In The Bike Shop: The “Bro” Deal

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by Mark V on May 24, 2007 at 1:05 AM

Hi. Thanks for coming into my shop and taking part of the consumer experience. Your disposable income is the sole source of our meager profit margins that support the shop’s overhead and indirectly my income.

What’s that? You’d like to ask me a bunch of questions? Why sure, I’d love to take time away from the other tasks that would have had priority over your whimsical visit, after all, I am a living reference free of charge.

No, no, no, you cannot combine that esoteric and ridiculous component with your current bike without making substantially difficult to explain modifications to the entire system. I am going to explain this to you, so please interrupt me repeatedly.

Pardon me? You know a guy whose friend is a hunchbacked transvestite who used to work on bikes in Walmart…and he/she said it would work? My goodness, then I must be wrong! What qualifications could I possibly have…other than a decade of bike shop employment…to refute such gospel?

Yes, I can get the proper part for this amount of money. Why does it cost so much? I am so glad you asked! Let me take a sip of Pepsi before I explain economic theory, supply/demand, the relationship of production volume and unit cost, the….oh,oh, I see now, that was a rhetorical question! A verbal exercise to inspire an epiphany within me! How thoughtful of you….and here I thought I was the one enlightening you.

Oh, I see where the confusion lies… you were looking at the price in the distributors’s catalog I provided so that you could see a picture of the product. Ah yes, that price is what we in the retail industry call “wholesale”. It’s what we pay, and then we make you pay what is called “retail price”, which is Latin for “it’s how a f$%^%ing store can afford to exist.”

Okay, so for today you will take just these Sidi shoes and a set of Speedplay pedals, and instead will order the part I spent the last 30 minutes explaining from mail order. Splendid!

What’s that? Can you have a “bro deal”? Why yes, since you ask for it like that I would be more than happy to violate the trust of my employer and offer these items to you at a fee that entirely denies my employer of any benefit of the wages they pay me for the time I spent answering your tedious questions. After all, if I get no benefit from this transaction, neither should they. I mean, what are brothers for? I am sure I could go to your dental office next week and ask for a “bro deal” on that root canal and crown…or maybe you work in city development and you could…like develop a…um, road for me…or something.

You know, “Brother”, I don’t really know what it is that you do…but chances are it’s nothing that I can cash in on. But never mind about that. I will offer you it for this price.

Excuse me? Such-and-such-a-company is offering it online for less than my bro deal? Alright, asswipe, I’m gonna call your bluff right now. I know for a fact that you are wrong. You think I don’t know how to use the internet? You think you’re gonna school me on the bicycle industry? Those companies have internet sales agreements, you cannot beat the offer I set in front of you. And when I offer you a bro deal, you may accept or decline, but you better keep your mouth shut unless it is to say “thank you.” One more word, and the price goes back up 10%…..yeah, keep whining…okay, now it’s “full retail” again.

You’re welcome…..”Bro”

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Three Feet

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by Kelli on May 23, 2007 at 10:04 PM

In conjunction with Bike To Work Month, Cascade’s education arm has launched a new campaign to spread the word about “Giving Cyclists Three Feet of Space”. I’d seen a few posters and bumper stickers around town, but it was on my bike commute to last weekend’s CTS ride that I saw the first billboard on South Dearborne, a major cycling artery into downtown Seattle.

The campaign is funded jointly by federal transportation grants and a generous donation from Group Health (the title sponsor of Cascade’s STP ride), in an effort to encourage motorists to modify their driving behavior when approaching cyclists. The Washington State driver’s manual mandates allowing at least three feet of space when passing a bicycle.

While not ready to run off and have three feet tattooed on my knuckles, the launch of the new campaign was the kick in the …er, tires… that I needed to finally put in the paperwork for our “Share the Road” plates.

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One Laptop Per Child or One Bike?

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by Byron on May 22, 2007 at 9:57 AM

Working in the tech industry, when not blogging here, I’ve been following Negroponte’s One Laptop Per Child program. It started at $100.00 has gone through various permutations and he’s set to release it at $170.00. At the same time as Negroponte is evangelizing the laptop, the bicycle industry in various nonprofits is giving bikes to Africa: helping farmers, rebuilding economies, and transportion for health workers.

For $100.00, you can adopt an AfricaBike or give that same amount to World Bicycle Relief or Project Rwanda.

While I see value in OLPC and the passion that brought it to market, I also think a bike is going to help a kid more than a laptop. It’s working locally at Bike Works.

What do you think?

