In the Bike Shop: Actual Conversations

Conversation #1:

Me: So you broke a spoke on this wheel two months ago during STP, and then you broke a second spoke yesterday, and now you’d like to know if I could have it all fixed for you today?



guy #1: Yes, I figured I should get it fixed now because I have a big ride this weekend.



Me: It looks like you actually broke a 3rd spoke.



guy #1: Really?



Conversation #2:

Me: I’m sorry we actually closed 15 min ago.



guy #2: oh, really? Well, I’ll be real quick. Can I ask you a question?



Me: Um, ok.



guy #2: Do you sell tennis balls?



Me:……………………, no.


This would make an excellent blog Mark, reader-submission style.

I love JRA (Just Riding Along), and how it’s become part of the vernacular for bike shops.  I want to hear about the most obscure use of JRA from a customer.  I’ve had 3 Arione saddles go back because of cracking while JRA.

Long ago and far away when I worked at bike shops I never minded making an extra effort for a customer who wanted to spend actual money in the shop as long as they were reasonably cool even if they were a bit clueless.  And I would sometimes mention that rush service could be expedited by a good pizza or a six pack of good beer.  If not me personally, one of the mechanics could usually be bribed, and customers were surprisingly enthusiastic about the “special charges” and would run out immediately or return later in the day with the consumables.  Good times, good times.
The weirdest things made us laugh the most.  Haven’t you ever seen the cool bikes with the tennis balls in the spoked wheels?

JRA ... one of the favorite things to hear.

Best one I’ve seen, had someone come into the shop with broken derailleur hanger.  The rear tire was scuffed ... in such a way where it looked like it had been dragged along the tarmac at a high speed for a while.  (Worn through the threads in a specific area. Like you know, it fell off the rear rack . . . )

Her explanation?  JRA up a hill.  She slipped up the hill.  There was gravel.  It caused the wear through the tire.  Apparently she slid up the hill for about 50 feet to cause that much wear. 

You know, anti-gravity style.

JRA ... gotta love it!

I was a bicycle mechanic for 3 years between 1989 & 1992.  I don’t remember many JRA stories, but I just had one a couple of months ago.

A couple of years ago, my wife decided she wanted a bike, so we bought her a Biomega Amsterdam, a shaft-drive bike with SRAM 7s internal hub.  She didn’t ride it much.  Flash forward to a couple of months ago, and we’re out on our first ride together in a long time.  We’re about half a mile from home, and she starts complaining about her gears.  I hear a plastic clicking noise, and look back and the shift mechanism that attaches to the axle is just dangling and smacking against the road.

To make a long story short, because of the design of the shaft drive, the SRAM shifter mechanism had to be rotated 90° counter-clockwise, which oriented the screw that anchors the mechanism to the axle facing downward.  If you don’t know that screw is there, it’ll back itself out and fall out without you ever knowing.  I didn’t know it was there.  I actually had to go into a bike shop and say that she was “just riding along” when it happened.

Whoa! You bought the biomega shaft drive! Was just talking about that with Specialized. Not our fav drivetrain.

JRA is kinda like the Bro Deal. You have to build up some cred in the shop before you can effectively take advantage of it.

Point in case: I was riding my ‘cross bike a while ago when the SRAM   Rival doubletap lever fell out of the shifter housing. I was, in fact, JRA- but in fairness that shifter had seen combat action that was atypical for a three month old shifter. The LBS swapped it out as warranty work, no questions asked.

And +1 to coffee/pizza/beer for wrench attention. My LBS was right next to a nice coffeehouse. Knowing how each wrench took his coffee or what they liked on a sandwich meant if something went awry on a training ride on Thursday, it was ready to ride Friday afternoon.

Too funny.  Some times Bicycle Retail gets more than a little trying…

Seriously, asked for tennis balls????  LOLWUT

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