A Guide to Recognizing Your Bike Mechanic

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Well, it’s January, which means it’s time for my yearly existential crisis.

This existential crisis means I recently applied for a job in a bike shop. Looks like I’m going to get it, too. I won’t whine about it, I promise, but I want you all to know that I am doing this under duress. Unlike millions of other unemployed Americans, I do not qualify for unemployment benefits. Go figure.

Working in a shop is not and never has been the worst thing in the world. I’ve met a good lot of my friends through shops…would not have gotten the chance to write for Drunkcyclist had I not been a wrench at AZ Bikes when Big Jonny wandered in one day sometime around three in the afternoon. We started drinking beers right then…the shop closed sometime around 7, I think. I can’t remember, really. I was drunk by then.  Don’t worry: I’m actually a better wrench when I’m not sober. A year or two later, Gnome asked me if I’d write for this website, since I had the best qualifications you can have: I was both a cyclist and a drunkard. I said hell yes. Now I’m your problem.

Anyway, my point is I can think of worse things to do than turn a wrench. When I was teaching high school English, my hands got soft. I gained twenty pounds. I never had grease ground into my calluses anymore because my calluses were gone. I went into the bike shop (AZ Bikes, Flag Bike Revolution…ya know, the usual suspects) and got nostalgic about it, listening to Tool while I trued yet another cheap steel wheel or fought with the innards of another Manitou fork.

The best time, by the way, to be in any bike shop worth its salt is around six or seven, as long as you have beers in your hands. That’s the key: beers and a good attitude. Closing time is usually around that time. Just relax and stay out of the way as the mechanics and salespeople take care of those last few customers. Hide the beers and stay chill. Once that door is closed, you’ll make a lot of friends because anyone who was worked in a shop knows how badly a beer is needed when your hands are sore from pulling on cables and turning spoke wrenches. The first beers should always go to the mechanics. Give ’em that much and they’ll give a lot back.

The title of this post is taken from a great move called “A Guide to Recognizing Your Saints.” Toward the beginning of the movie, the main character introduces himself and says, “I’m Dito and I’m going to leave everyone in this movie.” I feel like I do that all the time with bike shops. There I am, and there I go. But then I’m back again, always changed, always different (In the movie, the character starts out as Shia Labeouf and ends up as Robert Downey, Jr…a good upgrade, if you ask me. I’m not usually that fortunate).

Weird thing, though: every time I come back, the shops are always still there. I bring a beer and say to the mechanics, “first ones are for you.” Next thing I know, I’m on the receiving end of those beers because I’m wrenching again. Is it so bad? No, not really. It’s not what I expected from my life, but it’s just not bad at all. Sometimes even these wander in:

Kathleen on the Toilet Express. ©2012 D2 Photography

I’ve been thinking for the last eight years about opening my own shop.

Maybe it’s time. Who knows. Sometimes it’s hard to recognize a good mechanic…even if that mechanic is yourself.


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About D2

I am a writer and a photographer. I never killed a man in Reno, but I once rode a bike through a casino in Vegas. Bikes are cool, huevos rancheros are for breakfast, whiskey is for dinner. Denver, Colorado, USA

86 Replies to “A Guide to Recognizing Your Bike Mechanic”

  1. hey! when you posted on facebook what you should do w/ your career, i told ya – get back in the bike biz, and YOU DID! i am happy for ya d2. i don’t really belong in a coffee shop, but what the fuck, a job is a job. good for you friend.

  2. can’t qualify for unemployment? speaks trustfunder all the way… maybe you can go to pearl street and panhandle with all the other broke trustafarian longhairs.

  3. The first friends I made in Tucson were from the shop. I was 19 and had no idea what bike was. I brought beers, and I learned. I learned lots. Those are some of my fondest memories and some of my best friends. Thanks for writing this and bringing it all back.

  4. D2 – it appears the only person in society you have fooled is yourself. plz get off your leather couch and do something real. plz. you can always drink less expensive booze (and more cheap stuff), pawn the pleather couch, stop buying expensive lids, and wake the fuck up.
    i eschew yer type and solo too.

    Stay Thirsty, poser.

  5. Thanks for the completely useless comment. Please continue to make wild assumptions about my lifestyle and work ethic. They only make you look wise and better than the rest of us. You are a paragon of usefulness on this site.

