[personal profile] tj_rowe
Or, to identify whether the guy I'm talking to realises what sort of bike he's looking at, or if he's just trying to sell me stuff.

My bike cost me fourteen pounds at the student's union bike auction, and then spent a week being drenched in WD40 until the bits moved again. I had a saddle donated to me, and I never took it very far until recently. Since then it's had the gear mech and front wheel replaced because they were horribly misshapen after the vandalism incident, and new break pads at the same time. It's also got a pannier rack and set of mudguards which cost more than it + repairs did.

The key phrase that the bad ones, the ones that think (or think that you think) that a bike needs to look and feel brand new rather than just get you to where you're going without falling apart, use is 'new outer'.

I accept that I'm going to need new brake cables at some point (I think I may have got some new second-hand ones post-vandalism, even), and given the rust, it's probably not long. But, so far, the chaps that have said so have also rattled off a list of things that my bike could 'do with'... including 'new outer'.

Now, I know that my bike does not need new outers (though yes, it may want them). The ones it has are weathered and cracked, yes, but not worn. They'll do. I am a person who doesn't know much about bikes who owns a hack, basically. It doesn't need to be shiny. The gear mech will fall apart again (as it seems half-way to doing already, sigh) before the tires need more help. It is a student bike.


I went into the shop today to get some grease-like stuff to apply to said gear mech, because it was starting to cry whenever I rode it, and the thing that helps it change gears seems to jam up on the lightest settings. I may have told the guy this in a rather too long-winded fashion, though, because he assumed that I wanted to leave it there and get them to fix it (insert list of new bits they could put on in exchange for expensive).

No, I wanted to buy something greasy that would help it happier, and for them to point at the bits that greasing would do the most good with, because I would miss an important bit due to not noticing that it moved. Also, I brought the bike into the shop because I'd used it to travel there and all available leaning-space outside the shop was covered in bikes already. For Sale bikes. Also I hoped that if something was obviously out of alignment and needed a smack, then that could be delivered, but I didn't really reckon on that because it would be making more noise in that case.




Also today I cycled nearly seven miles (according to google maps), some of which was on the ring road! Apparently Boyes closes at half five rather than six now, though (and is looking for full-time and evening staff if any people on f-list are interested in that), and I got there at twenty to six. (Thinking 'Loads of time! Aww...') So I don't get to spend my Friday and Saturday painting polystyrene balls and doing pin-art while listening to the Statistical Mechanics podcast, sadly.

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Tamar Joshua Rowe

August 2011

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