So, cycling season commences . . .

. . . for those of us who haven’t been riding through winter (for whatever reason – just to get around, to keep on with the racing thing, et c.). There’s been Ride to Work day, Round the Bay in a Day (both BV efforts) some interesting races (Herald Sun Tour and its finale in Lygon St.) and very soon the Melbourne to Warrnambool. So no excuse – all the examples in the world to draw from, and the weather is getting better. The last two weekends have been great (ok, yesterday was a bit damp in the morning), the magpies have bred and are no longer defending their territories (which is nice, for them) and the mornings and evenings are both light enough not to feel like you are doing something slightly nefarious by going for a ride before or after your daily tasks.

There’s a bit of a shake-out going on down at BAC Bikes (even Mel Cranenbergh from The Big Issue has noticed it in her latest ‘Ointment’ piece) and we are seeing more and more bike servicing going on in the shed,  from returning customers, on either bikes we have sold them, or their own – recommended by family and friends. We get this because we are competent and accountable in what we do, and we do not hide behind the workshop door when bikes are booked in or given back (we don’t really have one – except to keep the wind and leaves out). I think there is a move towards this amongst a newer type of bike shop – Humanpowered and Commuter Cycles do the same thing. The mechanic has to be able (and most of us are) to communicate in language that is understandable to you the customer – and not just land a large, incomprehensible and poorly explained repair bill in your lap with little consultation. When you bring the bike in, we will attempt to examine, discuss and explain clearly to you the faults your bike has, and organise them in order of seriousness and necessity of fixing with you while you’re there. Our rule of thumb is that anything over $20 more than we have estimated and agreed with you on when booking it in we will call you and confirm that this is ok before proceeding. This saves hassle and embarrassment on all parts when you pick up your bike. We also offer an informal guarantee for BAC Bikes and bikes we service – if what we have done doesn’t work, we will fix it for you, or if it’s a BAC Bike, give you a new one if it’s unfixable. We can lend you a bike if we have to keep yours for longer than a day or two.

So, if your bike needs a tweak or an overhaul, we can do it for you. Our labour rates are $45 an hour, which is a little less than many shops – but we have factors in our favour that allow us to charge this. We charge on a time basis, and don’t take the rated $25 that the repair schedule states for a gear adjustment that actually takes 2 minutes. Hmm, that’d be . . . let’s see . . .  a discretionary donation to the biscuit fund. Less than 5 minutes we don’t usually charge for, especially if you are on a benefit or pension.

Pop in on Monday, Tuesday or Friday arvo and ask for an estimate on a nagging clunk or a rattle – it may be a 5 minute job that’ll save you $$$ in a month or so.

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