Saturday, March 29, 2008

Dude...Wait...What?

Former cycling champion Tammy Thomas seemed to be in the midst of shaving her face when an Olympic drug tester paid her an unannounced visit in 2002, according to testimony Wednesday in her trial on perjury charges.

Full Story Here

Sunday, March 16, 2008

Website Re-Launch

I spent yesterday reworking the site (and blog) to be a little sleeker. With some good pointers and some elbow grease, I'm pretty happy with the outcome. There is still some content modifications to be done, along with some slight layout changes, but overall I think its quite a bit better. Check it out here. There is a new feature that I put in this morning that isn't linked on the site itself yet, which is a photo gallery page here.

Wednesday, March 5, 2008

The mystery of the "Shop Rate"

I was a mechanic for almost a decade, and I'm almost positive that every shop I worked at had a shop rate, but I can't honestly think of a time when I charged it. I heard from a fellow cyclist in the cities here that one shop charges like $65 per hour shop rate. I mean come on man, you work on BICYCLES, not Volkswagens. I think there are definitely fair applications of a flat shop rate, especially for odd ball or one off type projects, but generally, I don't get it.

Lets take the case of the bag o' parts guy. For those of you who don't know, this is a guy that buys every single part to build a bike off the internet, but doesn't have the tools/know-how/bravado to put it together; not even a little. So he comes struttin in with his flashy frame from some ultra hip company, along with a full complement of anodized goodness in plastic grocery bags, and wants the bike built. The shop will generally 1) give him a hard time because he didn't buy the parts there (which is a different post for a different time) then 2) tell him it will be $xx per hour to build it, because thats the shop rate.

I'm not going to lie to you, I hated the people that came in trying to price match parts with internet retailers. Yea, you'll pay a few more bucks for an XT derailuer from a local shop, but if you don't know how to put it on and adjust it you're going to wind up forking over the $15 you saved to them anyway and won't make any friends in the process. Back to the issue at hand, how is building up a bike much different than say a "super-duper" tune up where a bike gets stripped down and over hauled? I mean, you don't even have to strip the new one down, and everything is clean and new. Isn't it easier? Why do shops feel the need to not just charge bag o' parts guy for a "super-duper" tune up when what their doing is actually easier? What if the rookie in the back that's been building $200 hybrids gets the ticket and it takes him 3-4 hours because he's slow? Just charging a flat fee for a full tune up seems like the easiest solution. That's the way we always did it and it seemed fair to me. So, next time you decide to take your fresh cache of parts into a local shop for a build, run this by them before agreeing to pay like your transmission is getting overhauled.