Argh. Come and listen to my tales of woe.
Tale the first
This was maybe three years ago, when I was just getting into cycling. I knew almost nothing about mechanics. I was riding to work, when I felt a loud *POP*, and suddenly my rear wheel was wobbling. Having no idea what had gone wrong (I was a neophyte, forgive me), I brought it to The Shop.
I walked up to The Guy, and said, "Hey - I was riding to work, and I felt this loud *POP* and now it looks like my rear wheel's warped."
He didn't even touch the bike, - just glanced at it and said, "Yeah, looks warped."
"So...what did I do to fix it?"
"I dunno - maybe new wheel?"
This seemed fishy to me, so I thanked the guy and left, and called a friend who was on the cycling team - he said "It sounds like you popped a spoke, have you checked?" And so I did, and so it was, and so I got it fixed for $10 at a different shop.
Tale the second
I needed something to ride in the rain, so I had The Shop install fenders on an old hybrid of mine. Everything was fine until one evening as I was riding downhill, and shifted into my smallest cog for the first time in a while.
*BANG* and my chain jammed hard. I worked my way to a stop and pulled off the road. I poked around the drivetrain, trying to see what was wrong through the rain pouring off of my head. I noticed that the screw being used to hold the rear fender on was protruding right into the path of the chain. Argh! Fortunately or unfortunately, The Shop was just a block away, so I downshifted, cleared the jam, pedaled there and had The Guy (same guy) fix it.
Tale the third
My commuter bike is a beautiful old Centurion road bike equipped with some kind of horribly obsolete Dia-Compe caliper brake. While working on the bike, I stripped one of the nuts on the rear brake. I spent about a week hunting for a replacement nut - I hit two bike shops, two hardware stores and Home Depot - none of them had a nut that matched. As a last resort, I stopped by The Shop on my way home.
I told The Guy (different guy this time) my problem, and handed him the bolt from the brake, showing the nut that was stripped, the various washers (there are three - brass, plastic, steel) it needed to mate with, and so on. He took the bolt and went around to the toolbench, and began rummaging around in drawers. About five minutes later, he came back and apologetically told me he had nothing that matched, and handed me the bolt...without any of the washers.
"Where are the washers?" I asked.
"Oh, ****!" he replied.
He ran back around the bench and started rummaging. He was digging through drawers, knocking over piles of crap, and hunting around on the floor. After a few minutes I told him to forget it, since I was probably going to need new brakes anyhow. "No no," he said, "man I'll find them washers for you, man."
He gets The Other Guy involved, and they rummage together. I get impatient and try again to get my bolt back so I can go home. The Other Guy digs into a particularly large pile of crap, yanks out - a busted old brake that's almost as old and busted as mine, and says, "Here. Dia-Compe caliper brake. Maybe you can use the washers from this one." Never mind that the brake had completely different washers on it - I wanted to go home. So I went home. I cannibalized the brake he handed me, and neither the washers nor the nut were right. Argh. Tomorrow I go to a better shop and buy new brakes.
Bike Shop: 3