Thursday, May 21, 2009

Bike Repair Shop

I was recently forced to make a trip to the local bicycle shop. If you recall, I had a few problems with my ride soon after buying it, but things have been reasonably smooth with it since. It was last week's ride to Ashikaga Flower Park that finally pushed my poor bike over the edge. The road there was long, hilly, and uneven. I don't have much time left on my Japan contract, so I was hoping I could sneak by without putting anymore money into that thing.

When I finally rolled my bike into the shop near Ashikaga-shi Tobu Station, it had a flat tire, a rusty chain with a half broken link, and a dead light bulb. So much for avoiding additional expenses. The little old man at the shop seemed to have been waiting for me, because he was walking to greet me before I had even reached the door. The shop was tiny by US standards (as many things in Japan are). Maybe there was enough room for ten bicycles smashed side by side in that place. A short desk and maybe a shelf or two with spare parts filled what tiny space remained. The walls were completely glass, with Japanese style sliding doors. I could see a personal tatami room with a TV on through a partially open door on one wall. The building was two story and a window revealed more signs of residential life. No doubt this guy lives there as well. This was no part-time hardware store chump. He repaired my bike with speed and skill, and his tools looked about as old as he was. As he toiled, my eyes wandered to the gravel surrounding the shop. It was about 10% metal. Nuts and springs and screws from years of repairs were ground in with the pebbles.

Ever the tightwad, I asked him for a quote on what the repairs would cost before he touched the bike. He said something along the lines of "I won't know until I'm finished". In Thailand this is the part where I say "give me a quote or shove it", but this guy didn't look like he was out to swindle the foreigner, so I let it slide. Once he was finished, including oiling and wiping off the whole bike, he said "4,000 yen" but he said it in a funny question sort of way. As if it was a suggestion that I could choose to resist. I was very satisfied with the whole experience, though, so I was happy to pay. It was a slow moment from a simpler time.

My computer is currently being a jerk, so no pictures this time. Part of me is happy that it's not working. Lately I've been reading some Hot, Flat, and Crowded, and practicing my Spanish on a DS game. I even thought about doing the dishes once or twice. I should be watching Japanese TV instead of consuming large quantities of Lost, The Office, and The Wire as I have a habit of doing. Especially now that it is becoming warm outside, I should be enjoying nature and whatnot. I can check my email at school, so I guess the only big downside is that I can't use Skype to rain phone calls over the globe. Bummer.


  1. I had to get my back tired replaced too cost me 30 bucks, so I would say you got a good deal if he fixed all that crap on ur bike for 40.

  2. Yeah I was pretty happy with the price. I've felt a bit burned at some of the big bike shops, so this was a nice change.