• Editor’s note: As the year winds down, I’m taking a page from the mainstream-media playbook and reprinting a handful of this year’s “Mad Dog Unleashed” columns from Bicycle Retailer and Industry News. This one was published in the June 15 edition.
A mechanic: The nut behind the wrench that cannot be replaced.
That wrenching feeling,
when the customer tries
doing his own assembly
“Men, you’ve been there. You build something like that and you’re done and you got a real little bag of important-looking shit left over.” — Tim Allen, “Men Are Pigs”
By Patrick O’Grady
The times they are a-changing, according to Bob Dylan, who should know. He turned 75 in May.
So how many roads must a man walk down? Well, for starters, there’s this one: The German consumer-direct outfit Canyon plans to bring its some-assembly-required bikes to America. Specifically, to Americans. The ones who don’t work in bike shops.
Some companies — Trek, Giant, Raleigh — have been loitering along the shoulders of this high-speed thoroughfare, allowing their customers to buy online and then pick up their bikes, fully assembled, at their local shops.
But not Canyon. They’re going Furthur, hoping to fill a big ol’ bus with customers that some companies’ lawyers don’t trust to operate the humble quick-release skewer, much less assemble a complete bicycle.
A colleague and I were joking about this the other day, as journalists are prone to do, because the only thing funnier than human suffering is profiting from it.
“Imagine all the late-night drunk internet shopping,” says my colleague. “Then a box of bike parts shows up at the door a week later. ‘Honey, did you order a hang glider?’”
Says I: “Yeah, right about the time the wife scores some goodies from IKEA. Before you know it you’re turning up at the Sunday club ride on something that’s half bicycle, half bookshelf.”
I quoted Tim Allen to him, the bit about assembling a gas grill, a small bag of important-looking items left over, and a wife with her hair on fire. Says he: “You could build a new Great Barrier Reef with all the extra parts and Allen wrenches in every kitchen junk drawer in America.”
But not a new wife. Not yet, anyway, though I’m sure somebody’s working on it.
>> Click here to read the entire column.