“Parts Hangers” vs. “Bike Mechanics”

Working on Nice Stuff is Easy.
Working on Nice Stuff is Easy.

There is a difference between “Parts Hangers” and “Bike Mechanics.”

A Parts Hanger can resemble a Bike Mechanic, and knows their way around a bike, but doesn’t like working on bikes unless they’re installing new, high-end parts.  You can tell a Parts Hanger by the way they check in a repair.  If, when checking in a repair for service, the “mechanic” (and I use that term loosely in this situation) starts tallying up a list of new parts without properly checking over the bike, you may have a Parts Hanger on your hands.  Inside the bike shop, a Parts Hanger “cherry-picks” the repairs they work on, leaving less expensive bikes or repairs that require actual work, for another mechanic to handle.

A real Bike Mechanic can actually fix bikes.  It doesn’t matter what brand or style of bike, or what shape it is in… the real Bike Mechanic can make the bike function properly.  Sure, there are instances where bikes are too far gone to repair, but in most cases, the real Bike Mechanic will do their best to repair the bike to the best functioning order it is capable of.  Real Bike Mechanics are fluent in all bicycle styles, and you do not usually see them turn up their nose at a challenging repair.

Don’t get me wrong… real Bike Mechanics like working on nice things.  It is extremely fun to piece together a custom build for a good customer, but that is not the only part of a Bike Mechanic’s job.  It’s easy to work on nice stuff… it’s engineered to work flawlessly.  The mark of a true Bike Mechanic is whether or not they can make the crappy stuff work.  Real Bike Mechanics do not cut corners, and they get the job done right – the first time.

And Bicycle Race Mechanics take it exponentially farther…


I’ve grown up a lot over the last few years.  In the past five of them, I’ve gotten married, had two kids, moved to four different houses, and much, much more.  I like to think that I’ve matured a little over that time, but on a weekly basis, I seem to keep proving myself wrong.

Last week, I had an instance of sheer stupidity on a group ride, resulting in my butt coming in contact with the pavement in quick fashion.  I decided it was a smart idea to reach my hand back and give another rider a  handsling to catch another rider he was chasing up the road.  After my incredible display of handsling technique, the rider I threw forward pulled hard to the right and took out my front wheel, sending me crashing to the ground.  Not a lot of road rash or damage to the bike… just a little bit of a sore butt and sore pride.

Today (because I seem to be good for about one stupid act a week), I was playing with the kids on the new Slip N’ Slide and decided to take a graceful leap down the slippery sheet of plastic… and somehow jacked up my birdie finger on my left hand.  The pain was instant, and has still not gone away after four hours.  Whether it’s broken or dislocated, I don’t know.  What I DO know is that I can take the upper portion of the finger and bend it laterally, which I’ve never been able to do before…

I can’t wait to see what’s in store for next week.  Hopefully, by then, common sense will prevail and I can save myself some trouble down the road.

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