Back to life as a bike mechanic


I have not spent a single moment either celebrating going back to Grand Junction, CO or even preparing for it. I have been happily busy working on bikes, working out, and making food. But, I cannot say that I have made a decision. My decision-making process is a bit unrefined. I would like more of a definitive answer, but am generally unable to provide it to myself. What I can say is that one thing I was looking forward to doing rather than moving to GJ was writing this. Not just writing it, but getting a means of doing it - we did not have a computer until about a week ago. Just haven't needed it. But, the moment I considered not taking the job, this was the first thing I could come up with to do that would make me feel better. That being said, let me re-cap my 12th day as a bike tech. I've had my ass handed to me several times this past week, but today was not nearly like that - except for my complete accessorizing of two Electra cruisers. First, I scratched the pristine white front fender on the first bike, rendering it scrap metal. That slowed me down a bit. Before I describe the process, slow everything down a bit and then you can get a better idea of the pace I am capable of working at. I am unfamiliar with EVERY aspect of working on a bike, and everything has a pretty specific process.

You can't just remove something, until another bolt is loosened - and you can't just replace something until you know that it is compatible - and you ask a fellow tech and they say it will work, but they are distracted so they didn't notice it is this way and not that, so you go to put it on, which requires you to disassemble the bike, and you try to make it work and it doesn't, so you try more, and it still doesn't, which makes you a shit tech, then you say "so, I can't get this fucking thing to work" and they say "yeah, of course it doesn't."

Now, back to the fender that I just scratched.

Technically I have all the pieces I need to make fenders, a rack, a coffee cup holder, a bag, and a mirror work just fine - on both bikes. Starting with just the fenders, on the one bike the instructions read that the long stay ALWAYS go on the front for Electra bikes. That's pretty clear, so I can do that. Why not apply those instructions to the next bike? Save time, right?! Fucking no. Shit like that just adds time to the whole process. Removing and inserting bolts 6 times or so to get it right, hours start to melt away like a popsicle in your hand. Like if the popsicle didn't have a stick and you put it right in your hot palm. Later a tech will gently, but bitterly mention that you have been accessorizing for a while as they have had to do every flat that has come in for the past hour. That was the beginning of the day. Those 45 pound shits had to be hung from the ceiling after because the customer wasn't going to be in for a couple weeks. I may have been able to do it, but given my experiences up to that point, I can't confidently say I wouldn't have seriously injured myself picking the only hook that wanted to fall out.

A couple tunes later, a couple flats later and I'm looking at the last hour of the day with only a bike to box. I toss the bike up in the stand, and my reflex is to pedal it and run through the shifters. The cassette had three spiders, including a red back spider - indigenous to Australia. At this point, I can't go on. I fucking call out for chivalry and get one of the guys to take over killing it. No workers comp at a shop, which isn't even the issue, really. The issue is I grew up in a basement crawling with spiders, and can't deal with them well. My shit itched for a while, and I could hardly touch the bike to get it boxed. Bleh. It was a real big one. Even after hosing down the bike, she held strong. Bitch spider. Anyway, so this post was going to be about deciding whether to go back to GJ or not, and you see how distracted I got? Maybe I'll hash it out tomorrow.

- Candi