Tuesday, September 06, 2011

Bike Repairs

Back when Ming and I went to Minot, North Dakota, to ride around the flooded plains, I took my bike in for a tune up before taking it out for 150 miles of riding in the middle of nowhere. I took it to Erik's in Eagan because that's where I've been going since I had the argument with a Penn Cycle employee about whether he "wouldn't" sell me a new chain unless I also replaced my cogs. Before that, I had taken my bike to Erik's in Richfield until they gave me back my bike with the front wheel on backwards and my odometer in a non-functional state. Erik's in Eagan didn't fare much better, as I got my bike home, popped it off the rack, and discovered the front wheel wouldn't turn. I mucked around with it for a while and adjusted the brakes, then rolled down the street. Back and forth and up and down as well as straight ahead. Seems an expensive bicycle tune up doesn't include actually truing the back wheel, which was so out of true that my wife recognized it, and it rubbed against the brakes. I trued it up just enough to make due (I'm not very good at it, although I can get a wheel in passable shape if I spend an hour at it), and went on my trip the next day. Ming can attest that I was very grumpy, although not grumpy enough to take Erik's to task when I got back - the idea of having to deal with someone who's either a.) incompetent or b.) doesn't care about their job or the people who pay for their service, feels like a waste of time.

So this time, when I needed new spokes, I took the wheel back to Penn, violating my rule of never going back to a place that irritates me. One strike! I dropped off the wheel, and that evening I got a call from a mechanic who said that a couple of spokes were in bad shape and perhaps they should swap out the wheel. I commented that it wasn't that old for a wheel, although it was true I'd put some hard miles on it, including towing a tagalong, which is rough on a back wheel. But I approved the order. So I was surprised today when they called again and left a message for me that it was ready to pick up and there were two new spokes. I called back and asked for details, as I'd approved a new wheel, and they said that it had been a newer mechanic who made that call, and they'd determined the wheel could be salvaged. I asked, "Why did it cost me $50 for two spokes when a whole new wheel only costs $70?" They rattled off the spokes, the labor, and the cost of installing a new tube. That surprised me, as I had dropped off a perfectly inflated wheel.

They had popped the tube and were trying to charge me for a new one. SOAB. They apologized for the mistake and took the $20 for installing a new tube (really?) off my bill.

So I don't know where the hell I'm going to go next. Maybe I have to just strap my wheel or defective parts to my back and bike it up to the greenway on my other bicycle.

1 comment:

Larry Rubinow said...

Boehms. They've been nothing but nice to me (though honestly, I haven't asked much of them).