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  1. #1
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    What the Wrenches Wish You Did

    I came across this blog entry today. I do my own maintenance, but I still found this list interesting.

    http://orbike.com/mechanics-dreams-w...-wish-you-did/

  2. #2
    Senior Member cyclist2000's Avatar
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    that's a good list, I didn't know about wiping the rims. But I do my own maintenance. I think "listen to your bike" should be added to the list. I find problems because my bike doesn't sound right.
    I don't do vintage, I bought them new, rode them, kept them. Now they are just old bikes
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  3. #3
    ouate de phoque dramiscram's Avatar
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    I was an auto mechanic for 7 years and now i'm an automobile technical advisor and I've seen this list before, it's a very old list. The farrier was asking is customers to clean their horse before bringing them in the last century.
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    Half way there gmt13's Avatar
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    Since I switched to drum brakes, wiping down my rims (which I do after every wet ride) is an absolute joy compared to messing with all of that black grunge that you get with rim brakes. The rest of it is moot because of my "illness" - I can't bring myself to trust anybody to wrench on my bikes.

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  5. #5
    ♋ ☮♂ ☭ ☯ -=(8)=-'s Avatar
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    The only compelling reason to take your bike to a shop is so you dont have to do that stuff

  6. #6
    In the right lane gerv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by dramiscram View Post
    I was an auto mechanic for 7 years and now i'm an automobile technical advisor and I've seen this list before, it's a very old list. The farrier was asking is customers to clean their horse before bringing them in the last century.
    Nothing new
    I bet it wasn't the rims that needed cleaning ....

  7. #7
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    One of my major pet peeves of traveling to the US is the insistence on tipping. I understand that most people in the US rely on tips for to arrive at a living wage, but it sure makes me feel uncomfortable as well as most other tourists. Whenever I return from the US, in Germany, I end up giving tips that are so large that it makes the staff uncomfortable enough to repeat all of the numbers back to me because I'm not fluent in German.

    I usually give places my repeat business if the service is good and I detest that workers must survive on tips while the owners get my repeat business.

    edit: I also don't like the fact that tax isn't automatically added in. I always pay in cash and I find it frustrating that a $16 dish really $20. Please, just tell me the cost upfront.
    Last edited by acidfast7; 03-06-13 at 04:24 AM.
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  8. #8
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    Yes, that would seem to be a very common sense list, and as pointed out, one that sounds like the auto tech's, or any number of other professionals', plea.

    Tipping the bike mechanic seems like a rational decision, at least from the vantage point of someone who has a great relationship with their LBS. For example, I know my bike mechanic will drop whatever he's doing when I come in, and take time to help me.

    Just the other day, I took in a wheel with a howling hub, which he pulled apart and adjusted for me right then. It was a simple enough fix, but he didn't even charge me. Given that I've never bought a bike there, only rarely buy small parts, and this was only my second service call, I thout it tip-worthy service.

    While I'd agree that the custom of relying on tips to realize a living wage is pretty stupid, tipping as an expression of gratitude and generosity is fantastic, and one of the cultural attributes of America that gives us our exceptional character.
    Chaad--'95 DeKerf Team SL, '02 Lemond Buenos Aires, '05 Novara Buzz, '73 Schwinn Collegiate, '06 Mountain Cycle Rumble, '09 Dahon Mariner D7, '12 Mercier Nano, '12 Breezer Venturi

  9. #9
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I understand that most people in the US rely on tips for to arrive at a living wage,
    Where did you get that understanding about most people in the U.S.? There are people in the U.S. who do not work in hotel/food service.

    As far as tipping bicycle mechanics in the U.S.; it must be a cyclist enthusiast-LBS thing.

  10. #10
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Where did you get that understanding about most people in the U.S.? There are people in the U.S. who do not work in hotel/food service.

    As far as tipping bicycle mechanics in the U.S.; it must be a cyclist enthusiast-LBS thing.
    I should have said most people in the hotel/food/transport industry (or most people you'd have a transaction with as a tourist.) Also, I can understand that different systems function in different manners, therefore, I can understand that in some positions, a living wage requires tips. However, I don't like feeling pressure to provide a tip as it severely detracts from the overall experience.
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  11. #11
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    This is the first I have EVER heard about tipping bike mechanics. LBS's I've been to are not like restaurants with wait staff. You bring your bike into the shop, a shop employee takes the bike, and then one of the mechanics works on it, usually when you're not there if you have to leave it for service that will take awhile. Sure you can get to know the mechanics personally if you want to, but as far as I know they still make at least minimum wage if not more. Restaurant wait staff makes BELOW minimum wage which is why they need the tips, and why a GOOD waiter or waitress can take home well above minimum wage after tips are figured in.

