The Broken Elbow Bicycle Emporium...
In a piece titled "Blogger Fantasy Bike Shops", Fritz penned this over on Cycle-licious:
"Cycle Dog's Bicycle Emporium in Oklahoma features fresh roasted coffee and an all you can eat Italian food buffet with autographed photos of Eddie Merckx, Fausto Coppi, and Greg LeMond lining the walls. You can't actually get your bike serviced there because the Cycle Dog spends all of his time building bikes for charity causes, and his service manager, Wally Crankset, is a nincompoop. The food and coffee, however, are excellent."
It's true. The service is spotty because we're often involved in other projects not directly related to repairing bikes. Wally and I tend to wander off on tangents. His usually involve any attractive women nearby, while mine revolve around good food and drink. It's the difference between single and married guys, I guess.
But Fritz got it slightly wrong about the food. It's not always Italian. In fact, tomorrow's fare will be crepes stuffed with chicken and broccoli covered in a cheese sauce, garden salad, and a nice white wine. As always, there's freshly baked bread, real butter, and various fruits and yogurts for dessert, followed by coffee. For special customers, we have both Corona Light and Iron City beer, and for those with a taste for it, some unpronounceable German beer with a name composed entirely of consonants. The latter is served in specially reinforced glass mugs because it's 'heavy' beer. Those who obsess about gaining weight should avoid it.
Every now and then, we open a bottle of Irish whiskey. By happy coincidence, this always happens when Mort, the guy from the Oklahoma Tax Commission shows up. As it turns out, he's a big fan of Jameson's, and after a couple of drinks, we found he's a big fan of a local exotic dancer named "Cherry." Wally is one of those maudlin, weepy drunks who regrets (loudly) every mistake he's ever made. Mort and I tried to cheer him up and keep him away from the telephone. One thing lead to another, and whaddaya know, we all met Cherry that night at a local bar. Wally wasn't quite as drunk as he let on, and he managed to take some interesting photos that have helped us out of some difficult tax situations.
As for the shop, well, what can I say? It looks like intellectually challenged terrorists practiced with explosives inside an old thrift store. The 'newest' bike is from 1996 and the oldest may be pre-war, as in pre-Spanish-American war. Or it would be if I could find it. The storage room has stratified layers that only an archaeologist could love.
The one area that's spotlessly organized - besides the food, of course - is the workroom and its tools. We learned a hard lesson about food safety after that unfortunate incident with food poisoning and a shortage of toilet paper, an incident that will not be repeated. I dimly remember Wally moaning, "If I could stand on my head, I'd change my name to Vesuvius."
One last thing - Fritz called Wally an nincompoop, something that Wally found highly offensive. He wanted to fly out to California to kick his ass until I pointed out that he's still a fugitive from the California justice system. He calmed down after that. Now, I've known Wally for many years, and while it's true that he has a few faults (Mary was reading over my shoulder. She snorted and rolled her eyes at this.) Wally has a good heart and he means well. However, he's easily distracted and he readily wanders off on tangents unrelated to the work at hand. Simple tasks mutate into complex ones requiring engineering expertise, personal courage in the face of imminent loss of life and limb, and occasional forays through the court system. (More snorting and eye rolling behind me.) But it takes a special kind of man, one with tenacity, courage, and unfailing reason to run for Vice President of the United States, and what's more, be a staunch ally in bicycling advocacy and education, be highly inventive, and face a class of freshmen dolts every fall. Wally is just that special kind of man, not an ordinary idiot.
Wally took the comment hard, however, and I think he's out back right now honing some particularly vicious bike haiku.
Labels: fantasy bicycle shop