As I posted last week, I am no longer a shop rat. This past week was difficult and bittersweet in a number of different ways as I closed one chapter of my life to start the next. Fortunately, Friday left itself with some rather fun assuming from around the shop.
As any shop rat knows, and G-Ted posts on these types of occurrences now and again, we encounter some very strange setups, rig jobs, and make shift fixes when customers bring in there bikes. Myself, I've seen a customer come in with a home made recumbent that was pieced together with the parts of two different bikes and held in place with quick releases and pipe clamps; the 'bike shaped object' ie the department store bike with the forks put on backwards and a few others. But Friday, Brent the head mechanic at Alger was working on this gem. You can see part of the bike above. It's an old Cannondale road bike that has been transformed into a touring bike. A very unique touring bike.
If you look closely at picture to the left you will see that this rider has set up his touring bike with a pie plate, I mean, a chain ring that comes in at around 10 inches in diameter... yes, that's HUGE! Lance Armstrong eat our heart out, that's 61 tooth chain ring. The rider loved having this thing that he claims he had reached 55 mph on. This unconventional triple chain ring set up is partnered with a 50T middle and a 36T lower. Yeah, 25T gap and she doesn't shift all too smoothly; and runs a lower chain guide to avoid having the chain fall off the lower.
This gem does not end there of course. The picture to the right shows the stem the rider has switched to because he can't get into the 'aero' position anymore. You can see by the grease mark where the customer keeps the stem, a good 5 inches of rise. We pulled the stem up to see just how long it was, adding an additional 3 inches when maxed out to it's minimum insertion. Everyone in the shop agree that this is the longest stem we have ever seen.
Overall, for how crazy of a set up this bicycle had, the rider was just great to talk to about it. He knew how absurd it was and embraced it. And really that is what I'll miss most about the retail end of the bicycle industry. I'll miss the customers that either have a genuine love for bicycles or bicycling OR there is a budding romance with this sport, this lifestyle. Sure, I could give you story after story of bad customer but I'd rather be able to to now look back on the good than to remember and dread the bad.