Overheard

A week or so ago I made the trip over to the LBS (local bike shop) to have them look at a frame pump that failed prematurely. The pump was only about two months old and had only been used about a half-dozen times, but would no longer compress more than 60 psi. As I run my tires at about 85 psi this was problematic. Turned out that the seals were dry. The bike shop guy proceeded to lecture me about pump maintenance while he re-greased it. Being new to biking, and having spent $40 on a failed pump at their shop (which had probably sat on their shelf for months and months), I was not too interested in what he had to say. So I tuned him out and started listening to the suburbanites at the counter next to me. He was dressed in Lycra shorts and a team jersey. She had that “I just got a new sporty outfit at Macy’s” look.

He: I think I might get a new bike soon. Mine is a couple years old.
She: Not until I get a new one. That 12 year old Canondale piece of shit you make me ride is falling apart.
He: If you’d put more than 5 miles a week on it maybe you could get a new one, too.
She: I might put more miles on one that’s not so damn old.

Blah, blah, blah. It’s become obvious, after hearing many such conversations at the LBS that this is the type of customer they like. I, on the other hand, am interested in maintaining my 20 year old Schwinn instead of buying something new every couple of years. I don’t think they like me all that much.

Turns out, the yuppies fighting over who gets a new ride were there to buy their smart mouthed kid a new mountain bike. Like the fat little bastard’s gonna ride it. I saw the XBox thumbs on him. He’s interested in Coke and potato chips. The conversation turned to the new bike.

He: Can we get a water bottle cage on it?
LBS dude: The way the top tube slants you can’t put one on the down tube. But we have these handlebar mount cages. Those are nice because it’s right there by his hands. Easy to get to.

Fair enough, I thought. Sounds like a good solution to me. Soccer Mom wouldn’t hear of it.

She: That’s gonna make him look all dorky. Can you mount one on the top tube?
LBS dude: That’s not a good idea. He’s going to fall eventually. Having one up there could, uh, hurt him, uh, down there.

They ended up buying him a Camelbak. Because that’s not going to make him look dorky at all. My pump was working at this point. “You really need to grease it more often.” I wanted to say “You really need to sell pumps that aren’t dried out”, but I didn’t. I thanked him and left. Soccer Mom was in the parking lot bitching about the new bike tearing up the trunk of their Beamer and why couldn’t they have brought the Land Rover since the bike racks are on it and blah blah blah.

I have since found a new LBS. At least two people there have called me by name after my first visit. They stock parts that will work on my old Schwinn. And most of the wrenches build their own bikes.

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