Saturday, December 27, 2003

Trailer ride with my daughter – 6 miles

Dear daughter decided she wanted an ice cream cone this afternoon so we decided to take the trailer. First though we’d have to go to the bike store and get a new front derailleur (see yesterday’s story). Got everything ready to go, but then had a hunch that I should bring the broken derailleur along in case there were any questions about what kind to get. Broken derailleur is a Campagnolo Athena braze on type for double chainring but I figured just about any braze on double would be fine since FD’s just aren’t that picky about gruppo matching.

We went to Encina Bicycle Center (they don’t have a web page for me to link to) because they’ve always been very helpful there and they helped me a lot with my Klein since they are authorized Klein dealers. It’s a family-owned shop with two branches. I show the first guy my derailleur and he’s kind of stumped about the braze on mount – the store is about 1/3 kid’s bikes, 1/3 MTBs, and 1/3 road bikes so this shouldn’t be that unusual of a request. I looked at a couple of the road bikes in the shop and see that although most bikes had clamp-on mounts the braze-ons that were still being used were exactly the same as on my 11 year old bike so I can’t believe this is really going to be a problem. First guy passes the derailleur to the second guy who is a friendly older management type guy that I’ve seen there for years – he takes one look and says they don’t have anything that will work but they’ll be happy to order me something. Then a third guy, sort of a mid-level mechanic, looks at it and says, “No, nothing will work except the equivalent newer Campagnolo version.” Finally I say, “Look, it’s only this little sleeve thing in the back that broke and then the FOURTH guy, a senior-level mechanic, grabs it and says “You might just get off lucky here.” and opens a drawer in a parts box and pulls out the perfect little sleeve thingy to fix my existing derailleur and charges me $2. I was prepared to drop $30 or $40 for a new derailleur so I was pretty happy and I’ll go back to Encina Bicycle Center again and maybe I’ll even buy my next MTB there too.

And no, we didn’t forget to stop for the ice cream cone on the way home; she ordered chocolate ice cream in a cake cone and we sat inside the store and chatted while she ate it.

PRODUCT REVIEW: Trek Scout Helmet

I got one of these for my daughter (at Encina Bicycle Center!) last spring when she outgrew her “baby” helmet and it’s been really great. The problem with kids’ helmets is trying to keep them level on their heads and this one is very easy to use. It has a little knob in the back to tighten the band so you can put it on loosely, fasten the chinstrap, and then tighten the knob. Putting the helmet on is now much less hassle than it used to be and my kid likes the cool graphics too, although she has last year’s model, which has cooler colors than the ones in this picture.