Friday, November 18, 2011

The Internet Vs. The Local Bike Shop

I love the Internet. Any place where beauty and depravity are sewn so tightly together holds a special place in my heart. As a cyclist the Internet is a great place to find really good deals on gear and connect and share ideas and knowledge with other cyclists.

Having said that, there are things the Internet won't do. The Internet won't help you diagnose a technical on the side of the trail on a cold night. The Internet won't answer your random tech questions while trying to get you back on the trail. The Internet sure as hell won't replace faulty parts while performing the previous two functions.

Ok, so I'll get to it.

Last Tuesday I was riding the LHT (yeah you know me) home from Bethesda on the Capital Crescent Trail. I hadn't been on the LHT all season. I decided that this past summer was going to be all about the road bike. Well summer is over and I have been looking forward to getting back on the big rig. Upon doing so I immediately felt very slow and very weak. After a mile or so I realized I couldn't possibly be this out of shape and that something was wrong with my rear hub (XT m770). I  pulled into the CityBikes off the trail at Connecticut Ave. to borrow a cone wrench thinking maybe things were too tight on the bearings.

I went to the back of the store and proceeded to remove the rear wheel. I was startled when I grabbed the cassette as it was burning hot, the whole hub was and so were the spokes. I gave the wheel to Brian, one of the mechanics on duty, and he started to monkey. To make a long story short he tried for about 10 minutes to get the hub apart which was locked up tighter than a duck's ass. When he finally did and removed the freehub bearings he saw that one of the rings had cracked causing all sorts of mayhem. While this was going on he replaced my Serfas True 250 which was having a battery issue.

The kicker is he did all this without being douchie, charging me an arm and a leg, or putting on airs like some some bike mechanics feel the need to do. We've all encountered one or a combination of these elements at one time or another when having bike work done. This was not the case last Tuesday night.

The moral of the story is this; no amount of Internet connectivity can compare to a friendly knowledgeable face when the shit hits the fan.

If you're wondering, the freehub was toast and I had to get a ride from a friend. I ordered a new complete hub and am planning on swapping out the guts of the old one with the new one as the old hub body is fine. However, if this proves to be beyond my technical abilities I'll know where to go.




6 comments:

Trevor said...

There is nothing better than a genuine and friendly bike mechanic....as you pointed out the internet can't really get close.

-Trevor

Lisa said...

I have pulled into that same City Bikes when I had a problem riding home and they helped me for free. Great people in there!

Anonymous said...

Did you order the new hub online or through City Bikes?

Brian @ City Bikes said...

Thanks for the kind words; we really appreciate it.

Anonymous said...

hopefully you did the right thing and ordered the hub from the bike shop.
if not...you're the douche

dc dirtbag said...

What a nice heart warming story about a local dc area bike shop.
I have had mixed experiences there but mostly good and in recent years no problems.

It's funny though that in dc you are normally guaranteed to be treated like crap in most of the shops. Too many years of the confluence of clueless freds with their fat wallets and lance pharmstrong fantasies and the clueless bike shop employee who only feels important in the cloistered world of the shop know-it-all lair.

Yeah for City Bikes folks for not acting like jerks but shouldn't we expect that from people?