I’m often accused of being OCD at work which is not only incorrect, but a malapropism as well. OCD is a type of mental illness; I, am pedantic. A pedant is very particular about certain things and in this instance, I am a pedantic mechanic. From uneven faceplates to the little orange Shimano rotor sticker left to slowly dissolve over the course of time all annoy me to tears. It’s not that I claim to be perfect, far from it, nor do I make any assertions of all knowing, very far from it. But the things that grate are the things so easily avoided. A faceplate takes as much time to install incorrectly as it does to not, so why not do it right once? A sharpened bicycle spoke is all one needs to remove that little piece of unsightly health and safety from said disc rotor giving unbeknownest levels of reckless satisfaction once effected. Try it, you may like it. Other things? Well if you happen to install a ziptie just after reading this, or if this happens to be the only sentence you DO read, for the love of Dog, spin that little sharp end of the tie under the cable it’s securing to save the hand of the mechanic who will inevitably have to lift your bike into the repair stand to fix the “repair” you made yourself. If you’re a mechanic reading this, always charge customers double who worked on it first and much more if you stab your hand on the sharp end of a ziptie they themselves attached.
The aforementioned are petty trivialities easily dismissed and forgotten at 5 o’clock with a zesty beverage. Worse than that is the language used to describe the this’s and that’s of “What’s wrong with my bicycle?”. I’m contemplating a complete redesign of our shop labour forms to include a diagram of a bicycle with all the major parts labeled. There would be a box to the right of the bicycle full of descriptive words used by the recreational cyclist to describe the noise a certain part is making. You simply hand Mr. Jenkins a form with a pen and he would then draw a line from “honking” to “the front brake” (or the horn if Jenkins is in fact a fool). Other descriptors could include things like, “jerking” “squealing” “skipping” “clanking” or “moaning”. No word of a lie, a customer used that word to describe the noise his frame was making “under severe load”. Ok, I made that last one up to make sure you’re still paying attention, but you get the idea.
It gets worse still (for me at least). A few of our readers may know I deal heavily in rusty old pieces of shit, known to some as vintage bicycles. They are for me a glimpse into a bygone era and bring me untold ecstasy when brought back to their original condition and passed on to a new home. The joy on the face of a new owner collecting an old bike brought back from the dead for me is as good as life gets. When I happen to be out and about on a restored 1930s rig revelling in the awkward riding position, lifeless pedal braking, gargantuan gearing and single ply tyres, to then enjoy a fizzy drink at the local watering hole and then hear a passerby spew from their word hole, “That’s a pretty retro bike”! (and it is always spoken with the phoniest, bemused enthusiasm one can imagine) is enough to make me desire separating their head from their neck and shitting into the empty spout.
I suppose the simple lack of care infused into most things these days is what really irks. There’s no care put into the manufacture of this bike/car/toaster (surprisingly difficult to find a good one) because it will no doubt break inside of a couple years which doesn’t really matter because the customer will have found the next best thing anyways. So why bother? Because you need to look yourself in the mirror and know you’ve done the best you can do with what you’ve been given, tick that box always and sleep well.
Retro: Some new piece of disposable shit made to look old using a cheap veneer of recycled disposable shit.
Vintage: Something old that may look new if the owner is the pedantic sort to take the time to honour an original by acting as a steward for quality.