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A Better Helmet Cam

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by Byron on May 22, 2007 at 7:06 AM

Pushing helmet camera technology even further is Twenty20, a fellow Seattle-based company. As I noted last year, helmet cams have come a long way since the Late Night Monkey-Cam and I’ve been getting asked lately about how we shoot videos on the bike. I’m actually (and surprisingly) using a Casio Exilim that shoots 30 mins of MPEG4 at 640x480 (available on Amazon.com). For web videos it works really well and steadies the shots with a fast shutter speed.

One drawback to the Casio method is that I’m holding it in one hand and that can get sketch in traffic or with a heavy load on Bettie.

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NPR Bikes to Work

3

by Byron on May 21, 2007 at 5:20 AM

Listened to this great story about biking to work from NPR on Sunday.

“We’ve been adding bike lanes, we’ve been adding bike racks,” he said. As for a two-wheeled commute, he added: “You don’t get quite the same feeling in a car.”

Also noticed on Friday this TRAFFIC ALERT: The state Department of Transportation is reporting a three-car accident on northbound I-5 near the Kent-Des Moines Road. The accident is on the right shoulder of the road and the distraction is backing up traffic further then usual this morning.

No backups on the bike path.

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Bike Taxi

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by Jason Swihart on May 21, 2007 at 5:20 AM

A bike taxi, presumed from Thailand, outside a store in Pioneer Square in Seattle.

Bike Hugger Photostream

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Bikes & Condos

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by Jason Swihart on May 21, 2007 at 5:18 AM

A frequent site in the South Lake Union district of Seattle. That’s condos being built on both sides of the road with cyclists doing their best to find a way through all the construction.

Bike Hugger Photostream

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Keirin Koh and brakes for track bikes

7

by Mark V on May 20, 2007 at 10:44 PM

So I was working a typical Saturday at the shop, splitting my time between wrenching on bikes and handling walk-in retail traffic, when a couple walk in from the ephemeral Seattle sunshine. Upon speaking to them, I learned that they were in the process of moving here from Japan. At first I was slightly embarrassed since I had moments before been practicing Japanese profanity with the shop’s long-suffering Japanese bookkeeper, but either they hadn’t heard me or they politely ignored it. Of course, since I am going to Japan IN TWO WEEKS for a solo bike tour, I’m eager to talk to anyone from Japan. And then came the big surprise…. koh%20annoura.jpg

the guy just retired from a 17 year keirin career. His name is Koh Annoura, and he competed in several UCI world cup events back in the day. Of all the shops to walk into in Seattle, he comes into mine. He was pretty surprised too, since 1) among shop monkeys, I have a special appreciation for keirin racing 2) we have a full custom frame shop in back.

He had this really cool brake adapter for keirin bikes that allowed one to mount high-quality road calipers (in this case Dura Ace 7800) to a keirin frame. I’m talking super-duper lathe or maybe CNC-milled pieces; really cool stuff. We had a short discussion about the cult of keirin bicycles frames being imported from Japan, and about how the fashion is to ride these bikes without brakes. And here was a professional rider before me who was explaining to me how real keirin riders prefer to ride with brakes when not on the velodrome. Take note of this, all you hipsters out there who consider yourself “purists” because you ride a Kavalinka or Nagasawa frame without brakes around town. And lest you think that the keirin professionals are pansies for using brakes, you should see how these guys race. I’ve seen how gnarly a Japanese keirin race can be with my own eyes.

Unfortunately, I don’t have pictures to show of the brake adapters, since Annoura-san set the bag down outside while chasing after their younger son. Wooosh!…..someone walked off with them. That sucks!

Stunning misfortune aside, it was great to talk to Koh. He and his wife were going to give me some phone numbers to other keirin racers in the Roppongi neighborhood of Tokyo, where I’ll be staying the first week of my Japan trip.

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Bike To Work Day Record!

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by Kelli on May 19, 2007 at 3:28 PM

With incredible weather and over thirty commute stations providing free snacks and schwag, Seattleites had every reason to take full advantage of Bike To Work Day. Powered by Cascade and caffeinated by Starbucks, the annual event saw nearly four thousand more bikes than last year, coming in at over 19,000 cyclists.

More interesting numbers:

  • The station with the highest count was the Fremont Bridge station with 1370 cyclists.
  • We estimate that 266,616 miles logged by bicycle today (using the average commute length of 14 miles from the Group Health Commute Challenge).
  • That’s 133 tons of CO2 that was not produced by BTWD participants.
  • With 8.8million calories burned today, riders have earned 44,000 delicious tall Starbucks lattes.

Congratulations Seattle, way to kick off another terrific summer of cycling! Keep logging those commute challenge miles and enjoying our long summer days.

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