires with a torch.
At the same time we see the constant inflow of garden cart wheels, mini bike chains and re-purposed cables of all sorts, we also get the sneering inquiries of self-styled aficionados in both road and mountain biking, interviewing us to check our credentials. We have to serve each of the parts of cycling that considers itself the heart of it, in order to support the whole. We have to keep up with the workload of relatively ordinary repairs. And, increasingly, we have to be "nice."
Nice is nice, in moderation, as long as it doesn't come at the expense of honesty and competence. In fact, nice people make me really nervous. I keep waiting for them to crack. Most of them do, eventually, and it's never pretty. I'll take neutrality any day over too much niceness. Kinda sorta friendly works. Even mildly abrasive can have its charms.