About a week and a half ago, I had a bike commute issue. I got a flat tire on my rear tire before I arrived at the train. I didn’t have a spare. I didn’t have any tools. I had just enough time to walk the bike to the train.
After I was on my way, I started wondering about how much it would cost to fix the tire. I remembered that there was a bike shop at the station, but I was dreading going there. Typically, bike shops eat you alive with the service cost on a bike like mine. Most bike shops tend to get really snotty about commuters and their non-high end rides. A typical repair of a tire would cost $50. Compare this to the cost of my bike: $15. Compare this to the cost of fixing my Honda Pilot’s tire: $0.
Well, I walked into the shop when I arrived in San Francisco, and I was prepared for the worst. I had no other options.
The guy showed me the rates. $10 to fix a flat AND I could leave the bike there and pick it up later! Why is it strange to be surprised about that? One of their products is bike storage, and I thought they might need a fee for that. None. IN FACT, they don’t charge for bike storage AT ALL (for 2 days of storage!!). I did a double take… I thought that was their business. This is no ordinary bike shop/facility!
Oh yeah, and they were nice people too! No issues or attitudes. I told them about the crowding on Caltrain in the bike car, and the guy was completely sympathetic. He told me that Caltrain is under a lot of stress and it is only getting worse. Very easy going.
Now imagine getting a flat in your car or breaking down on the highway and the Pro-Bono Towing Service came by and just helped you out for $10 instead of the normal $125 hit. (Imagine if Health Care in this country was this way… supported by a caring community!)
Anyways, I took the MUNI to work. I came back by around 6:00 PM. The bike was fixed. They adjusted the rear brake perfectly (bonus!). They capped some of my frayed, uncapped cables (bonus!). Wow!!
I was saved by Warm Planet Bikes at the 4th and King Caltrain Station. They rock, they are great, they are fantastic!
Also, I’m going to join the SF Bicycle Coalition. They helped make this happen, I want to support their efforts to help all bike riders.