    I used to work at Starbucks and even there I didn't understand why the need for tipping. We were paid above minimum wage, and then the tips were divided equally among the employees each week. It was a nice little perk having it as gas money or something, but I still don't understand the necessity of it.

    All that said, I also wrench on my own bike as much as I possibly can, mainly because I'm a major DIY'er and have done 100% of all mechanical work on my car that I've been driving for 12 years now. Just makes sense for me to work on my bikes, also.
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  12. #12
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    The "clean your vehicle before you bring it in" reminded me of a "funny" incident I witnessed as an auto mechanic back in the '80s: A good customer brought his car in for some routine maintenance (iirc). Well, when the service manager drove the car into the shop he decided to move the seat back a bit (the owner wasn't very tall). The next thing we know the service manager bailed out of that car like nothing we'd ever seen. He just couldn't get out of the car fast enough. Turns out that he tore open a soiled disposable baby diaper when he moved the seat back (the used diaper had been rolled up and stuffed under the seat by the owner's wife).

    The friendly owner of the car was very apologetic when the service manager later explained what had happened. The vehicle owner also promised that it would never happen again. However, from that point on, we were quick to look under the seat of his car before we drove it into the shop and/or moved the seat back.

    The good thing was that we all, or should I say most of us, laughed about that for months.

    The sad thing is that it wasn't the worst smelling car we ever worked on. The worst was a van that was used by a dog kennel. The owner of the repair shop was the only one who could stand to drive that vehicle without worrying about throwing up. The odd thing was that it smelled horribly of dog "sweat and body oil" (?) rather than dog urine and stuff.

  13. #13
    Team Water Andy_K's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    One of my major pet peeves of traveling to the US is the insistence on tipping.
    I can live with tipping where tipping is part of the economic model. I really don't like it in the bike business where it's fuzzy and inconsistent. I think if bike mechanics would like to be tipped then they are completely undermining their message by saying that beer and cookies are acceptable tips.

    In general, I would much rather have businesses pay their employees a decent wage and charge me what they needed to. The absolute worst is restaurants that charge you a certain percentage for large groups but don't give that money to the servers.
    Last edited by Andy_K; 03-06-13 at 02:44 PM.

  14. #14
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I can live with tipping where tipping is part of the economic model. I really don't like it in the bike business where it's fuzzy and inconsistent. I think if bike mechanics would like to be tipped then they are completely undermining there message by saying that beer and cookies are acceptable tips.

    In general, I would much rather have business' pay their employees a decent wage and charge me what they needed to. The absolute worst is restaurants that charge you a certain percentage for large groups but don't give that money to the servers.
    +1

    I agree that it's not transparent. I'd really prefer to just pay a lump sum at the front, even if it was more than the cost of the other way of doing it ... don't even get me started on table turnover that I can't stand ... is it my table for the evening or not. Hold the bill, until I ask for it. Thanks.

    I'm off Italy for a week over Easter and they do it the right way. A digestif (schnapps) at the end of every meal for "free." I'm sure that it's worked into the cost, but I better not see it on a bill at the end. I'm sure that half of the time we won't even have a men¨ anyway, which is the best way to dine anyway.

    As far as bike mechanics go, over here the "meister" will have at least three years of apprenticeship after high-school and makes what a skilled blue-collar German would (between €35 and €60k depending on negotiation skills and location). The guys in training/apprenticeship not as much and the guys on the floor probably even less. I don't know for sure, but if it's like an auto mechanic shop, each bike shop would have to have a meister under employ, and apprentices being trained, or it wouldn't be allowed to operate.
    Last edited by acidfast7; 03-06-13 at 09:45 AM.
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  15. #15
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    However, I don't like feeling pressure to provide a tip as it severely detracts from the overall experience.
    Hey I didn't like being made to feel like a nutjob for asking for a glass of non-bottled water with my meal at more than one German restaurant.
    Also didn't like having to pay extra for the ketchup at the Imbiss (fast food stands/joints) in Germany.

    But that's the way things are done there, so I adapted.
    But I sure draw the line at tipping at an LBS. Or maybe I'll just give 'em an all purpose tip like, Buy Low, Sell High.

  16. #16
    Been Around Awhile I-Like-To-Bike's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Andy_K View Post
    I I think if bike mechanics would like to be tipped then they are completely undermining there message by saying that beer and cookies are acceptable tips.
    I'd be far more interested in an LBS that occasionally sponsored in-store events that featured free beer and pizza for its customers. The LBS in town here has done just that.

  17. #17
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by I-Like-To-Bike View Post
    Also didn't like having to pay extra for the ketchup at the Imbiss (fast food stands/joints) in Germany.
    I guess my argument is that tipping reduces the quality of the service/result, while paying extra for ketchup doesn't.

