Q: How many bike mechanics does it take to piss me off?
A: Just two, and they're both in the same bike shop!
Well, I finally took the ridealong into the bike shop to have a new axle put in -- the training wheels were digging into the hub (See this blog entry for more info) and it was the only way to make it safer to ride with the training wheels.
You know, on the one hand, the bike mechanic is your best friend. When you're in a spot and don't have the time to change a tire or put in new spokes, the bike mechanic is there to calm your fears and do it for very little money. But there is a dark side to bicycle mechanics, oh yes. I ran headlong into this phenom when taking the ridealong in for the above-mentioned repair.
When I explained to the mechanic why I wanted to put in a longer axle, she immediately started giving me a hard time about it: "well, isn't that going to make turning difficult for you?" and, "isn't that going to make riding more unstable for you?" Duh, yes. But I'm not doing this for my comfort, I'm doing this so my son will better embrace the love of cycling by actually participating in the activity. At one point she went so far as to say I was being unsafe by keeping the training wheels on. Well, as I know from the first set of training wheels I put on the ridealong they were cheap and, yes, unsafe. So, maybe the mechanic had a point. Nonetheless! I'm the customer and as fool-headed as my request is she should just immediately acquiesce (her and her yes-man, bobble-headed crony) to whatever crazed impulse I come up with! Right? This is a free market economy, no?
Anyway, I went back yesterday and got the ridealong. I was mightily pleased with the results, and the mechanic seems to have gotten off her high-bike about the safety of having training wheels on the ridealong. She still had to have the last word, though, and told me she had adjusted the wheels so they wouldn't touch the ground unless we were leaning into a turn. I decided to let it go at that and just be thankful that they had done such a great job and, once again, for so little money.
As soon as we got home DJ got into his elbow and knee pads and helmet and we took a spin up and down our street. What a difference! It was amazing, and DJ didn't seem to mind the fact that the training wheels were up higher than ground level. He had a great time, and I did, too. Everything works great! How exciting, now we can try riding to campus. This is the perfect time of year with the semester break coming up, and my physical therapist gave me the go-ahead to start cycling again. I'm psyched!