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Bike Route Snowed In
Now that winter is fully upon us, it was time to have my bike serviced. Riding in the rain requires good brakes, and it was getting to the point where I almost had to drag my feet to stop. My back brake had stopped working and my front one was really loose. I took my bike into MEC to get the cables tightened. At least I thought that was all that was wrong with my bike.

The mechanic looked at my bike, played with the brakes, and told me I probably had corrosion in the brake cable (uhhh… that doesn’t sound good). Then he noticed that the rear rack was installed incorrectly (my bad) and was interfering with the brake line. He checked out the rest of the bike and found the rear hub was loose and needed to be overhauled (sounds expensive), the chain was completely stretched (already?), the front headset was loose (I had noticed some wobbling), and the rear brake pads were worn out (I knew the brakes were shot).

I couldn’t believe it. My bike is only 2 years old. I gets almost daily use in all weather, but I try to keep it in good shape. I was wondering how much all of this was going to cost. Was this how car owners feel when they take their car in to get the fluid levels checked and the mechanic says they have to replace the whole engine?

Turns out owning a bike is nothing like owning a car. There is no expensive engine to replace. All of the work that my bike needed only cost $80. Since the chain wasn’t skipping it didn’t need to be replaced, at least not yet. The rest of the work was covered under the Advanced Tune-up for $65 plus parts, and the only part needed was a $15 set of brake pads. They re-installed my rack, overhauled the rear hub, fixed up my brakes, tightened my headset, and greased the chain for $80, and it was ready within 24 hours.

It was the first time I’ve taken my bike to MEC – normally I’m a huge fan of Reckless but MEC is close to home. I have to say, I was really impressed with the service and the price. The only downside is having to walk the gauntlet of amazing MEC gear and resisting the urge to buy something. I didn’t buy anything extra this time, but only because I just spent $400 last month during the VACC 10% off members night.

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