rode report 2016.03.28

March 29, 2016

Flat front tire this morning. First thing. Before I even started pedaling. Not sure how I missed it last night when I rolled my bike from the garage to the house, which is how I do – prep for my morning commute, as much as I can, the night before. Maybe there was nothing to notice, as in it was a slow leak. But even then, you think I would have caught a deflated tire when I rolled my bike over the front door trim and out of the house this morning. It just doesn’t seem possible that it was a full tire until I stood up on the pedals and somehow pushed out all the air – whoosh. When does that ever happen? Like a flat tire in waiting.

But I don’t know; maybe it was partially full?

I am belaboring this point here much longer than I belabored it in reality. Which is kind of how writing works. You think something for 10 seconds and then write about it for at least 10 minutes. But also, I just had a flat tire on Friday. Seriously. Three days ago. Back tire. And it  was a bigger ordeal because I had already biked in more than half of my commute when my tire went flat. So there was some walking and taking the max and walking again. Really, it could have been much, much worse, if for instance, I lived some where without something like a max that I could put my bike on. But I digress. In reality this morning, I was like: fuck. again. ugh. wish I woulda caught it sooner. work. email work. why am i embarrassed? make coffee. don’t change your clothes.

When does Bike Gallery open?

In my life, I’ve changed out a flat possibly two times. So, yes, I can change one (although I am slow-ass-slow), but if I don’t absolutely have to, then I don’t. Portland’s got a bajillion bike shops. Bike mechanics have changed a bajillion flats. That makes me, not a bajillion times happier, but happier than I would be if the aforementioned weren’t true. I would be a bajillion times happier, if more than one of these shops had early morning hours. Like last Friday morning, I would have been ecstatic if Metropolis, the bike shop I walked by on Williams, would have been open. Isn’t there a business case for early morning bike repair hours? Especially post the spring-forward time change, lots of people bike commute in pre-bike shop hours, i.e. before 10am. And chains break. Spokes break. Lights stop working. Flats happen. Bolts wiggle out of eyelets and racks come loose. But I imagine bike shop people can make a very convincing lifestyle case for not starting work before 10.

The guy at the Bike Gallery on Sandy was super fast. Kinda curt. But he didn’t go down the mansplaining hole. This points to the low bar I’ve set for the bike shop customer service experience, which is so defined by mansplanation overload, that the absence of it counts as a win, regardless of the quality of the work. The thing is  I don’t have the expertise to assess the work. If I did, maybe I would just do the work myself. And admittedly, I don’t think to check up on the work either, or at least whatever I can figure out to check up on. I think I should be able to assume the mechanic has correctly fixed whatever they said the would fix (and charged me to fix) and then put my bike back together so that it won’t fall apart as I am riding it. (In a sec, I will explain why you shouldn’t make this assumption). But also, it’s pretty common for mechanics to talk smack about the work of other mechanics. Like the Bike Gallery dude didn’t find anything that had punctured the tire and tube, so maybe he was talking out of his ass when he said that what caused the flat was that someone had installed a tube that was too big and there a fold in the tube that caused a hot spot that resulted in a slow leak. I’ve been racking my brain trying to remember the last person who fixed a flat on my front tire and I think it at was my regular shop and I just can’t imagine those guys fucking up the tube. The Cat Six guys are the best.

Anyway, back to checking work and not assuming things got fixed up right. The silver lining to this morning’s flat is I discovered a fuck up on the rear tire that was caused by the Tram guy who fixed the flat last Friday. The tire was bubbled out by the stem, so much so that it was almost unbeaded from the rim. Had I ridden on it many more days like that, it probably would have blown out on me. The Bike Gallery dude said that what happened was that before the Tram dude fully inflated the rear tube, he either 1) didn’t pull the tube stem all the way through the opening in the rim, or 2) didn’t get the tire bead fully seated in the rim, or 3) locked down the nut on the valve.

I told the Tram guy about his fuck up when I finally got to work this morning, although I didn’t call it a fuck up. He didn’t argue with me, but he didn’t look like he really believed me either. I immediately wished I would have taken a photo. I don’t know why I didn’t ask for my money back, as it was a shitty repair job. But mostly I wanted to impress on him that it could have ended up in bad scene for me. So check your work, dude.

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