Tuesday, March 17, 2009

how to become a cool bike mechanic: take 1

I'm usually aware of the bike shops in my area, similar to the way you might know a local deli or coffee shop. You go there, you eat some eggs or a bagel--just the way I go to these places and drool over blinking red lights and purple chains (NOT USELESS, I swear). So, imagine my surprise when I found out the bike shop closest to me, On the Move (7th Ave between 12th & 13th streets) is woman-owned! Yes! I love when that happens. This has, of course, turned all my bike daydreams into bike-shop-owning-day dreams. How hard can it be, right?

Hmmm. This coming from someone who recently got her rims installed by assuming that the hubs on my bike came with 32 holes. They come with 28. Cue to embarassing call from bike shop lady, Deborah, telling me I either need new hubs or I need to pay for them to rebuild my old wheels. SIGH. I can't seem to get this stuff right, despite being obsessed with it. I guess I could have counted the spokes...

ALSO: one of the mechanics at my bike shop is a girl my age! Ah! She stole my bike-shop-owning-path daydreams by planting herself in the local bike shop and changing pedals on middle-aged women's Schwinns while wearing a dirty black cycling cap and sporting a lip ring. Damnit, how do people get involved with these things? I had fantasies of asking Deborah if I could hang around her shop on Saturdays and learn things about fixing bicycles but it seems my role as bike mechanic girl has already been filled. Perhaps it is too little, too late...

I recently stopped into the bike shop on Vanderbilt Avenue. When I asked what kind of bikes he carried -- thinking he only did used bikes -- he told me he basically finds bikes and "city-fies" them. Though unfamiliar with this term, I think he meant he just strips down the gears and makes them either fixed or singlespeed. He also likes to use old steel frames and riser handlebars. I am jealous of him too, and think that he may be plan B to bike shop owning stardom (plan A being: become Deborah's right hand mechanic girl by learning everything I can from mechanic girl #1 and then taking her place when she moves to Portland, OR or San Fran like any self-respecting bike enthusiast).

In other news, K. is looking for a bike. This isn't too difficult, considering her criteria is "blue or green" and "has a basket." We saw this pretty Gary Fisher Simple City bike on the street:

We also stopped into a bike shop and saw this 2009 Raleigh One Way, that looks like my bike, but nicer:

I also saw a Fuji fixed gear, which I have been told is the best fit for women. This basically means its a miniature version of the smaller fixed gear bikes, and all of the dimensions, like the top tube, are slightly smaller and therefore better for petite frames. It means you won't be leaning to far or overextending to be riding your bicycle. I'm interested in comparing my bicycle (49cm) to this Fuji, but alas, that will be another post.

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