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Robert Hamlin Bicycles is not open. I am available for repairs. Just call to set up a time.

Saturday, March 24, 2012

The Young Woman With The Bright Orange Schwinn Cruiser

No, not the young woman in the picture, and no, not the bright orange Schwinn cruiser with the magenta wheels either.  The young woman I'm talking about has short hair, a wonderful smile, a flower child persona, and lives here in Loganistan.  We don't have a beach here in Loganistan, just a flooded marsh.  The young woman and her bicycle came into the shop because her chain kept falling off.  She was absolutely head over heels in love with her bright orange cruiser.  She told the story of how she acquired it, and how she only had to pay $60.  "Don't you just love this bike," she asked?  I smiled, and told her no, that I really hated her bike.  I tried to explain how it was not a real Schwinn, about Kmart and Sears, and how heavy and ridiculously inefficient it was.  She did not hear any of it.  She just loved her bike, and I totally tried to respect that.

I put her heavy bike up on the stand, hurting my back, while we talked about how all guys inherently know how to put a chain back on and that some women have a hard time with it.  I explained that it was a fallacy because the chain guard was kicking my ass.  I inherently figured it out and changed the subject to other deep philosophical discussions, having to politely explain my need to move between my tools and work bench and her bicycle and that she should stand off to the side.  Perhaps I should put tape on the floor like Less Nessman.

The chain ring and cranks were not bent.  The rear hub was wobbly (that's a technical bicycle mechanic term I use when the cheap coaster brake hub allows the rear cog substantial play, even though the wire clip is in place, which explains why legitimate lock rings were invented).  All I could do was tighten the chain so that it was real tight in spots and real loose in other spots and bend the chain guard so that it didn't rub.  Hey, it's what I do.  Then we started talking about how she had used superglue and Scotch tape to repair her rear rack.  The rack eyelets had come un-brazed (the two metal thingies that the rack screws into were no longer attached to the seat stays).  I couldn't stand it.  I took off the tape and threw out the eyelets.  I tried to use two plastic-coated clamps but they were not large enough to go around the fat aluminum seat stays.  So, I wire tired her rack on to the seat stays.  The young woman with the bright orange Schwinn cruiser was ecstatic.  She thought wire ties were genius.  She was so happy she bought a helmet.  Smart woman.  I was so happy, I gave her the pair of leather gloves she wanted.  Absolutely free.  So were my expert bicycle repairs.

I know, I know.  I said I was not going to run my shop like that this time around.  I said that there was going to be a minimum labor charge, and that if I put a bicycle in the stand it was going to cost the customer at least $10.  I also said no discounts, freebies, or credit.  Oh well.  I'm doomed to be the person I've always been.  However, in the end, the young woman with the bright orange Schwinn beach cruiser made my day.


  1. Doomed or not, the kind of person you've always been is the kind of person I wish there were more of. Keep up the good work!

  2. Gavin, thank you so much for your comment!


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