Friday, April 16, 2010

Further Maintenance Woes

I just posted this review on ARRGH!

Velo Sport Bicycles

1615 University Ave
Berkeley, CA 94703
(510) 849-0437
1 star rating
I rarely write a negative review, but I was so freakin' frustrated by my experience that I'm going to lay it out there.

After I picked my bike up yesterday from another bike shop (which will get its just desserts in time), I noticed some seatpost slippage. I went to tighten it this morning when I got to work, and the collar bolt snapped. Ack. So at lunch I head up to Velo Sport on my new WigglySeat (TM) to get a replacement bolt. On the way there, my front tire flats. Grrr. So I finally make it there and ask the dude to find a replacement bolt, please, and change the front tire.

This little desiccated shaggy guy starts looking for bolts, fiddles around for a long time and finally finds what he thinks is right. All the while stammering and hemming and hawing and trying to explain what he's doing and why the other bolt lock was stripped etc. etc. Which is normally interesting enough but he is taking FOREVER to explain it and meanwhile he's dropping his tools and dropping the bolt and generally acting like a tweaker. I tell him (pleasantly) I just need a temporary fix so I can get home and take it to the shop that might have screwed it up. Then he gets all defensive on me. Argh. I tell him it's fine, just find something that can work and let's get 'er done.

FINALLY the bolt is in place and tightened, along with much hand-wringing by Dessicated Weasel Dude about the groove and a needle file and how this will slip again etc etc. I point to the tire and look at him expectantly. 'Ooohhhh, yeah," he says. "Right. Well, I don't want to try and do it while you wait..." I took pity. "OK, why don't I get some lunch and come back? in about a half hour?" I said. "OK?" He agreed.

I have my lunch and come back for my bike. "Oh," says Weasel Dude. "I didn't do it yet." By now I am starting to get a little steamed. "Well, can you do it now?" I ask. Still pleasantly. He thinks he can. I tell him I will look around the shop - I am usually happy looking around a bike shop. This bike shop has some interesting things: touring bikes, messenger type bikes, vintage bikes. But it also feels depressing. Maybe it's just me. And the other guy working there looks like he sleeps under an overpass. Ick.

20 minutes later Weasel Dude shows up at the counter with my wheel in one hand and a tire in the other. This is not good. Turns out he thinks my rim strips are too wide and that is causing the tire to not seat properly, making it hard to change the tire. Well, I could have told him that they are 1991 Wolber rims and don't mate well with modern tires, and that's why it's hard to change them, but I stupidly said, "OK, go ahead and put a narrower rim strip on."

20 more minutes go by. Finally Weasel Dude appears with my bike. I go to pay and then he decides he wants to have a conversation. Unbelievable. I answer him politely and make some motions with my credit card like "I want to pay you and leave. NOW." He rings me up and I'm about to be gone when he says, "Wait! I have to sign off on the work order." So I have to give him back the paperwork so he can painstakingly scrawl his name.

Two hours after leaving my office, I return, stunned. I had no idea a bolt and a tire change could take that long. (ok, 20 minutes was because of having the flat in the first place, but the rest was all WD's fault)

And, on my ride home, the seat post started to slip again. WD had warned me it would, but I didn't think it would be after just 15 minutes on the road.

Bottom line: maybe it's just Desiccated Weasel Dude, but I will NEVER go to this shop again. Ya lost me.

1 comment:

  1. Oh my!! Yep, a bike ship person and win or lose long-term customers in many simple ways.

    I had seat post issues on my first bike tour. Another rider worked on it forever so it'd stop slipping. We got that to work, but then the seat did 360s on top of the post! So I got sagged back for support. Later on that same day I'd be stung, sunburned, lost and find myself riding in a truck with a stranger (I hitchhiked.)

    Bikes certainy take us to interesting places!