  6. @Chapstick Malone

    That was the most useless post I’ve every read.

    And I’ve read millions of useless posts so you should now feel special.

  7. Thanks, FFF. I needed that.

    Also, in retrospect, I’m a bit confused: am I a trust fund baby with a real leather couch, or am I a poseur with a pleather couch? I just want to get the visual right for this imaginary life I lead.

    I’m pretty sure there’s a misconception here about just how much money a writer makes.

    Anyway, that aside, today would be a good day to bring some beers to your local bike shop.

  8. Open your shop man. Be the destinater. Bikes will continue to be an integral part of our future world. Less hobby, more utility. But you can’t ref AZ Bykes as an example… unless you plan to be as lazy. The kids running OTE Sedona are killing it only 3 months after their opening, and there are many places up and down the concrete strip of civilization’s “success” who will need the resource more and more. Just don’t forget how much contempt you will still have for all those chapstick malones in the world who want their hydros bled in ten minutes for ten bucks.

  9. Gnome, I’ve already got a business plan written. Been sitting on my hard drive for a few years now. Right now, the only thing stopping me is money. I need some to cover the overhead. I’m pretty confident I can run a business-oriented shop that doesn’t feel stale and cold like so many of these corporate shops.

    I’ve heard good things about OTE, and with Mr. Raney and Co at the helm, I’m sure it will take off swiftly. A good model for a good shop, for sure.

  10. Don’t know aboot gay, eh. Don’t really care. But that bike looks maybe three sizes too small.

  11. Find a place with cheap rent, a reasonable landlord, haul in your tools, get your DBA, an account with J+B, hang a shingle, be willing to fix anything that comes your way.

    Best thing I ever did, well, the wife isn’t bad either now that I say that….

    Don’t bother selling bikes from any brand that requires you to buy in. Onesie twosie, okay, buy what makes sense in your immediate market. The internet has killed bike sales for small shops.

    Do it.

  12. Good advice, thank you. Aside from money, the other big hang-up is deciding where to open the shop. Gotta figure out the competition, where my wife and I want to settle for a long period of time, etc. It’s all in the works, though. We’ll have to wait and see what happens.

  13. …i’m on the deetoo bandwagon…guy is straight up in my book (the one he wrote & signed)…

    ‘noodles gracias & chopstick moron’…the names say it all (slight case of selective dyslexia here)…

    …gnomer – you would not, but we’d both kiss some ass for some t-fund, ya ???…(& glad to see your occasional………)…

  14. “By the way, D2: when ya get a minute hit me up. I wanna throw some poop at ya.”

    Fuck you TPC.

    I spit a Dr Pepper out on my nose on that.

    You owe me.

  15. Thanks, Nuckles. This is only the beginning.

    TPC: you have been e-mailed and you may commence poop throwing.

    To everyone else, thanks very much for your support and/or slander, as it may apply to you.

  16. “DeeTwo:

    you have rotted the world.”

    Really ??

    Even Stalin didn’t rot the World.

    No matter what there is beauty to behold.

    And who ever the fuck you are is the rot of life.

  17. @10 – chapstick malone – im late to the party but im here now. so what if d2 IS a trust fund kid? if he is, is it really any of your fucking business anyways? why all the fuss? you got some jealousy up your ass you need to spew? go spew it somewhere else. d2 is a righteous guy in my eyes, so go the fuck away. that’s all i got. thanks for letting me share.

  18. I enjoyed some great beers with great friends when I was a wrench. I passed on the opportunity to own a shop and chose to change careers entirely. Now I wrench all my coworkers bikes for free (and fun). Open that shop! Don’t look back 10 years from in regret not doing it.

  19. Judging by the follow-up comments, I’m guessing I wasn’t supposed to take Nuckle’s comment as a compliment. My bad.

    It’s still pretty cool to know I rotted the fucking world! How badass is that?

  20. Judi: There seems to be a growing population of trolls on this site for whatever reason and really, D2 and DB seem to get the worst of it. Fuck ’em, I say. (Not the two D’s. I mean the trolls) I don’t get it, those guys are pretty good hearts as far as I can tell. (The two D’s, not the trolls) Whatever the case may be, I would really like to have someone like you at my back in a tight spot. Unfortunately, I don’t get into that many tight spots these days unless I just did. Thank god for Budweiser!



