Tuesday, August 17, 2010

Human Power: solution to a bike repair saga.

Big Bro's balance bike popped out one of its bolts on the street a few weeks ago, and I couldn't find it. I must say I didn't look that hard: when it wasn't immediately obvious I thought "it's a bolt, I'll just get another at Bunnings next time I'm there". Even easier, it was one of a pair so I knew exactly what I was looking for.

Well..... so I thought. First stop Bunnings. There I discovered that this was one of the rare hardware items Bunnings does not stock. The guy was pretty helpful, however, referring me on to a specialist bolt shop up near LaTrobe University. Well, it would have been helpful advice if the shop stocked the bolts. I did however learn that I was looking for a "bed bolt" (it screws flat against the bike so there are no projections for knees to bump). And I was sent on to a furniture store. Still no luck.

At this point the ever-logical B asked "why don't you just go to the bike shop where you got the bike from?" The bike was from ALDI, who don't even answer their phone let alone send off for spare parts, but the idea of a bike shop seemed good. Certainly better than trawling homemaker centres!

We tried a couple of bike shops in our area which didn't stock anything similar. One guy lectured me about how bad balance bikes are and how Big Bro should be riding a scooter for balance and a pedal bike with training wheels for learning how to pedal (actually, he can already pedal on a tricycle). A sales pitch wasn't what I was looking for, just a bolt, so I moved on.

Not long after, we were at CERES and for the first time I realised they run a bike repair shop, The Bike Shed. I pulled the bolt out of my handbag and asked them what they had, and- free of charge- they dug up something of the right diameter and length. Unfortunately, when we got home and tried it for size it wasn't quite right. Push on.

Then I remembered something about a bike shop in Thornbury mentioned on The Bourgeoi-Vieve, which is very pro-balance bike (so I figured they'd only hang out in balance-friendly territory!) so our next stop was Human Powered Cycles.

Seeing their slogan: "if you can ride it we can fix it", I knew I was at the right place. Fix an ALDI bike? No problem. And the boys were even allowed in the workshop to watch. Of course this was hard work, so our next stop was the adjoining Human Powered Cafe where the boys got their usual babycino (with a real grated chocolate dusting, very swish), I had a pleasant mocha, and we shared a yummy toasted cheese and vegemite foccacia.

And the end result:

Mission accomplished!


Katherine said...

I am very impressed by your persistence. You really earned that mocha not to mention finally finding the bolt.

_vTg_ said...

Thanks! It was all fueled by the optimism that the next shop would be the one! And the fact that I couldn't justify buying a new bike to replace one bolt!!

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