May 5th, 2009

I haven’t had a chance to post anything lately mostly because i’ve been busy working and living. here’s what’s new.
I’ve transitioned to working in the annex on most days.  This is the employees-only back-area where bikes are stored and where there are a few work benches set up for a mechanic to work throughout the day uninterrupted by customer walk-ins.  So I went from doing flat fixes and spoke replaces all day to doing tune-ups all day. No interruptions make a huge difference, The first day went awesomely, i got 6 tune-ups done without a hitch, which i thought was really good for the first day over on the other side.  The next day kind of sucked, though.  i got hung up on a few complicated projects and only got to work on two and a half or three bikes the entire day.  So from now on we are making sure to have me work on relatively straight-forward tuneups while the more experienced guy does the projects.  I somewhat miss seeing and talking to customers, and it’s weird to barely see the boss now, after spending the first 3 or 4 weeks constantly at his side, but on the other hand the pace is much faster, and i am working on setting up the stereo system to play music i bring in.
One thing that happened a little while ago which still lingers with me a bit, was that we had a customer bring in a newer, medium-quality bike into the shop for some quick repair, and when our part-time, recently-hired  mechanic laid eyes on it, he said with a snide tone, “Ahhhhhh…. the [brand] [model]” (the specifics arent important.)  the customer who was wandering the shop, looking at accessories, overheard this and quickly interjected with “its just a beater bike that i don’t wan’t to worry about getting stolen,”  but the truth is this was maybe a one or two year old bike, and maybe it cost four or five hundred dollars, and there was no reason to denigrate the bike and force the customer feel the need to defend about it.  I felt bad for him, it is not cool to have a mechanic condescend your wheels.  Even when people bring in almost undeniably junky bikes and maybe make an excuse on its behalf or otherwise talk negatively about the bike, i try to say something positive, like “see, it’s a mixte, that’s neat,” or “it was made in America, and almost nothing these days is” or “if you took steel wool to that chrome, you’d be surprised at how good it would look.”  something along those lines.  oh well, that whole exchange bothered me but hopefully the customer has thought it over less than i have.
Wrenching fulltime is sculpting my body, for real.  I recently moved and there was a gap between my switching gyms, and after a couple weeks on furlough from lifting weights I was surprised to realize that I was in really good shape, to the point where i don’t need to work my arms, deltoids, or abs at all at the gym.  My metabolism has really picked up and to where being vegetarian/freegan is more or a hardship than before.  I’ve always been lifting weights and/or playing basketball and/or swimming on a daily basis, but seriously almost nothing has compared to wrenching all day every day in terms of affecting me physically, except maybe high school sports back in the day.
Every once in a while we’ll have a regular customer  / shop rat come by around closing time with a 12 pack of cold beer.   Man, nothing hits the spot more than knocking back a cold one with the gang after a day of hard work, especially on the hot days we’ve had.  It’s also an awesome way for a customer to win the affection of his or her bike shop.

Coming soon I hope to write some more article-ly posts about the ups and down of the bike mechanic job, probably less day to day and more geared towards a career outlook,  for the benefit of those people googling “bike mechanic blog ” and coming upon this one.

One Response to “”

  1. huffypuffy Says:

    oh my, bike snobbery again rears its ugly head! this is why some people like to avoid bike shops.

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