    What’s playing: Traffic “John Barleycorn”

  21. dear judi,
    plz shut up your opiate craving hole.

    dear deetoo,
    “The world has rotted both of us
    And I
    Can no longer tell to whom I am”… peeking.

    Rivulets flop
    But you cannot think.
    Translucent goat,
    Tenacious earth,
    Popsicle need,
    And your spew will still be here tomorrow…

  22. Oh man, another one figured out how to use the Google! He’s (sort of) quoting my work, too! I’m really flattered now. These guys are obviously so taken with me that they’ve gone out of their way to internet stalk me. It’s so nice to have fans.

  23. …chopstick moron…it’s not polite to talk with your mouth full, even if you think you’re being creative as you spew your marginal poetry, so, please, take the dick out of your mouth…

  24. BGW: he’s actually bastardizing a passage from something I wrote a few years ago. It’s flattering, really. I don’t know why people let this get under their skin. Guys like Chapstick here keep things interesting around here. Let them talk! It’s like watching a cartoon.

  25. “@chapstick malone, how about i take my strap on and shut your fuckin’ hole suckhole myself?”

    I’m gonna laugh over that post for days.

  26. …whoops on that part, deetoo…didn’t even read the phrases, i just noticed the format & the intent to insult, so i fired back…& ya, the bunch of ’em are definitely cartoons…

    …i guess i find the personal attacks offense in that having been a voracious reader most of my life & thus knowing at least what works for me, i’m finding your work to be emotionally fucking engaging…

    …i think most here ‘get’ that whilst i do play around on these dc pages, i’m also passionate about what i believe in & i’m not the type to pat anyone on the back or kiss their ass simply ‘cuz they’re part of the ‘dc family’, so, when i say that your work is authentic & engaging, it is because i honestly believe it, so i guess i’ll have to change the old adage to “…fuck ’em, if they wanna be a joke…”

    …btw, caught flames – sharks live the other night…uninspired play by the sharks coming off a road trip but they tied it in the 3rd & won the shootout…squeaked by…got tickets to flyers coming up @ end of feb w/ oilers a week later…always a puckhead…

  27. @21, 40, D2, et al.,

    dis here DC site seems to be saturated of late with homophobic slurs / fear. at the very least, judi, i’d expect you to rally for pc/dc correctness…

    stand up, folks. despite the shallow hate sometimes expressed here, look out for all cyclists.

  28. @chapstick malone, how about i take my strap on and shut your fuckin’ hole suckhole myself?

    After seeing your photo I always thought you would own one of those Judi.
    Shame you cant ride a bike as well as you ride that.

    Judi: There seems to be a growing population of trolls on this site for whatever reason and really

    Funny that…… what goes around comes around.

  29. @47… huh? dgw or bgw? regardless, you not doing nothing to me. is dis a threat on i and i?

  30. @chapstick malone

    ID yourself and I promise on my Momma’s grave the threat will arrive at your door.

  31. And just for the record.

    I am John William McGlothlin.

    I live on Parker street in Franklin, NJ.

    Only 4 houses on this street.

    I shouldn’t be hard to find.

  32. and just for the record 3f… i’ve never been to nor do i ever intend to visit the jerszyshore gardenstate. you aren’t even in the game, son. bet you got some killer terrain out there. step up, punk. and stop drinking and posting in the wee hours… personal threats are much easier to make via tired beer lenses.

  33. @chapstick malone

    I can feel a vacation coming on.

    I just need a destination.

    I’m tired of my life. How about I take yours ??

  34. This is my first post on this site. I wanna apologize first of all for my retarded younger brother, Chapstick Malone. He doesn’t know what he’s doing or saying ever since he escaped from the mental health center, I’ve been looking for him everywhere. Someone gave me a shout out that he was harassing people on this site. As his older brother I feel kinda responsible for him.

    You see when he’s on his meds, he’s actually quite gentle. He sits in the corner naked and drooling and plays handball with his own feces. He entertains himself like that for days.

    I just read the police blotter about his escape.

    “Subject was last seen running north on Chestnut Street. He is naked. Distinguishing features include wild hair and a wide eyed stare. Also, subject has large dildo inserted in rectum.”

    I think it’s the dildo that’s really making him crazy. You see he likes to stick things up his ass. And then they get stuck. And then he gets belligerent. It’s a tricky procedure removing whatever is stuck up his ass. So don’t try it this if you encounter him. Leave it to the pros.

