General Cycling Discussion - Spanner Monkeys
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09-27-01, 11:04 AM
I went into Action Bikes at lunchtime today to buy a new seatpost. My seatpost is one of the few remaining items from my original Raleigh something.
I've found the seat angle keeps slipping backwards regardless of how tight I fasten it (see my vasectomy thread :D )
The young fixit chap took my seatpost out to make sure the one he was selling me was the right size. This was good. (Although better would have been to put a vernier caliper around mine and measure it)
he then puts my seatpost back and on tightening the seat pin - SNAPS IT!
Inserts new free seatpin of course, but its an indication of the chaps lack of "feel" for threads, he just heaves as hard as he can on every nut and bolt he comes across.
Another reason for home maintenance and servicing.
Yeah, that experience sounds like it's right out of Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
Old line: You pay peanuts, you get monkeys...
Alas, this seems to be a common occurance. You go to a shop, hoping for the help of an experienced mechanic, and they give the job to some young slacker who doesn't know squat. :irritated
If I really wanted a moron to work on my bike, I would take it to the drug-addled idiot down the street (he works on his bike nearly every day, usually using nothing more than a screwdriver, pliers, and a ball-peen hammer. he's unemployed).
The solution is, of course, do it yourself! The money you save will more than pay for the occasional screw-up, you will get the bike fixed quicker, and it will be done to a higher level than you would get from the LBS.
09-27-01, 04:20 PM
[QUOTE]Originally posted by cgonz
[B]Yeah, that experience sounds like it's right out of Pirsig's "Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance".
One of my favourite books. sometimes I read it and it all makes perfect sense, other times I read it and I don't know what planet Pirsig is on.
I don't know if I've already mentioned it on the forums, but I've just finished reading a book called "French Revolutions". Its a must but for any cyclist, I was laffing out loud often.
Synopsis: slobby non-cyclist decides to cycle the 2000 Tour de France route a month before the race.
Also finishe Armstrongs "Its not about the bike" v. inspiring.
Cue thread for best cycling book/biog/novel.
09-28-01, 05:43 AM
D-ALEX, is that really a fair comment you say about the LBS , so you should D.I.Y.........a lot of the bikes I have to "fix",is because a cyclist "tried" to do it for themselves and screwed it up !! go figure Einstein ............. P.S this reply has been edited ,as not to offend innocent forum members,who don't need to read such rubbish as that posted previously by D-ALEX.:irritated
09-28-01, 06:08 AM
eeuuw! handbags! :)
I think D-Alex and bikeaholic actually have the same attitude to mechanics, DIY and shops, just seeing it from either side of the counter.
Bikeaholic - you're obviously a skilled, competent mechanic who sees the balls ups made by ham-fisted DIYers. D-Alex is a skilled competent mechanic who sees the balls ups made by ham-fisted LBS staff.
Many LBS staff are enthusiastic cyclists who want to stay close to the sport. That doesn't necessarily mean they thay are any good with a spanner, or even like mucking about with allen keys and grease, but they do, nevertheless often end up spannering the bikes, coz in a busy shop its all hands to the pump.
Some of these kids will develop the right attitude and temprament and understanding to become a good mechanic. Others will always remain brutes with a spanner.
Perhaps D-Alex whas using too broad a brush when he feels all LBS will trash your bike, but I like generalisations, coz there's always a truth behind them and they often cause spats! :)
Locally, all the bike shops (with the exception of only 1 out of 8) hire high school kids to work as mechanics every summer. Not one of them knows more than how to screw a bolt in! And the advice they give! "Oh, Shimano doesn't make single cogs anymore", or "I hear that Tubasti is the best tubular glue you can buy". Give me a break!!!!
When I worked at a bike shop (I was 16), the owner kept me busy with flat repairs, wheel truing, chain replacements, and a lot of shop cleaning. He did all the more delicat mechanical work. a friend of mine, however, worked at one of the local shops about 5 years ago, when he was 17. They had him building wheels and assembling bikes from kits (he had to do 4 or 5 an hour!!!). He now realises that he didn't know squat back then, and he wonders how many of his "wheelbuilds" have failed, knowing now what he didn't know then.
No, I'm not sorry about what I said, at least as it concerns my local shops. A mechanic in any one of them starts at $6.50/hour. What kind of quality are you going to get for that kind of pay? Part of the reason that people consider bikes as toys is because the bike shop proprieters do, too.
09-28-01, 07:19 AM
Perhaps you should think about the stores in other parts as well, some of the more reputable bike shops, and not that two bit gimme yo money soon to be outta buisness store,...there ARE shops around this great big planet of ours, who really do care about what staff they employ,customer satisfaction,quality of product,etc,etc, what can I say?,$6.50 p/hr,what do expect ?man..these places deserve to go down,and I'm tippin' the manager will screw you for every last cent?!. I'm currently earning in the vaccinity of $30.00 p/hr,I have successfully completed my level III certificate in bicycle mechanics,am employed in one of Melbourne's largest bicycle retailers,earn my manager in excess of $4000.00 dollars p/week in labour charges alone!,I'm putting in approx 52 hrs a week!,I have clients ranging from the kid down the street..to members of the Australian MTB racing team,the Australian track team,and the word has it , I have a very good chance getting a place with the Commonwealth games cycling squad for 2002 !....so when I read your post I was offended that you were painting me with the same brush that you did with the others ,who obviously you would not take your bike to !, I hope you can see my P.O.V... thanks -Buddy.
Buddy - I for one am v. impressed.:cool:
All the best.
I didn't know you were so well qualified! Good for you!
Rich (p.s. could you get me Cadel Evans autograph?) :D
09-28-01, 12:22 PM
Whoa...30 bucks an hour? ( that might just be TOO good a mechanic for me! ) Actually, my experience is not the 16 year old mechanic... it's the 40 year old who is probably just a little burned out. It's not that their work is always bad, it's just real inconsistent. Usually goes like this...
discuss with mechanic
mechanic puts on part
part comes loose
put part on right myself
Don't forget, the Aussie $$ is worth 50 cents US. Still, the job of "bike mechanic" in the states is about the same as "burger flipper", and actually lower paying than "lawn mower".
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