Monthly Archives: June 2013

We never made it to West Old LaHonda this morning

Eric notices a low tire at the start of the ride, and changes the tube.
Eric notices a low tire at the start of the ride, and changes the tube.

This was the first time in over a month we didn’t need leg warmers! Or base layers. Or jackets. Just a steady supply of tubes.

Eric, Karl, Karen, Kevin, Kevin, Marcus & Todd today, rolling out 6 minutes behind schedule since Eric noticed a tire quite low on air and replaced the tube before the start. Thursday, so we rode up through the park… not terribly fast, not terribly slow. I was able to keep Kevin (my son, not the pilot) in sight even at the very end of Kings, so he finished about 45 seconds ahead of me. I can live with that!

The second flat, on Skyline between Sky Londa and Kings
The second flat, on Skyline between Sky Londa and Kings

Dry roads are something I always look forward to because I can let loose on the descents, but we were held back a bit today by Marcus, who’s definitely getting better, but still isn’t nearly as fast going downhill as he is going up. He’s so fast going uphill I don’t even know if it would be possible to safely be at that extreme on the descents! But when we regrouped at Sky Londa, we were missing… Eric. Waited a couple minutes, no Eric. Eric sometimes hangs back a bit on the descents, apparently having greater respect for living a full life than some of us, but still, he’s not going to trail by even a minute, so it was back-track time, making sure he didn’t need help somewhere… which he did. Kevin, Kevin, Marcus and I found Eric almost at the top of Skyline, working with another flat tire. This time we found the cause (a little sliver of metal often called a “Michelin wire” because they come from steel-belted radials driven too long and now shedding their steel mesh on the road). By now we were so far behind schedule the only realistic option was to keep going back the way we came and descend Kings.

A couple miles shorter overall, a couple hundred feet more of climbing. I miss not seeing West Old LaHonda on a beautiful day, but that’s life; this is not a ride where it’s OK to ignore that someone’s gone MIA, and it never will be.

Bikes = Freedom from The Man! Parking meters, anyway.
Bikes = Freedom from The Man! Parking meters, anyway.
My bike seems very happy at Peet's after the morning ride
My bike seems very happy at Peet’s after the morning ride

Arriving home 20 minutes late but still enough time for getting a shower and hopping back on the bike for work, with the mandatory coffee detour that reminds me, when on a bike, how much easier it is to park, how you don’t have to pay a meter, and that a standard seat-tube mounted bottle cage works great with a cup of coffee. Just make sure, if you go to Peet’s, that you ask for a piece of tape to cover the sipping hole in the cap. Makes a real mess of your bike otherwise. Been there, done that.

Tales from the Bike Shop

At first this guy just couldn't understand why I told him he couldn't bring it into the shop (because the sign wouldn't fit under the door!!!). Actually a pretty nice guy. Not Charlie, our mechanic. He's certifiably-something.
At first this guy just couldn’t understand why I told him he couldn’t bring his 3-wheeler into the shop (because the sign wouldn’t fit under the door!!! I had to block the door to keep him from damaging either his bike or our door). Actually a pretty nice guy, you just have to tell him to tone things down a bit.

We have a much more, well, “interesting” clientele in our Redwood City store than Los Altos. More diverse in every way, and sometimes, that brings some challenges. Like yesterday, when this older guy (“older” means anyone over 50 now, despite that I fit into that category myself) comes in with a bike from the 70s, a bike that’s in need of more TLC than practical. Chain so badly stretched that a new one is going to skip over the sprockets that the old one has destroyed, and it goes downhill from there.

We tell him that it’s likely not worth fixing unless he has some sentimental attachment to it, and what happens? He gets mad. At us. Because it’s a bike! And bikes are cheap! And we shouldn’t be charging much to fix a bike! The idea being that, since we’re a bike shop, we have some obligation to ignore the costs of staying in business and fix his bike for what it might have cost to fix it in the 70s. He eventually leaves, and I’m trying to figure out what my lesson is here, what can I do next time something like this comes up. And I think I’ve got it.

I’m going to look straight at the guy and tell him, “You know what makes me mad?” And I fully expect he’s going to step back a bit, thinking I’m about to really go at him. “Motel 6 isn’t $6 a night! And they still call it Motel 6!” I can’t wait to use this line. And for those not old enough to know, yes indeed, Motel 6 did actually charge $6/night back in the 60s.

Our daily parade of interesting characters continued this morning, when we open our shop to find the guy in the picture, a 3-wheeler with a flat tire. 3-wheeled bikes are a problem for us in general; we can’t get them up the stairs to our service department, so any work we do on them has to be on-the-spot and on an available-time basis. This particular 3-wheeler is more-challenging than most because of the advertising sign it carries above it, which prevents it from coming through our doors. That didn’t prevent the guy from trying to bring it in through the doors, despite my telling him to stop, it won’t fit. It all worked out in the end; we sent Charlie out to take care of it and get the guy on his way.