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  1. #1
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    I started volunteering at my lbs today and ...

    I would like to know some tips the lbs would like me to know but may not want to have to tell me.

    I went in today and told them I was interested in helping out at the store, without any pay, so that I could learn from my mechanic about bikes and how to fix them. Everyone at the shop is great, all very friendly, and they also realise I am not a local. The language difference isn't an issue.

    So, I do know that if I'm not being immediately helpful, I should stay out of the way. This I know from working behind a bar.

    Any other tips for a wanna-be amateur mechanic?

  2. #2
    Senior Member masi61's Avatar
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    You might want to start slowly aquiring your own tools. Even though they're all really friendly and everything, they might appreciate it if you could supply some of your own tools like allen wrenches, and metric wrenches and things like that. Just curious, what's your "regular" job. How many hours a week do you plan to "volunteer". If it were me I'd volunteer for like 2 hours and after that I would ask, "Where's the timeclock, and how much do I start out at?

  3. #3
    Listen to me powers2b's Avatar
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    I am surprised they are OK with that.
    If you get hurt in the shop they are liable.

    Enjoy

  4. #4
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    Looks like Becnal is in Germany. Is it possible people there are not as concerned with liability issues?

  5. #5
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    Get your own tools, stay out of everyone's way, don't eat all the blueberry muffins, break down the boxes, don't eat all the coffee cake muffins.

    Ask questions, but don't be annoying and breathing down everyone's neck.

  6. #6
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by becnal
    Any other tips for a wanna-be amateur mechanic?
    Offer to clean all of the yucky chains and chainrings and stuff. The mechanics will love you.

  7. #7
    Zippy Engineer Waldo's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Retro Grouch
    Offer to clean all of the yucky chains and chainrings and stuff. The mechanics will love you.
    Definitely. Flat tire fixes could be your friend also. Can't really come up with anything to suppliment what others have said so far.

  8. #8
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    Since you are working without pay for the benefit of learning, you might want to log your jobs done for the benefit of keeping track of your experience. It is nice to have something to go back to if you have questions. Doing the crap jobs for pay might just be part of the job; you should be looking to see and do more than that if this is on your dime.

  9. #9
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    My LBS is a giant shop. They are a nation-wide chain across Germany called Bikemax.

    They have more tools than I have ever seen before, and many more than 2 of most of the tools. I have only a couple of basic tools, but I'll bring my multi-tool so that at least I'll be able to use allen keys and other stuff without needing theirs. Good tip!

    And yes, being outside of America, liability issues aren't a problem. When I asked my mechanic, Volker, if I could help out, he said, "Hell yeah". I asked him if he didn't need to check with the manager first or something. The manager walked in a second later, Volker told him my request, and the manager said, "Hell yeah". I though, well that's settled then!

  10. #10
    Curmudgeon Wil Davis's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by becnal
    snip…
    When I asked my mechanic, Volker, if I could help out, he said, "Hell yeah". I asked him if he didn't need to check with the manager first or something. The manager walked in a second later, Volker told him my request, and the manager said, "Hell yeah"
    …snip
    Sign in local garage:

    Our rates:
    We will charge you $50 per hour to fix your car, $75 if you watch, $100 if you help



    - Wil
    "………………………" - Marcel Marceau

  11. #11
    cab horn
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    Volunteering in a for-profit store? These things can be better learned yourself when you fix your own bike. But hey if you have time to spare...

  12. #12
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    labor rates

    We will charge you $50 per hour to fix your car, $75 if you watch, $100 if you help


    $125.00 if you worked on it before they got it.

  13. #13
    Taking "s" outta "Fast" AfterThisNap's Avatar
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    I bet they speak the universal language of beer.
    Carries suspicious allegiance to Brooklyn Machine Works.

