Tuesday, September 14, 2010

Bike Shop Tales: Illicit Activities

Weird stuff happens at everybody's jobs, but here are a few things we ran across at the bike shop back in the day.....

With the amount of people and repairs we got in through Advantage Cyclery, we were bound to run into a few odd things. Certainly these I relate here today are some of the most memorable to me.

Gun Totin' Cyclists: Believe it or not, but we actually ran across some "heat" while repairing some bicycles in the shop. I remember one bicycle in particular that was outfitted with a rack and a trunk bag. The mechanic working on the rig at the time was bellowing something about the bike weighing a ton, and how he couldn't get it into the work stand without nearly getting a hernia. I didn't pay much attention, since, well......about every other bike weighed 40-50lbs! Nothing new there.

However; this one was heavier metal than most! The mechanic had to put something into the trunk bag, a set of instructions for a computer, or some other bit, and saw something shiny and black glinting inside. It was a hand gun! Well, the word went around the shop like wildfire that "Ya better watch out for "so-and-so, because he's packin' heat!"  And of course, various comments grew out of that immediately. Well, Tom was wandering through later and caught wind of this. He wasn't at all amused.

He arranged to meet with the customer to discuss "the piece" and that he didn't really appreciate that a hand gun was left in the shop's care. The customer apologized, and explained that since he rode through what he felt were unsavory parts of the city, he needed to have some "protection", but he was not going to leave the gun in his trunk bag if he dropped the bicycle off again. He didn't either.....well, most of the time!  We always checked the bag every time he dropped the rig off after that, and he was like anybody else. He forgot once in awhile!

Ya Put Yer Weed In There! Of course, there are a lot of cyclists that smoke the "mary-jane" and of course, we would smell it on the bikes, or come across "the leavins" in bags and what not while we did repairs. We even found pills and some other funny business on rare occasions. No surprise there, as it was well known at Advantage Cyclery that certain middle aged men would gather on their bikes, hit up the shop just before closing time on Friday night, head over to "Mainly Lou's" to get a little "lubed up", and then head out to Black Hawk Park for "the illegal stuff". Funny thing about that is a couple of these fellows are now "public servants".  (No names here!) Most of that circle of miscreants were steady Advantage Cyclery customers back in the day.

Smoke, Smoke, Smoke That Cigarette! The last story here isn't so much about illegal substances, or bad behavior that would land you in jail, or even about concealed weapons, but was notorious for a similar reason. We had a customer with a mail order tandem that reeked so badly of cigarette smoke we actually parked it outside the entire time we were open just to air it out and keep it from stinking up the shop. The bike earned the captain the nickname of "Smoker", as he was known to ride and toke at the same time. I don't think I can stress to much how bad this ashtray of a bike reeked. Really. It was absolutely amazing, and yes, the guy had a heart attack and still rides and smokes to this day. Weird.

Next week, I'll be at Interbike in Lost Wages, Nevada, so Bike Shop Tales will be on hiatus until the last week of this month.


Metro said...

The sheer # of bikes (mainly purely recreational riders) that I see come in that reek of cigarette smoke or have a pack of reds in the bento box or saddle bag still amazes me. I have yet to see stems & seeds or a 9mm though so I guess I will keep looking.

Random idea for a future Bike Shop Tales post: The various odd ball saddles that should have never left the design board or the various materials used for saddle covering and how much sweat/@$$ funk they tend to hold in. There’s nothing like hoisting a bike up into the stand only to have that saddle stench hit your nose right about the time the seat post nears the clamp.

Nice work, keep it up. It’s always an enjoyable read.


mw said...

one of my favorite customers once warned me that his sidearm was in his saddle bag. i appreciated the warning.

and one of my favorite quotes (un-related to the above customer) was "can you lock my steering so i can ride and light a cig with no hands on the bars"...

Matt Maxwell said...

I had a customer bring his handgun in so that he could find a properly sized seat bag for it. He purchased it to protect himself from cougars while mountain biking. Luckily he was a well trusted customer and we didn't worry too much about it.

Larry said...

While working in a backpacking shop, we would rent tents for the weekend. Around long weekends, big family tents were always popular, and some times these tents were taken to music festivals. The things left in the tent include the illegal substances mentioned, as well as "used" feminine undergarmets and used, well things used when the undergarmets came off.