Friday, May 06, 2005

Fixing a bicycle

I brought my bike back to the store to be fixed. The guy fiddled with it for 10 minutes, then said “OK, you’re all set.” I asked “can you show me that it’s working?” He looked at me like I was crazy. I wanted him to put it up on the rack and demonstrate that the gears were working. “I fixed it, should be fine.” I had to explain to him “well, when I picked up the bike yesterday I was told it was fine and obviously it wasn’t.”

He put the bike on the rack and started jumping through all the gears. The front gears have 3 sprockets: small-medium-large. I watched the chain jump from the large to the small, then middle, large, small-middle-large, small-middle-large. It was never going from large to middle, which was one of the problems I was having. So I asked him “can you put it on the large sprocket? Now go to the middle.” The chain went to large, jumped down to small and back up to middle. “There you go” he says. “No, it skipped right over the middle sprocket to the small, then went back up.” He did the same thing again. “There.” “No, it should be able to go directly from the large sprocket to the middle.” AGAIN he demonstrated the large-small-middle transition and tried to tell me that it’s working.

He took the bike for a small test ride, came back and asked “can you leave the bike overnight?” So at least now I knew he was having trouble too, and it wasn’t just that I didn’t know how to shift gears properly I really didn’t want to leave the bike; It’s a 30-45 minute drive each way, and this was already my 3rd trip to the shop. I told him that I’d rather not have to come back again, but if there’s something wrong with the bike, it needs to be fixed.

I swear, this is basically the conversation we had.

“So you can fix whatever’s wrong with the bike?”
“Oh, there’s nothing wrong with it.”
“But you want me to leave the bike, so you can fix it?”
“Well, if it needs to be fixed, that means something is wrong.”
“The bike isn’t broken.”
“How are you going to fix something that isn’t broken?”
“These cables are too short, so I need to run new wires through the gearing mechanism.”
“OK, I get it, the cables aren’t broken, they’re just the wrong ones.”
“So these are the right cables for the bike?”
“But you need to replace them.”
“Because something is wrong with them.”
“Nothing’s wrong with them.”

It’s not me, is it? I’m not the crazy one, right? Right?


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