  14. #14
    Senior Member raverson's Avatar
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    When I asked my mechanic, Volker, if I could help out, he said, "Hell yeah". I asked him if he didn't need to check with the manager first or something. The manager walked in a second later, Volker told him my request, and the manager said, "Hell yeah". I though, well that's settled then! [/QUOTE]

    That is funny!

  15. #15
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Cool, I learned how to true wheels yesterday. I knew how in theory, but they let me have a go on their fab shop truing stand. And, bonus, they let me true my own wheels as well. Then, the mechanic said to me, "Anytime you wanna fix something on your bike, just roll it on in. It's all well and good learning about bikes in general, but getting to know yours in and out is the way to go."

    I thought I had died and went to bike shop heaven.

  16. #16
    I can't find my pants mirona's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by becnal
    Cool, I learned how to true wheels yesterday. I knew how in theory, but they let me have a go on their fab shop truing stand. And, bonus, they let me true my own wheels as well. Then, the mechanic said to me, "Anytime you wanna fix something on your bike, just roll it on in. It's all well and good learning about bikes in general, but getting to know yours in and out is the way to go."

    I thought I had died and went to bike shop heaven.
    That's how the guys at my shop were to me and now I work there

  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    If you are in Germany, they will love you if you let them practice their English on you. Just don't let them do it too much, or you'll never polish you German! No one likes to lose the luxury of having an English native speaker to hand
    Dave

  18. #18
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acorn_user
    If you are in Germany, they will love you if you let them practice their English on you.
    Not everyone is so eager to speak a foreign language in their own country.

  19. #19
    Immoderator KrisPistofferson's Avatar
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    Be like I was when I started working in an auto shop with no experience-I was clueless, but I was also the guy who was the first to grab a mop or a full garbage can. After a while, I was still clueless, but everyone liked me well enough for my work ethic to want to spend time showing me stuff, and my boss started sending me to schools in Knoxville and Atlanta. Be humble, patient and work hard-it's called a "work ethic," and it's starting to become a rare thing....
    Quote Originally Posted by Bikeforums
    Your rights end where another poster's feelings begin.

  20. #20
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Or you could invest about $0 and work on your own bike. There are tons of resources on the internet and you don't have to be "that guy" at the bike shop.

  21. #21
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Or you could invest about $0 and work on your own bike. There are tons of resources on the internet and you don't have to be "that guy" at the bike shop.
    Thanks for the helpful tip that so well answers my original post.

  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by bellweatherman
    Or you could invest about $0 and work on your own bike. There are tons of resources on the internet and you don't have to be "that guy" at the bike shop.
    Except that working on your own bike requires tools, which a lot of us don't have, taking it from $0 to "way too much to afford" pretty quickly. Not to mention how much easier and more fun it can be to learn from someone who knows what they are doing compared to learning from a website with no one around to help out if you get stuck.

  23. #23
    Senior Member mrkott3r's Avatar
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    Man what a good opportunity! I wouldnt have the balls to ask my lbs that, I doubt that they would agree either.

    If it was me I would shut up, watch, listen, and learn. Be very selective in your questions. Questions piss people off.

    Have a great time learning. Im stuck with online stuff, the aussie thread and just tooling around figuring out stuff as I need to.

  24. #24
    Senior Member bellweatherman's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by ceridwen
    Except that working on your own bike requires tools, which a lot of us don't have, taking it from $0 to "way too much to afford" pretty quickly. Not to mention how much easier and more fun it can be to learn from someone who knows what they are doing compared to learning from a website with no one around to help out if you get stuck.

    You have a bike. Get some tools. Got a computer. Get some software. Wear a bra. Get some panties. And so on.

  25. #25
    I'm made of earth! becnal's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by mrkott3r
    Man what a good opportunity! I wouldnt have the balls to ask my lbs that, I doubt that they would agree either.
    No balls were needed to ask. Was just a question. The worst that could have happened was they say no. In which case, I would have to go buy a computer, software and, apparently, a bra, for some strange reason.

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