The mechanic, the wrench, the bike doctor, the lube genie, whatever you want to call him, he’s your guy. Here in San Francisco there is a bike shop on every other corner all throughout the city. You think it would be easy to find the one that fits you and your bike just right, but it can be an interesting challenge. The best wrench is someone who knows the bike as much as he knows how to speak to someone who doesn’t, the one who can fix your bike as well as he can carry on a conversation about your last ride, and one who remembers your name and the last thing you thrashed off your bike. Bike mechanics are some of the nicest guys who hold some hard grudges. They will certainly judge you the minute you walk in their shop and deliver their final judgment by the time you leave. The will remember the time you forgot to tip and the time you thought your bike was more important than their lunch break. I have found the best way to communicate with a wrench is to assume they are more knowledgable than you and treat them with the respect their title deserves. They are, in fact, the guys who fix bikes for a living and probably know how to do it better than you. Help them diagnose a problem but don’t act like your theory is the only right one. Use your manners and always bring them beer.
Over the past couple years I have visited many shops here in the area and would like to introduce you to a couple.
Mike’s Bikes– The guys/gals here are great and know everything about your bike, but sometimes the whole “big-shop” syndrome gets in the way of good service.
City Cycle is an awesome shop in the Marina. They do high-end road bike service and their tool wall is the cleanest I’ve ever witnessed.
Valencia Cyclery has been around the block and they will do whatever they can to get your old Peugeot back into shape.
Huckleberry Bicycles is a new and hip shop on Market St right in the thick of it. They know their bikes and they are the nicest people. Definitely bring them beer.
Find your guy and treat him well. Your bikes will thank you