|Interior of the LaVogue Bike Shop, in Hoquiam's "Historic LaVogue Building"|
I decided to “multimode” by bike and bus into Aberdeen again, taking advantage of the “local knowledge” acquisition I did here on “Steve’s Day Out.” Well, as it turned out, I had problems of a different sort. My now venerable U Lock has been getting a little cantankerous lately, but still seemed to have a lot of life in it. After getting off the bus, I rode over to the nearby Walmart to see how THEIR film processing compared to that of Rite Aid. As it turns out, their film processing is both quicker and cheaper, though it is clear that the days of quick and good film processing are sadly behind us. Rite Aid has their film developing horse and buggy come by once a week while Walmart has twice a week service. Still, either of those are better than Tall’s “Camera” in Seattle which not only doesn’t handle film developing, but didn’t know of any place closer than about ten miles away.
To make a long story short, after completing my recon at Wallyworld, I rode over to Safeway in order to get groceries either not available at IGA, or with greatly superior value. Pulling up to their bike rack, my lock would not open. Golly! I tried again. Sheesh! Suddenly, it seemed I was 25 miles from home and on a shopping trip with a lock that wouldn’t open. While I felt lucky it didn’t fail with the bike locked inside at Walmart, shopping and a library visit now seemed out of the question. After considering options, I decided that the best option would be to ride over to neighboring Hoquiam and pay a visit to the only bike shop in Gray’s Harbor County.
|Front of the LaVogue Bike Shop|
The ride was uneventful, retracing a route I rode the week before, and in due time, I was at the LaVogue Bike Shop counter saying “I need a lock” as I plopped the frozen U lock down. The owner indicated that usually, the locks just needed lubrication and he tried that. Apparently, however, lube doesn’t help locks where the mechanism is falling apart beyond making stuff greasy. I indicated that the only thing it would be nice to save from the old lock was the cable which I use to attach the front wheel to the frame/rear wheel/bike rack combination. The owner stated he could probably get the lock apart and proceeded to put it in a vise until a potential customer diverted his attention. It is a wise bike shop owner that will ignore a bike sale in favor of hacking into a now-greasy lock.
|U Lock in Happier Days|
Still, I was not out of luck. The mechanic in the back of the shop inquired about the problem and I related how the lock was terminal, but I’d like to keep the cable or, if he couldn’t save it, to buy another to go with the new U lock. Being a guy with a golden touch, he cranked away on the lock and soon had it broken in two, with my old cable free to go with the new lock. In reply to my jesting “golly, if you don’t make it as a bike mechanic, you can always go into the business of breaking locks,” he said “yup, as long as I have a vise and a big hammer with me, I can break most any lock.” Well, perhaps a vise and a hammer is not the most subtle way to steal a bike, but I was reminded, once more, that bike mechanics are blessed. Anybody can adjust a working derailleur or replace brake pads, but fixing stuff not designed to be fixed is a talent not given to us all. And they DID sell me a new lock! I let them keep the key for the old one...
|I Still Swear by the Combination of a U Lock and Cable|