Bicycle Mechanics - Cheapest LBS repair I ever experienced.
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Of course, most of us know a friendly LBS who will do the occassional fix - no charge. Usually, this is done by a shop owner who we know and frequent. Naturally, if work is done on a chargeable basis, however, even simple repairs can add up.
Two weeks ago I was in China going for a spin on my 28" wheeled, rod-brake single speed "Chairman Mao" style bicycle.
I store my bike at a hotel which I frequent. THIS TIME, I noticed that someone has been riding papa bear's bicycle when he is away. The brakes were worn and the left pedal was sqawking. No big deal. I am happy somebody is enjoying my bicycle hospitality. If it wears out, I will buy another brand new for $35.00
I brought the bike to a local repair man parked conveniently at the side of the road. He made the adjustments and repairs immediately - swift and competent. He lubricated a couple of points too just to be nice.
The total cost: 1 RMB = US$ 0.12. That's right - twelve cents!
I tipped him another twelve cents and was quite the dapper fellow in the neighborhood for my generosity.
I'm glad you tipped him. That's a nice story.
My LBS owner seems reluctant to charge me. Actually asking for payment seems to be somewhat distateful to him. He always seems to apply some sort of discount to my purchases.
For my part, I ignore his posted prices when I shop and tend not to comparison shop or go online for items I know he has.
08-28-02, 12:04 PM
I generally get cheap repairs (A rarety in this expensive town) but I usually tip with the local custom.
15 pack of beer for them to party with. I get wicked service from the best shop in town.
08-28-02, 12:05 PM
You know that it is acceptable too show up at closing time....sit and ice cold six pack on the counter, say "thanks guys", and leave!
Originally posted by 1oldRoadie
You know that it is acceptable too show up at closing time....sit aan ice cold six pack on the counter, say thanks guys, and leave!
I am afraid that if I left an armload of beer with the street-side repairman in China, he might have missed two days of work - and that wouldn't be good for anybody.
From a different angle, I was riding up to the store for some bread with my one year old son in the child carrier. The bike was one of my beater fleet an old Roland hybrid. Well as I was crossing the parking lot from the store, my rear tire blew out. I also happened to be right next to the local bike shop. We had just moved to town and I had never been in their store. I have lots of tires and tubes in my garage so I went in and asked to use the phone so I could call for a ride. The owner said we fix bikes here, I said I know but I only have one dollar on me, may I just use the phone please, his reply we take credit cards too. I figured well I guess in order to use the phone I had to let him fix the bike and then charge the repair. Final bill $35.00 US. I almost lost it, but regained enough composure to say "that was one expensive phone call". I never have gone back. Actually if I ever come across a large sum of money I will open a shop next store and make it my mission to put them out of buisness.
08-30-02, 06:43 AM
My LBS is like everyone's except DonTx's.
I know everyone there, and feel really comfortable around them [and vice-versa]. It often happens that I'll stop by the shop for a minutes -- for tubes, parts, whatever -- and my bike will disappear. The head wrench has taken it down to the pit for a minor adjustment. They won't let me pay for this... But my bike keeps running smoothly...
DonTx's post was sad but educational. My guess is that the shop won't stay open. If it does, he lives in a town that needs a legitimate bicycle shop.
I work on lots of old bikes from the 1960's to present. It amazes me the vast number of bike shop name stickers on the bikes - all from this one city. Most of them went out of business. Some I recognize from the past, some I wonder why I never heard of them.
Of course, some do become successful and last for many years. These are the shops that work with passion and are connected with their customers. It doesn't mean they do everything for free or below cost, but they know how to treat customers so they feel special.
I actually felt sorry about posting that because I have had mostly good experiences with my local bike shops in the past. I did not mean to give the typical LBS a bad name, and I do not think that anyone took it that way, but just in case.
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