Tuesday, February 16, 2010

Bike Shop Tales: Back To Work III

Here are a couple more stories from my everyday work at Advantage Cyclery......

Of course, most of my time at the shop was all about fixing bicycles, and that was usually just basic repairs and tune-ups. However; I got one job that was passed off to me after no one else could figure it out. I think it was one of those jobs that everyone figured I would fail at, since all the other more experienced mechanics there had not been able to get it worked out. They didn't say this to me, but no one was willing to give me any ideas on it either. So off I went, determined to overcome this problem.

The bike was a Klein road bike. Two chain ring model. The problem was that it wasn't shifting up front worth a hoot. You could make it shift up onto the big chain ring, but it then would not shift down into the small one. If you made it shift well into the small chain ring, it wouldn't shift into the big one, and to make matters worse, the derailluer was at it's limits of throw, just to get it up into the big ring. Of course, the derailluer was a braze on model.

Well, after much consternation, several test rides, and hours spent staring it down. I finally had a "eureka" moment.

The bottom brackets on Kliens were pressed in affairs. I thought, what if the spindle is pressed in wrong? Well, after some careful measurements, I found that I was on the right track. I pressed the spindle out, reversed it, pressed it back in, and the shifting was spot on. The owner was very pleased, and told me that it had been that way since he had purchased the bike new. He had been to several shops and no one had figured it out.

Tom, my boss, was very pleased, and the other mechanics were amazed, and I had gained their respect. It was a good day for me, and I think that was the day I knew I had become a real bicycle mechanic. (Wheel building not withstanding!)

After that, I got more complicated jobs thrown my way. I learned even more, and gained a lot of good experience. Before I left the shop when it closed in 1997, I had become Advantage Cyclery's head mechanic. Ha! I never would have believed that when I started. But I did it. From a full on bench jeweler, designer, salesman to a bicycle mechanic. Who would have guessed that?

Not I!

Next week: Working at the shop brought a lot of bicycles into my life....

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