Sunday, August 19, 2012

Shimano STI shifter repair, Oakland CA

Here's the deal. Bike shops don't work on STI shifters - they are really intricate and difficult to take apart and reassemble. The labor cost just isn't worth it. They don't even have the one tool you really need (I asked around at a ton of places looking for one...)

If your shifter is under warranty, send it back to Shimano. If not, you have nothing to lose. So bring it to me. If I am able to repair it, pay me $30, and you're back in business for a lot less than a new shifter will cost you. If I can't, I get to keep the broken parts but you owe me nothing.

I'll be very honest: the most likely outcome is the latter. That's part of why the bike shops won't even try. If any internal component is broken, Shimano doesn't sell replacement parts. It may not even be clear what the problem is, since the mechanism is so intricate. The best you can hope for is a disengaged spring, perhaps. But at least I'll try.

I'm in downtown Oakland, CA. Email me at the link on the right with a description of the problem, to the best of your knowledge, and the model, number of gears, and whether it's the left or right shifter.

(In related news, sheer stubbornness will get you a long way... My broken set of $243 shifters on my new used road bike that had been banged up pretty good in an accident are now almost as good as new. After more hours of effort and visits to bike shops than I can count. Now I feel like I've invested enough that I should put the knowledge to generalized use :)

Friday, August 10, 2012

celebrating diversity

I love the Olympics. Total sucker for all the hype, buildup, drama, personal stories, celebration of internationalism, all of it. But I don't have a TV, so I just finally watched a bit of the opening ceremonies on my computer.

Within about 5 minutes I was astounded by how British it is. That may sound silly: It's in Britain, so of course it will celebrate Britain, just like the Beijing Olympics celebrated Chinese culture. But I usually think of the U.S. and Europe as being close cousins, one a recent semi-direct descendant of the other, with overlapping histories and cultures as a result. I mean, that's certainly the narrative you get growing up, in which you study American history by first studying European history (focusing on Britain, in fact), up until the point at which they diverged, and again when they re-overlap during the world wars. But the opening ceremonies that Britain threw would never be done by the United States.*

Ours are/would be more radically inclusive (to borrow the phrase if not the elaborated meaning from Burning Man). We celebrate diversity, multitudinous heterogeneous experiences and stories, equality of opportunity, and nonjudgmentalism. We don't care where you came from or who you are, but what you make of yourself. We don't care what your cultural identity is, only that you reciprocate that indifference. We, like any other human group, do rally around our group identity, but that identity is critically defined by a lack of identity.

What other nation can say that their patriotism is defined by rejecting empty notions such as patriotism, while still being truly patriotic? It's a very difficult balance point that we struggle with in countless political controversies; many differences between Democrats and Republicans could be categorized as differences in the domains in which we push back against that founding principle. But at least we're trying.

*I mean, it was still fantastic, just very different from my expectations. (And there I go again, wanting to be sure you know I have no problem with cultural differences...)