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Old 09-30-03, 08:43 AM   #1
claire
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A day in a LBS...

Hi everyone,
The previous thread about how to work in a bike shop reminded me of something I wanted to talk about a little while ago. Last summer I helped out a friend of mine in a bike shop, just for a couple of days. Well, I'm not especially knowledgable about bike mechanics, but I usually fix my bike myself, so I know how to fix a flat, replace a spoke, adjust derailleur cables, change brake cables, overhaul a few things... The first thing I noticed, was that people bring their bikes for a repair when they have a flat! Or a broken brake cable! OK, it's good for the bike mechanics business, but seriously, fixing a flat is pretty easy, no? The second thing I noticed, was how a lot of women who came to the bike shop seemed to be traumatized by doing anything on their bikes themselves, even like putting more air in the tires. I used to think that bicycle mechanics workshops for women was a stupid idea, but now I really think there is a need for it! Last thing to add, the bike shop was mostly aimed at commuters. Maybe people who do a lot of riding and longer distances are better at doing minor repairs themselves.
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Old 09-30-03, 10:40 AM   #2
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Our LBS does not repair flats. In fact if they have to remove the rear wheel for any reason they charge $15 extra. $25 just to adjust your derailleur. Problem is they have a monopoly in this town. The good side is it may induce more people to work on their bikes themselves.
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Old 09-30-03, 10:43 AM   #3
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Originally posted by Ebro38
Our LBS does not repair flats. In fact if they have to remove the rear wheel for any reason they charge $15 extra. $25 just to adjust your derailleur. Problem is they have a monopoly in this town. The good side is it may induce more people to work on their bikes themselves.
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Old 09-30-03, 11:50 AM   #4
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I know I was at performance the other day, a guy came in said his kids bike had a flat. THey would not repair the flat but would replace the tube, I can understand the reasoning behind that since it takes more time and more likely to have a leak etc with a repaired tube then a new one which then they would be liable for. I believe they said something like $10 to do it.
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Old 09-30-03, 08:04 PM   #5
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Changing a tube takes far less time then repairing a tube. The extra cost for the new tube does not make up the difference in the labor for patching a tube over replacing a tube.
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Old 10-01-03, 06:07 AM   #6
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at my lbs, it's $5 for a new tube and $6 for labour.

two years ago, one of the shop regulars comes into the shop, riding his then-brand-new trek 5900 [he has since moved on to a specialized s-works e-5 and a giant tcr 100]. he points to his stem, which is twisted slightly off-line and asks us to fix it. one of the guys says "just take an allen key, loosen the bolts and straighten the stem, it's easy." the customer has a puzzled expression on his face, so one of the guys takes a park multi-tool of the wall to show him. the customer: "wow, you have those things here?"

okayyyyy....
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Old 10-01-03, 06:21 AM   #7
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Actually, commuters may be more prone to fix their bikes... I usually cannot justify leaving my bike in LBS for several days, waiting for repair. I need it to commute! So I have had to try and learn something about repairing the simple things myself. It is a slow process, and I probably spend at least twice the time a competent mechanic would need at any given job, but I get it done and the bike will be rideable the next morning.

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Old 10-01-03, 06:45 PM   #8
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Working in a bike shop is an interesting experience. You get to meet a lot of weirdos. We had this mentally ill guy that we would always dread showing up. One time, he had a breakdown and was yelling about how he couldn't take it anymore. Another time, some guys that seemed intent on robbing us came by but changed their minds when they saw how many of us were in the shop at the time. We were also all fingering cranksets and large wrenches.

Some kid came in with a MTB with its tires worn flat. He said he "liked to skid" and wanted tires that would last longer under such use. I sold him some Specialized Umma Gummas.

One fellow came in with a bike and a wheelset. At first, I didn't understand what he wanted but it turned out he wanted me to switch wheelsets for him. Yes, he had quick release skewers. Apparently, I did such a good job that he came back several times to have his wheels changed.

Another guy would remove wheels by unscrewing the nut and removing the QR completely.

One woman was wondering how to fit her bike in her car. It was a Camry that was a few years old. I told her to just put the seats down and she had no idea the seats could fold down.

