An admitted shoe geek waxes philosophical about running, triathlon, and life in general.
Comments welcome!

Tuesday, January 24, 2012

Wrench for hire

I've got an interview this afternoon.

It's been a LONG time since I've had an interview, like 1988. Unless you count jury duty. Or the first date with my wife.

You see,
Mr Crampy's put out a message on Facebook calling for mechanics or salespeople for part-time work. I made comment about how I love wrenching, but that the shop isn't all that local -- 44 miles each way.

I got a message in return saying we should talk... I mentioned that my wife and I might be able to do a dual employment thing on weekends. So we're meeting tonight.

Now I really do love wrenching on bikes. I started in my freshman year of high school, when my mom bought my first "10 speed" at a garage sale for $25. It was actually a pretty nice bike as garage sale specials go. I went to the local library, which just happened to have a Barnett's manual (extremely rare), and I poured over that tome and soaked in as much knowledge as I could. I figured things out, and used what I had nearby in the garage (my dad was a pretty good wood-worker, a characteristic I definitely did NOT inherit). When I got to college, I started upgrading parts, then got another bike, started accumulating tools... I've worked on everything from building wheels to building up complete bikes from a bare frame, and a whole lot of trouble-shooting in between. The only things I haven't done are chasing threads and straightening bent frames.

But with a stable of eight bikes, wrenching is unavoidable. There's always at least one bike in a state of partial build. Sometimes the lesser-used bikes becomes parts-bins for repairing the more-often-used bikes.

Right now I've got three bikes in partial build state.

One is my track bike/single speed. It is a custom steel frame made by TiCycles with a Softride beam and taking 650c wheels. I gave them a little leeway in the build, so the "seat tube" that would normally hold a front derailleur is vertical, giving it a unique look. It's set up to take brakes front and rear. I haven't used this bike in several years, as the area I live in is far from flat.

Another is a custom funny bike frame built by Bunnyman from the Slowtwitch forum. It uses a 700c rear wheel and a 650c front. I've ridden this bike maybe 5 miles total, mostly experimenting with different components.

Finally, there's an old, retro-aero Javelin X-Frame that uses 650c wheels. I've had this bike on one ride, and it was sweet. The issue is that it takes a pretty big inner chainring (minimum of a 44), or else I need to have a frame builder do some work on it to lower the front derailleur hanger. I'm thinking I'll just go with one chainring and use a front derailleur like a chain keeper. Also, the cable stops at the "down tube" aren't set up to take the common square-mount bosses. I can run cable casing to the stops by the boom tube, which will work, but isn't as elegant as I'd like. But getting this bike running would be uber-cool. Fun to show up at a race sporting a Speedo and rocking this bike with an old Giro Aero-head helmet. Okay, maybe not...

Anyway, tonight my wife and I will meet with Kyle Watson, owner of Mr Crampy's, and we'll see how things fit.

It'd be fun to work in a shop with all professional-quality tools at my disposal.

The extra income would be nice. Discounts on gear wouldn't hurt either.


Anonymous said...

Hey Bro! I still have the bike you wrehched together for me way back when we were "younger".... much younger. I'd recomend your skills and orientation to detail to anyone. Thanks always...Your Sis.

brider (aka David) said...

Thanks,D! But I published the wrong comment, so every one, the spelling error is my fault!