Bailing Out the Bikes - Grampies Yucatan Return: Winter 2023 - CycleBlaze

December 27, 2022

Bailing Out the Bikes

Call it childish, but we don't like being separated from our Friday's for long. So when we brought them to Fairfield Cycle for a checkup and also to repair Steve's non-functioning assist, we were quite confident that having booked their December 20 repair date a month in advance, all would go quickly. 

The first glitch was that Max, the mechanic who had built the assist, was on his own tour in Asia, and Fairfield had somehow lost track of him. They knew he had run into some sort of glitch, but they did not know when he would make it back.  Next, December 20 was a day on which Victoria chose to have a mammoth snow storm. Actually, this may have been around the 17th, but by the 20th the busses still were not running, much less the ferries. And Max, where was Max!

Around the 23rd the phone rang, and it was Max! He was at the shop and had fixed the bikes! But the weather was turning nasty again and they were closing the shop. We planned to try to make it in on the 27th, a date that was getting perilously close to our flight out. I am writing this on the 25th, looking out at a very White Christmas. But in another two days all should be well for the pick up. Let's look below and see if there are any photos of how it worked out!

Ok, it's the 27th - the day for picking up the bikes. Strange to say, except of Cycleblaze, that this day was greeted with more anticipation than Christmas, or even a birthday. One other thing for anticipation was that we had arranged to meet Christian and Zahra, on the way into town.  Christian is the son of Juegen and Birgit, our friends in Leipzig. In fact the direction is the other way around - we only met Juergen and Birgit because Christian came to us on the farm, about fifteen years ago! Christian is now engaged to Zahra, and this would be our first meeting.

To make absolutely sure that the van was going to exit our long uphill driveway, we had parked it at the top, just as the big snow was beginning.  Now, with a fairly tight timeline we walked up the driveway to the van, only to find something completely foreign to our neighbourhood - the van side window had been smashed in, the interior now filled with glass. Nothing was disturbed inside otherwise. Just a senseless stupidity. There was not time to even look for a piece of temporary cardboard. It made for chill and noise in the van on what otherwise was to be a super fun day.

We felt a lot better when we did meet with Christian and Zahra. They had just returned from Leipzig, and could bring us up to date on the family there. We ourselves will have to wait until Fall, to grab our bikes and again cycle from that part of the world.

The local chain Serious Coffee was chosen for our meetup. I thought the latte art was really nice, but unfortunately the quality of baking there has declined.
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Bob KoreisDo you pronounce the name of that baked good skon or skoan? Has their quality declined or are you spoiled from your recent trip? I hat pastry withdrawals when returning from Europe.
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4 weeks ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Bob KoreisI had a colleague once that was from Wales. He pointed out that the Stone of Scone is spelled scone and is pronounced skoan. So it's a skoan! I used to go to Serious Coffee for their cinnamon brioche, but they have given up on it. Except, one of the original founders still makes them at his breakaway cafe - the Drumroaster. The scone was just a desperation choice!

In Mexico, btw, the bakery will look good but taste weak and fluffy.
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4 weeks ago
Christian and Zahra, recently back from Leipzig.
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From here Christian and Zahra are headed north, while we are headed south. No matter, we'll meet again! (The white van is coyly hiding its smashed window!).
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Now it was on to Fairfield Cycle. Our bikes were quickly summoned from the bowels of the building, and I eagerly took mine out on the road. Wow! The assist worked. I had been puzzling over the thing for over three months, and at least five bike shops had had no clue, so this was a big deal for me.

We like to think the bikes enjoy visiting their own kind. A number of bikes were temptingly on sale. One was a folding electric 700C Montague. We eyed it closely, but concluded it would still be oversized to the airlines. It was stupid to even be thinking that way, because of course only an electric with LiGo batteries can consider flying.
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Stock photo of a Montague. They are made in Massachusetts.
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A good thing about Fairfield Cycle is that they will fix the things you mention when you come in, but they also have a feel for the overall health of the bike. It means they will fix things you did not mention. Now with an auto shop that can be a red flag, since there are so many ways a car repair can be "trumped up". But with a bike, everything is in plain sight, and if they say your brake pad was misaligned, it was.

The story of our bike repair ran to quite a few inches on the Fairfield register tape!
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Keith AdamsDid they reveal what had failed / needed correction on the e-assist unit? If so, is it something that you might be able to pass along to shops elsewhere should you (let's hope NOT) find yourself again in need at some future date?
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1 month ago
Steve Miller/GrampiesTo Keith AdamsUnfortunately Max was not on duty when we came, and no one else in the shop knows what magic he is doing. He did write in the notes that he copied the setup from Dodie's bike over to mine, but how did he originally figure out Dodie's? From the meagre clues it appears that my torque sensor was working properly, meaning it did not get screwed up by the bottom bracket having unscrewed in England. Still, the bike was acting like it had a cadence and not torque sensor when it would take off for two seconds when first pedaled. I tried looking at some Bafang setup software, but could not answer any of my questions from it. Next time I see Max I will back him into a corner and try to learn more. There is no sense trying to buy the dongle and software and to learn all about this, because this will not (better not!) happen again.
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1 month ago

With the bikes back in our tender clutches we could continue thinking about how they were going to travel on the plane this time. Westjet definitely got our attention with their threatened $150 bike/oversize charge, so we are determined this time to fold them, small enough for Westjet to go easy on the charges. And yet, we really do not want to fight with the bike suitcases. This usually means putting the bikes into the large plastic bags that traditionally Transat and Westjet will supply at the terminal. But this time Westjet was not promising that they would have them.

This sent us careening off, on this most fun day, in search of plastic bags. Fairfield Cycle actually had one nice one. They dragged it out as a proposed fix for our broken window, but we saw it as bicycle packing. We tried some furniture stores downtown, but no plastic bag luck. Finally Sleep Country suggested that both Home Depot and Budget Truck Rental would sell "mattress bags".  Off we went, and finally scored one mattress bag and one "chair bag".  Tomorrow we can try folding and wrapping, but not right now. We're beat from so much fun!

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