Saturday, February 8, 2014

Erik Schneider: My Giant Bike

Source:Erik Schneider- Griffin's Cyle in Bethesda, Maryland.
Source:The New Democrat

This story is almost exactly a week old, actually more like ten days. But a week from last Wednesday the Wednesday before the Super Bowl, I took my bike out for a ride on a cold late Maryland afternoon. Which isn’t uncommon for me, but what was uncommon was that the gears weren’t working properly. The gears were stuck in low gear if not the lowest gear making the bike very difficult to accelerate. Imagine driving a car on the road especially a highway with the top speed of twenty miles an hour. Well that is what it is like riding a bicycle stuck in low gear.

Source: Erik Schneider-
The next day somehow the gears are back to running normally and I didn’t do a thing to the bike. Or have anyone look at it or fix it, but the gears were back to running normally. But last Friday I had a bigger problem with the gears in that they were now stuck in high gear. So I’m trying to ride up steep hills with the bike in top gear. Kinda like trying to push a piano up a flight of steps with just your hands. Lucky for me I’m an avid rider and I’m in very good physical and biking shape. When they were stuck in top gear I knew I had a serious problem and needed to get the bike to the shop.

So last Saturday I take the bike in high gear ride it all the way over to Big Wheel Bikes in downtown Bethesda, Maryland. About two miles from where I live and this is a place that gives excellent service. I’ve been a regular customer there for almost four years now since the summer of 2010. And they told me they didn’t have the parts to fix the gear changer on the bike. But that I should call them back Tuesday and the manager there would call around and see if he can get the new parts by then, but he wasn’t sure if he could at all.

The guys at Big Wheel even suggested that if I didn’t want to wait that long which I didn’t I bike ride everyday, that maybe I should take the bike over to Griffin’s Bikes just up the street. And maybe they could fix it that day, Griffin’s just happens to be one of Big Wheel’s competitors. I use to be a regular customer of Griffin’s but in late 2009 I go in there just for a tune-up which are normally like three-hundred bucks for my old bike. The bike is four years old at this point and guy there was basically trying to sell me a new bike. Saying that if he gave it a tune-up I might only get a couple more months out of that bike.

I take the bike over to Big Wheel in the summer of 2010 and get another tune-up after the last tune-up came from Griffin’s in the fall of 2009 and they fixed the bike right up and I got almost another four years out of it. I go to Big Wheel partly because of my last experience at Griffin’s, but also because Big Wheel was suggested to me by two people who know a lot about bikes that I respect. The last two years for my old bike were pretty rough. The whole bike except for the base of it has essentially been rebuilt including the breaks and the gears would’ve had to have been replaced as well.

I go to Griffins last Saturday because Big Wheel couldn’t fix the gears right away. And the guy there asks me if he can look the bike all over because he very quickly was seeing a lot that wasn’t right. About the bike and basically concluded that what it would take to rebuild the bike it would simply be cheaper to get a new bike. And what I asked him was how about if you completely repair the old bike and I’ll get a new bike from you and use the old bike as a spare. He told me that fixing the old bike would be somewhere around a thousand dollars and it wouldn’t be worth the time. So I decided to dump the old bike except for the parts that still worked like the basket, headlight, backlight and so forth. And had them transferred to my new bike.

I bought the old bike in the summer of 2005 for five-hundred dollars. I bought my new Trek mountain bike today that has all the new features as my old 2005 Giant Boulder. Great bike by the way when it was running for six-hundred and fifty dollars. Griffins saved me something like four-hundred dollars by getting me a new bike. And the thing I can’t figure out is how come Big Wheel didn’t figure out that my old bike needed a hell of a lot of new work on it. On top of the work I had on it late last year and the summer as well and just tell me, “how about we dump this bike and sell you a new one and save you some money”.

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