    Imagine if bike mechanics were paid a 20% tip on every bike they fixed and made 6-8USD/hr. Essentially, you'd have people just like those who assemble bikes at a dept store and turning over as many bikes as possible to earn that tip.

    An intermediate would be the concept of "billable hours," which I don't know if they employ at bike shops in Germany or the US. But, I would assume that the base salary of anyone charging billable hours would be better than those of waitstaff.
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  18. #18
    Senior Member PatrickGSR94's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    Imagine if bike mechanics were paid a 20% tip on every bike they fixed and made 6-8USD/hr. Essentially, you'd have people just like those who assemble bikes at a dept store and turning over as many bikes as possible to earn that tip.
    That doesn't sound like a tip, that sounds like commission - getting a portion of the amount charged to the customer for fixing said bike.

    I would hope LBS's don't work like that. That would only encourage hasty, sloppy work IMHO.
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  19. #19
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    Oil your chain every 100 miles
    Did ORBike get a grant from FinishLine? Too much oil on your chain is a bad thing in the PNW.

    Clean your rims
    Pay attention to your brake pads
    Someone should tell ORBike about disc brakes.


    Schedule regular maintenance appointments if you're riding alot
    If you're riding a lot you should learn how to fix your own bike. Its not hard at all.

    When your mechanic let’s you know all the little bits that are wearing out on your bike, they are not trying to gouge you for more money.
    Bike shops make money off parts and the markups can be ridiculous. If you know something is broken its perfectly acceptable to buy a part somewhere else and bring it to the shop.

    Don't wait till the strange noise gets really bad
    This is valid.

    Don't come in 5 minute before close...
    If anyone is freaking out about a sick bike, its time to buy a spare. If you cannot afford one, contact a local community cycling program.

    Tip. Tip. Tip.
    I can understand a tip or present if a mechanic goes above and beyond but tipping mechanics provides another excuse for bosses/owners to pay mechanics @#$%.

  20. #20
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by spare_wheel View Post
    Bike shops make money off parts and the markups can be ridiculous. If you know something is broken its perfectly acceptable to buy a part somewhere else and bring it to the shop.
    I like to keep my money in the local economy, otherwise the bike shop won't stay open. If they're socially responsible, they'll also play a role in the community.
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  21. #21
    http://www.538.nl acidfast7's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I like to keep my money in the local economy, otherwise the bike shop won't stay open. If they're socially responsible, they'll also play a role in the community.
    An example ...

    Bike shop closes, tube dispenser disappears



    tube dispenser.jpg
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  22. #22
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I like to keep my money in the local economy, otherwise the bike shop won't stay open. If they're socially responsible, they'll also play a role in the community.

    I don't begrudge a shop hefty profit on small stuff like cables, tubes, chains, or pads (disc pads can be expensive at shops!) but the mark ups on drive train components can be completely silly. For example, I was once charged more for chainrings than the cost of a new crank! (I was quite naive then.)

  23. #23
    Certified Bike Brat Burton's Avatar
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    OK so here's a guy that would rather you DON'T wash the bike before bringing it in. Please DON'T. I'm going to clean it better than you will anyway, and while doing so, any oil leaks, or hydraulic fluid leaks will be much easier to trace if the bike HASN'T been washed. I'd also like to mention that the purpose of having a bike cleaned at a shop ISN'T because its the equivalent of a car wash. The mech will be doing an up close and personal examination of the rims and frame looking for hairline fractures, excessive wear and other potential complications. On many ocassions I've explained to a customer that there was a problem and looked after warranty issues on their behalf. No every cyclist is a mechanic, and they shouldn't have to be.

  24. #24
    tcs
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    I questioned beer as a universal solvent on a different list some years ago and was told by numerous other posters that well, duh, of course one should know if their bike mechanic is Mormon or Muslim or had substance abuse issues in their past.

    I realized I didn't know any of the mechanics down at the LBS nearly well enough to be taking my bike to them.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

  25. #25
    tcs
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    Quote Originally Posted by acidfast7 View Post
    I guess my argument is that tipping reduces the quality of the service/result...
    I'm not following you here.

    Imagine if bike mechanics were paid a 20% tip on every bike they fixed and made 6-8USD/hr.
    But that's not an example of a gratuity, is it? That sounds more like base salary plus piece rate.
    "When man first set woman on two wheels with a pair of pedals, did he know, I wonder, that he had rent the veil of the harem in twain? A woman on a bicycle has all the world before her where to choose; she can go where she will, no man hindering." The Typewriter Girl, 1899.

    "Every so often a bird gets up and flies some place it's drawn to. I don't suppose it could tell you why, but it does it anyway." Ian Hibell, 1934-2008

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