One of the problems with New York is there really aren’t many good bike stores. A good bike store has two qualities: 1) they know more about my bike than I do, and 2) I trust their mechanic with my bike. A lot of bike repair is simple, but time consuming. It’s easy to imagine pressure on somebody being paid by the hour to finish an adjustment faster rather than spending the time to get it right. And it’s not surprising that you’re going to care about your bike more than an underpaid mechanic.
There are two bike stores is Astoria. Neither is that good. They’re very similar. Both are run by friendly Greeks. Both have younger kids working there that I trust with neither my bike nor my girlfriend. Both specialize in kids bikes and BMX bikes. They really don’t know road bikes. I buy some parts from them. But if they don’t have it in stock and have to mail order it, then I’d just as soon order it myself and save a lot of money. I’d like to support my local bike store. And I miss Turin in Evanston, Illinois and Ace Wheelworks in Somerville, Massachusetts. I never actually went to Harris Cycles, because Newton isn’t that close to Cambridge, Mass.
So Zora and I were biking to Sripraphai last night and past a bike store very nearby on 35th Ave. Could I have never noticed it before? Well, no. It’s been open about a month. The man who runs it, a Hispanic man named Andres, was very friendly and, get this, knowledgeable!
He was quick to tell me his experience at working for 12 years at City Bikes on 9th Ave (one of the better bike stores) and his expertise with wheels. I love wheels. He also loves tools: “with tools, you can do anything!” I like tools, too.
He then showed off his very expensive spoke cutting and threading machine, happily wasting a spoke in the process.
Then he looked at the Bluebird, of which I am very proud, and told me I built the wheels wrong. Oops. I laced the spokes wrong. You’re supposed to go over (or under) the first two spokes and then on the opposite side of the last spoke. I’ve done this before. Well for some reason I got into a wrong habit and did all the wheels and Zora’s and Katie’s bike wrong. I went over over, under, and over. It means the spokes are bent too much around the other spokes. I like to think that I’ve invented a super strong wheel, but I doubt it. What a pain in the ass. And potentially expensive as well, since four wheels of spokes will cost about $125.