One of the joys of working in the bike industry is having access to a wide range of wonderful bikes with which to waste hours of your time on. Unless, you’re a mechanic, then you’re probably working with other people’s BSOs more often than not. Either way, one of the things I’ve found common among industry types is the total inability to maintain their personal bikes. They’re usually in flux between a brake/fork/waterbottle test, or just covered in crap from the last time they rode a bike that was not a loaner.
It’s most evident is in our day-to-day hack bike, pub bike, or commuter. Call it what you will, it’s the bike you probably spend the most time on. It’s also the bike you spend the least time actually repairing despite it being the one that when it fails, it will piss you off the most. That squeak that annoys you on the way to the office is forgotten when the first serving of coffee fills your trough. The last thing you want to do is fix it at the weekend; “It’s dry, I’m riding the nice bike”. Or: “It’s wet, I’m having some cake and watching Sven on the tellybox”.
Well it finally came and bit me on the ass. My lack of attention to my hack ‘crosser called in its cards. The creak had been there for ages. Think 7 months ages. When I sat and spun it was silent, it never raised its head until I got out of the saddle and sprinted to make a set of lights; or skip through that cheeky singletrack; or up that final, hateful little hill to my house.
One day I decided to fix it. I don’t know why, maybe I’d been sniffing glue, maybe it was because I was going to the Alps in four days and needed the bike. Either way, trying to fix the creak was a Bad Idea Bear sat in a cage. Hungry. I knew it was somewhere in the bottom bracket area so cranks and BB bearings out, cleaned out the BB shell and took a look inside.
Oh look, a crack.
At this point there really was not much else to do. I wasn’t taking a broken frame to the Alps for two weeks. Even I’m not that stupid. I could try to swap everything to the other frame that’s hanging in the garage, but I already know that the cranks won’t fit it. Anyway, it doesn’t have wate rbottle mounts, sorta pointless for road riding.
So what do you do when you’ve busted your bike and can’t do much else? Well, you send out pleading emails to anyone you know who might loan you a bike with promises of beer. And this is the other thing that has always struck me about the bike industry – helpfulness. People will always go out of their way to sort you out. Especially if you bribe them with beer.
Beer of the Week
Brasserie Du Mont Blanc: La Verte 5.9% vol.
The impossible blending of two very bitter notes resulting in a perfect balance between alcohol, acidity, powerful aroma and sugar. Fine and light. The Alps’ finest in your glass!
What better way to pay back for the loan of a bike than with beer. Even better, a beer you aren’t likely to see on your own home shelves. Quite a bitter taste at first, but with really sweet overtones, one to savour rather than drown in. The local Génépi liquer added to the beer gives it something but with less of a hangover than it did on its own.