A message from your LBS mechanic

Ok, not exactly an interview, but a message from Pete, who may just be the wrench at your local bike shop. Although this was directed to other mechanics out there, I think that the message is a good one for cyclists that need the services of a qualified mechanic once in a while.

Pete says, “Is it just me or is the whole ‘will you wrench on my bike in exchange for a 6 pack’ thing getting old? I don’t understand how the beer to labor rate got so inflated. Why would I install a fork for a six pack? I charge $35 to install a fork, a six pack costs $9. I can go buy that same six pack for the same price. That might have been a better deal before I turned 21 but it’s just insulting now. That 6 pack might make for a good tip after I’ve been paid and the customer really liked my work but it shouldn’t constitute payment. The only other people that do work in exchange for alcohol or drugs are the homeless, alcoholics, and prostitutes. I’m none of those so don’t treat me like one.

I believe that when mechanics accept token amounts of alcohol in exchange for repair work it devalues our whole profession. So many people already question a mechanic’s integrity just because they are a mechanic (auto, bicycle, moto mechs. etc.). Let’s not give them any more reasons to think we are shady characters. What kind of person trusts a mechanic to work on their machine if that mechanic is so hard up for alcohol that they accept beer for payment? Alcohol is not a legitimate form of currency!

I’m not printing his shop name, but next time you see your mechanic, remember, beer is great for a tip, not payment.

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Do the majority of our own wrenching, but on the rare occasion that I need an LBS help, have never tipped the mech with booze. A fiver does a better job.


I’m constantly needling my LBS mech for NOT charging me for service work, and let me tell you that with the km’s I clock up each month there’s plenty to be done. Mech reckons that it’s all kosher because I’ve bought four or five bikes and a scooter off them in the last few years, and besides he makes money of all the regular joes who bring their bikes in.

Well I don’t have the tools or knowhow to do all my own mech work, so if LBS goes under because servicing isn’t built into their bike prices and on top of that they don’t charge everyone then where’s that gonna leave me? Up sh*t creek without a paddle.

It doesn’t matter whether I tip the mech at all (in beer or dollars) coz he doesn’t own the shop! If I’m not getting charged a base price for servicing it doesn’t go into the shop margins, does it? Sure, there’s a sting in the retail on parts but they give me a substantial discount there as well.

I just hope they keep selling plenty of little bikes with streamers and large markups.

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