I mentioned a couple of weeks ago that a problem with my bike had manifested during the Elkhart Lake tri, and that an initial visit to the bike shop (Thanks to Trimom) proved fruitless. Last week, I whined and complained about my bike STILL not being quite right. So I’ve been looking for an opportunity to go back to the bike store and find out, once and for all, if I’m crazy.
I have some free time this week because the factory at the company where I work is shut down. I was catching up on some desk time, when the Information Systems guys announced the computers would be down, for the rest of the day. So, rather than sit around and stare at a blank computer screen (which definitely would have been crazy) I decided to head down to the Emery’s and ask them to take a look.
It’s important that I pause here and pimp Emery’s. Owned by a former Olympic cyclist (and silver medalist!) they carry Trek, Gary Fisher, Cervelo and I think a couple of other brands. They have a full-service shop and lots of accessories, and like so many bike shops, they sell fitness equipment so the off-season isn’t completely dead. But what really sets Emery’s apart is their commitment to a good bike fit. If you buy a bike from them, they will take serious time making sure it fits correctly. Even if you didn’t buy your bike from them, for a reasonable fee, they’ll fit you from hands to cleats. The day they discovered how badly misaligned my feet were and added wedges to my shoes was the day I started to really enjoy riding.
Anyway, I rolled into Emery’s and Brent himself asked how he could help. I described the problem, gave the whole backstory, and he said, “Well, let’s take a look.” He put my bike up on a rack and proceeded to examine it. He didn’t just check it out, he diagnosed it. He was moving the pedals back and forth, changing through the gears, listening to the chain… I was standing there thinking, “This guy is like Dr. House, but for bikes.”
Sure enough, he soon found that in certain gears in the rear, there was a problem with the chain jumping on the front middle chainring. He made an adjustment to the front derailleur, which didn’t prevent the jumping, but kept the chain on the center ring. I took it for a test ride, and it didn’t slip off once.
He sent me on my way with a doctorly, “Try that for a couple weeks, and if it gets worse, bring it back in.”
Thanks, Emery’s. Thanks for fixing my bike and thanks for validating my sanity.