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Chacham's Journal: Chronical: Bike fixing and parts

Journal by Chacham

Some years ago, perhaps 6 or 7, after deliberating building or buying, i bought a bike. I ride it for pleasure and to keep in shape. While i don't ride too much due to minor arthritis, i have managed to ride over 2500 miles according to the odometer.

I went to the local Trek Store, American Cycle & Fitness, and asked for a cleaning. When i had been there a week or two prior to purchase toe grips, he oiled my chain and mentioned that i could use a cleaning. When he told me that were out of grips but might have them soon, i left with intention to get them when they called me.

They never called. So, i came back and asked again. The grips, as before, are only available pre-attached to pedals, which i did not need. So, i asked about the cleaning, for $49.99, he looked and said i needed the $89.99 service: the spokes needed tightening, the brakes were loose, the flywheel needed to be replaced, and i needed a new chain. I was able to verify the wheel not being straight, which he said the spoke tightening fixes; i couldn't tell the difference between the new and old flywheel, but i knew the bike wasn't always shifting (down two, up one, to go down one); and the brakes were indeed loose. Why i needed a chain, i don't know. I mentioned to him my need to conserve cash as i have no job, and he found a cheaper chain in the back saving me about 10 bucks.

I also needed a bike lock. I seem to lose those, but after having two bikes stolen in the past (one from the shed, the other, i don't remember), i am weary of being with a lock as a deterrent. Combination is preferred so i don't lose the key, but thickness of the cable is irrelevant, as if someone can break one lock, he can probably break any. The lock is just a deterrent.

He helped me find a lock and suggested the stronger one. They only sell Kryptonite locks. Previously they had Trek locks, but he explained they were just made by Kryptonite anyway. Or so i think he said. I went for the cheaper, thinner one, but it would not fit in my previous holder. I do not remember if the new one came with one. So, i took the more expensive lock, which looked like it would fit. It didn't, so they went to install it.

The lock holster comes with a strap, and a screw, and a confusing instruction sheet written in 14,000 languages. I asked them to install it. They had a hard time doing it, he asked him, then asked him back, until finally it was installed. Laurel and Hardy could have done no better.

My erstwhile lock's holster was situated near the handlebar, as no other place could hold it comfortably. The new guy didn't like that, so he put it under the seat (on the upright middle bar). Of course, there was little room, so he had to lower the holster, then explained that the lock was too large so i would have to twist it when taking it out. /me wonders if he realized his stupidity in rejecting the position near the handlebar. Oh well, it does work with a minor fidget now and then to keep the cable from hitting my legs.

Then comes the light. I have a CatEye, it has two levels of brightness, which makes little difference, but it illuminates well. I just go back and forth between having it shine right in front of the wheel and further ahead. The former is for immediate safety, though considering i am moving, the latter seems more useful. So, i figured why not have two lights.

First he told me the my model wasn't available any more, then went on to sell the most expensive model, it was a $45 LED, USB rechargeable, bright light. Indeed it was bright. The lady nearby explained it was diffused widely too. After wavering with the cheaper models, i decided on this one because i wanted the brighter wider light for my safety.

He took the display model because it was the last one, and when i asked for a floor-model discount, he declined, saying it was just a few days old and the package was in the back. Arg. He installed it very easily on the fork.

When paying, i heard the people next to me getting a card with "points" from another worker. When i asked about it, the told me i was eligible and i needed to speak to her (they were closing, and his computer was off), and then send an email to get the current purchase added. I asked her and she just took care of everything. It was nice, other than the fact that i had to ask.

Riding home was amazing. The smooth riding, shifting, and breaking made it all seem worth it. That night, however, i found the light to be utterly useless. Not only was the beam so diffused as to illuminate very little, being he put it on the fork, it was pointing upward, not downward! I tried other places, but they were either impractical places, or the wheel block their effectivity. Checking Amazon, comments mentioned it's excellent use as a marker. Also, while the list price was $45, Amazon had it for about half that.

I wiped it clean from some minor dust with water, put it back in it's package, and brought it back two days later. He took it back without a hassle. I now intend to purchase one on Amazon, together with the toe clips.

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Chronicla: Bike fixing and parts

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