    Sorry again for any problems he might have caused on this site. If you see him or he writes back, humor him.

  35. Triple F, no idea you were lived in Franklin. Hit up Chimney Rock one day for me, I miss those trails.

  36. i didn’t see anything homophobic in these posts, it’s about the power to strap that on and overpower the chapstic moron. seriously, if you want to cry about it, cry at the rape/chapstic sucks dick for $ jokes.
    judy, just because you are a chick, you don’t have to fucking represent all women in some fucking motherly way that shonchia thinks women should be. way to throw down!

  37. triple F @53 (F*cking Flaming F*ggot I presume)… not too wise to be talking about taking others’ lives. and sorry about your little brother, he must have inherited all those bad genes from your crack-whore mom.

  38. @FatBob

    I was the youngest. I did not have a little brother. My older brother Paul did and he raised me where my Father faltered.

    And my Momma was not a crack-whore.

    She was a lazy fat welfare cheat.

    Get it right numbnuts.

  39. you are way too drunk, stupid, non-salient, and presumably totally lacking any bit of genuine self-efficacy. oh, and yer probably ugly too. and, further, u r surely pastiewhite, farmerjohnonlytanned cottage cheese thighed greezy cheezy gardenstater.

    btw, what r u doing on a cycling website? we get the drinking part, but really, is there any other connection? perhaps making idle threats against yer unknown idols. mutant envy?

    ya know, we are totally done with this site. u r welkommen. nuke da spores!

  40. And just as a question,

    How could you possibly fathom how I look from an online post ?

    Your retardation knows no bounds.

  41. Dear Shonchia Jilek-chopsticks-rabid-fatbob…or whatever you decide to call yourself today,

    I may speak for thousands of rad and loyal DC readers around the globe and say “why the fuck are you here?”
    The non stop Flagtard trolling is so played out. Your shit is weak. nobody has “mutant envy”. Really, trust me on that one.
    If you ever had the balls to leave a real email addy with your comments I would actually inform you of how insignificant you really are.

    DC is a family, united under one cause: to ride bikes, drink beer, and have a shitload of fun

    I will make the request of our loyal readers to just IGNORE YOU and your negative banter because it is completely worthless. If you guys can’t ignore them and have to say something, please make it as vicious as you possibly can. We need to police ourselves here and to have 2 lowlifes bring down the whole vibe of the comments is just unacceptable.

    if you guys have any questions or concerns about any of this, feel free to email me. I can also see the IP addys of all comments and can tell right away when i think something is fishy, or when it is the same person using 3 different names (like in this post)

    don’t feed the trolls

  42. db has spoken.

    This thread is over.

    But I have to say.

    “DC is a family, united under one cause: to ride bikes, drink beer, and have a shitload of fun”

    I love that line except ya forgot the period.

    Or is that quibbling ??

  43. Dirty, thanks.
    TripleF: Dude 22/74 of these comments are yours. Your computer does have an off button, right? You do know sunlight still exists? Ok, just checking.

  44. Been known to sing that song when Mrs. Joe is absent from the Joe Family Compound. Oh dear God how I love that woman.

  45. @#1
    jeez fucking wept
    how old are you?!….and your a bike mech….about as much skill required as wiping my ass…fuck u, cunt.

  46. D-squared: Congrats on going back to wrenching. I hope it works out well for you. Speaking from far too many years of experience it beats a LOT of other jobs out there. Most days, anyway.
    Make sure your work station has one of those really squishy service area mats, and wear comfy socks and sturdy shoes. Hardest part of the readjustment will be on your feet, NOT your hands.
    Best –Beth

  47. and to build on beth h’s comment, please make sure to remove the tampon from your ass; take your cock ring out; q-tip your ears; shave your critical pubes; and most of all, remove the catheter from your impish cock. oh, and d2, eat a good breakfast before you reenter the wrenching trenches.

    you are such a brave twat. cheers, buddy.

  48. good detective werk, dirtyspore. but wassup with “2 lowlifes”? jeez. you are a downs-child, aren’t you?

  49. Hahhaha….my critical pubes. That’s perhaps the funniest thing I’ve heard on this site since I started reading it. Bob, I’m glad you like me. Please keep providing me with gems like that. As far as I’m concerned, you can stick around as long as you want.