Saturday, March 5, 2011

Why I Became a Bike Mechanic

In 1991, when I bought my Cannondale SM-800, I was thrilled with every aspect of the bike except for one.  It came equipped with 7-speed Deore LX RapidFire shifters.  I am no fan of any version of the RapidFire system, but the early versions like the one on my Cannondale were particularly annoying to me.

So, I asked the owner of the shop (oddly, it was Campus Cycles, in Columbus, Ohio), how much he would charge me to swap the shifters out for regular thumb shifters.

"Oh, that can't be done," he lied.  "They don't even make those shifters any more." (Just like Campus Cycles, here, when I worked for them.  Is it the name?)

"Uh, right," I said, deciding then and there to never darken his door again.  Not only was he lying to me, but he was apparently assuming that I was stupid enough to believe him.  Had he just said, "We don't do that sort of thing," I might have gone back to this shop, at some time or another.

As it was, I went to Bike Nashbar (they had a retail store in Columbus, at that time) and bought a set of LX thumbies off of the shelf, took them home and installed them.  It was simple enough that I decided, at that point, that I would never again pay to have a bike worked on.

Before long, I was getting to paid to work on other people's bikes.

And, I've always made it a point to not lie to my customers.


1 comment:

  1. Funny.. same bike bought in 1990 ... did the same thing hated those rapid fire shifters.. That bike is still going strong.. I wish I knew more about bikes to upgrade the stem and such.. the chain just broke.. original. Yeah, I should have changed it more often but.. it just kept working!


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