I'm sure I'm forgetting some stories but those are what came to mind.
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Old 10-01-03, 08:01 PM   #9
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Boy......Am I glad I've been a tinkerer since the day I was born.
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Old 10-01-03, 08:03 PM   #10
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It seems most people do not do repairs of any kind any more. Besides bikes, no one works on their own car, performs household repairs, or does their own yard work.
Kickstands need to be cut to the correct length, so when a customer buys one I tell them how to measure the bike and to cut the kickstand with a hacksaw, then use a 14mm wrench to install it. They most often have a blank expression, especialy when I bring up the hacksaw. Fewer than one in ten adults(most of them men) that feel they can install a kickstand have a wrench the correct size or a hacksaw.
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Old 10-01-03, 08:31 PM   #11
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It's the current generation of kids and young adults brought up playing video games for example have absolutely no mechanical skills whatsoever. There will definitely be a shortage of mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc....you name it.....in the coming generation.
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Old 10-01-03, 09:13 PM   #12
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Originally posted by The Fixer
There will definitely be a shortage of mechanics, plumbers, electricians, etc....you name it.....in the coming generation.
Yeah, the way this planet is headed (of course taking broad generealizations into consideration ONLY), this place will have a shortage of people (not humans, but PEOPLE. The things you ride with, drink with, talk to, hug, raise, etc). If there was a god, it's embarrased now.
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Old 10-05-03, 12:36 PM   #13
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One day I'll put the 7 years of LBS work I did to text... oh man the stories.

But for now...

We always replaced a punctured tube. We always (in a nice way) told the customer that we aimed for $75/hr labour on any work we did. Did they want the new tube or pay me to watch glue dry? I think the charge was CAN$12. Also, it sucks when the patch fails and the customer is back for a no-charge repair to make it right. So, do it right with a new tube.

We used to have races in the back to see how fast we could change a tube from bike on the floor, to the hooks, change the flat and get the bike back on the floor. IIRC, this guy Steve could do it in under 120 seconds (and that included the inspection of the tire for the penetrant).

Why do people have the LBS do the repair? Usually they don't have the tools or they live in an apartment and just don't want to deal with a grimy rear wheel.
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Old 10-05-03, 01:26 PM   #14
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Quote:
Originally Posted by claire
Last thing to add, the bike shop was mostly aimed at commuters. Maybe people who do a lot of riding and longer distances are better at doing minor repairs themselves.
There are commuters who ride because it's that or walk, and it's easier to ride... but their committment is to making their lives easier, not to cycling as part of a way of life.

And there are commuters who put in 100+ miles a week just commuting, who have multiple bikes and a complete system of living that's built around bike commuting, and who know more about bike repair than most bike shop employees.

I guess you're talking about the first kind.

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Old 10-05-03, 04:38 PM   #15
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--------------------------------------------------------------------------------
Originally Posted by claire
Last thing to add, the bike shop was mostly aimed at commuters. Maybe people who do a lot of riding and longer distances are better at doing minor repairs themselves.
--------------------------------------------------------------------------------




90% of my riding is commuting. The other 10% is mountain biking. I do more miles commuting then anybody I know does road or mountain biking, and its far more then what Richc said. Commuters are a lot more hard core then Claire implied. If I don't do my own repairs, I'll be late or miss work or class, so I think commuters are more incined to do their own repairs.
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Old 10-06-03, 09:49 PM   #16
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Quote:
Originally Posted by velocipedio
at my lbs, it's $5 for a new tube and $6 for labour.

two years ago, one of the shop regulars comes into the shop, riding his then-brand-new trek 5900 [he has since moved on to a specialized s-works e-5 and a giant tcr 100]. he points to his stem, which is twisted slightly off-line and asks us to fix it. one of the guys says "just take an allen key, loosen the bolts and straighten the stem, it's easy." the customer has a puzzled expression on his face, so one of the guys takes a park multi-tool of the wall to show him. the customer: "wow, you have those things here?"

okayyyyy....
is this guy from planet Earth or what?
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Old 10-07-03, 02:55 AM   #17
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Some people are just not mechanically minded. They can have incredible skills in other areas but can't use a wrench if their life depended on it. The wise mechanically challenged take their stuff in to a mechanic. The foolish mechanically challenged try to work on their stuff, and then take it in to a mechanic. Recognizing one's own strengths and one's own weaknesses is true wisdom. Laughing at the wise is the sign of a fool.
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