Sunday, September 26, 2010

Customers are great.

Sitting here drinking my morning coffee I just happened to be staring at one of the tips we were given at the shop.

A gift certificate to Tart as a tip? Okay!

The dessert tips are my favorite. I just had a delicious truffle last night that was a tip. (That's two truffles in two days because on Friday the Hawthorne Fred Meyer was sampling Lindt truffles when I was there!)

Other tips we've gotten aside from the ever welcome dollar bills:
New Seasons gift certificates
Cake (the one I'm thinking of was from Pix and so so chocolaty good)
vegan muffins

Generally food, come to think of it. I just wanted to say thank you, because it makes me feel special. Even though it's the mechanics you're tipping, they're generally pretty great guys and they share.

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Reasons to close for holidays

Our recent change in hours has gone very smoothly. Number one response to the new hours "You were open at 8 in the morning?"

Being open 7 days a week, it's pretty rare that we get a chance to close. Sometimes we'll use a holiday like MayDay to close and have our peer review (spokes council. spokes like bike wheels, get it, we're so clever), and other times like Labor Day, we close because it makes sense and we could all use a day off.
Partially just as a reminder to ourselves, here is a list of days we know we will be closed in the upcoming holiday season. They have been historically quiet days and we feel pretty confident you'll be off doing other stuff.

thursday November 25 Thanksgiving Day
friday November 26 Buy Nothing Day

saturday December 25 Christmas Day

saturday Jan 1 New Years Day

Friday, September 24, 2010

Baskets and bungees

The other day a customer was in the shop trying to decide whether to get a rear rack, or a front basket.

It made me think of how much I love my front basket (I think of it as the middle size basket, but Ian tells me that most people would think of it as a big basket). I have been able to carry everything I have needed (within reason) with my front basket and trusty bungee net. The bungee net is key.

Me and my bike set up a couple of years ago. . . before we found my awesome mixte frame. The basket is carrying: a toaster oven, metal kitchen drawer set and a foot stool.
Ian also has some fancy language about the center of gravity axis of the bicycle and where is best to carry the weight for the best handling/ride, and it all makes sense. I just know I love my basket.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

A primer on Irony.

Before we left for our morning ride up Mt. Tabor I had started a post all about how my road bike has a new lower lowest gear. It involved lots of numbers, wikipedia and gear inch calculators. The ride went a little differently than expected, so I deleted that post and here is the replacement.

Waiting for Clinton to meet us on our way to the park.

We left for the ride, met up with Clinton and Spencer on the way. Everything was normal until we'd finished our laps at the top of Mt. Tabor and I sent everyone down ahead of me because I wanted some "Rachel action shots." Like the ones of Clinton and Ian in my first Tabor post.

The plan was to give them enough of a lead to get to the bottom and then Ian would ride partway back up to take my picture as I came down.

So I started another lap around the top as they rode down to the reservoir.

Clinton speedy down the hill while Ian waited for my descent.

Up top, I was halfway through my stalling lap when I felt a "wibblewobbleblurbleblurble," looked down and indeed, my rear tire was flat.

I pondered my sixth grade literature lesson about "irony," which I learned about by reading O. Henry's Gift of the Magi.

The wikipedia article on Irony is really good. Having just read it, I realize now that all of my subsequent usage of "irony," is "situational" or "cosmic" irony and though it "appears to be gaining ground. It is still considered a minor usage." (according to the wikipedia article)

I had no cell phone to tell the three mechanics riding with me what had happened. I hoisted my bicycle on my shoulder and started walking.

After 30 seconds I wished I had one of these, because my clamp-on cable guide was digging into my shoulder.

Portage Strap by Walnut Studios. Photo copyright

While walking I wondered if it was ironic that:

I got a flat just after sending everyone ahead of me.

Between the four of us we had one multi-tool and that was it.

(shifting shoulders again because of the clamp-ons digging in)

I make these yet didn't have one with me.

Bike tool kit roll from my Bike Cozy line of accessories. 

Although I'd ridden up Tabor a handful of times, I did not know the fastest way to walk to the rendezvous reservoir.

(Now carrying bicycle on back of both shoulders)

I determined none of these things were ironic, and was in-between thoughts when a cyclist on his way UP the hill asked if I needed a tube.

How lucky that an everyday hero happened by. "Yes, I could use some help," I said. 

The nice gent named Bill (I would have asked for a picture, but the camera was at the bottom of the hill with Ian) pulled off the path, and changed my flat, giving me his spare tube and everything. I was so embarrassed (owning a bike shop and all) that it wasn't until about half-way through I mentioned that, "The ironic thing is that the other three riders I'm with are bike mechanics, and we're four of the six owners of A Better Cycle, and amongst us, we're carrying one multi-tool." It gave us both a good chuckle.

Just as my wheel was ready to go back on my bike, Ian rode up and said "There she is! We wondered what had happened to you."

We thanked Bill, who shrugged off our offer of replacing his tube if he stopped by the shop. "No, worries, I've been on your side of this situation before."

Ian and I set off down the hill. He took a few pictures on the way down. When he asked if any turned out well, I said there was one I liked, but it didn't look like I was moving. He didn't believe it, saying that my spokes had to at least be blurry.

Not a blurry spoke among them.

In summary, the ride was a bit anti-climactic. Helpful strangers still exist. Some people don't clean up after their dogs (Ian had to wash off dog poop from his cleated shoe-- from standing in the grass for the pictures of Clinton.) The lower gear is nicer.


P.S. Dear Bill, my offer stands if you want to upgrade your pump, come by and we'll give you a great deal. Also, you are more than welcome to stop by and we'll give you a replacement tube. You saved my ride. Rachel

Take that Tabor!

You may not be able to tell from the picture, but my ride up Tabor is about to be a whole lot nicer. Lowest gear just went from a 42/21 to a 39/24 . Full update after the ride.