Monday, 30 March 2009

Bicycle repair - Kiruna style

On Saturday, as I was cycling at the Rautasälven (pictures here), my chainguard broke. This morning, I went to Intersport, the only place I was aware having a bicycle service. I asked for help.

– Such chainguards don't exist anymore. I'm sorry. Do you know where Arnes Motor is?

Arnes Motor is a 70 year old store with sometimes 70 year old stuff. The amount of stuff they have defies the law of euclidian geometry. I go there and see that they are closed. Open 12-17.

I return later and show them my broken chainguard. "Kedjeskydd". A collection of some twenty kedjeskydd hang at a wall. He tries the first one. Almost; a little bit too big. The third one fits.

– Can you put it on yourself, or do you need help?

– I can try, and otherwise I will return.

I spend the afternoon fighting with the kedjeskydd. The old one was attached behind the luggage rack, and in taking it off my rear wheel loosened. After some hours of fighting with my rearwheel and the kedjeskydd, I give up. I barely managed to put on my rearwheel, but on my way to Arnes Motor it falls off three times. Grrr!

When I arrive, it is 16:55. I walk in.

– Ah, you want Sven-Erik. He lives nextdoor. His phone number is on the door.

I call Sven-Erik and my phone beeps I WANT BATTERY. I return to Arnes Motor, it is after closing time but nobody cares. While I'm calling Sven-Erik from there, someone working at IRF walks in. Sven-Erik tells me he will be home in 15 minutes.

I take a little promenade and exactly 15 minutes later, both me and Sven-Erik arrive at Sven-Eriks workshop.

– Yes, the kedjeskydd. I can fix it in the afternoon.

– Tomorrow?

– Today.

– Wow. My phone number: 070-2832003

A few hours later...

At 20:20, I receive a phonecall. The kedjeskydd is attached and the wheel straightened. I walk to the neighbour of Arnes Motor and arrive around 20:45. I go in.

– I fixed the kedjeskydd and the wheel. You use it quite a lot, don't you? Ah, you cycle to IRF and back each day. I can see it. There are some things you need to fix. The kedja will need to be replaced soon, you can increase the lifetime with oil. Your pedals will need replacement too. And your chainguard.

While he fetches change for the money (250 SEK; a week in the bus; in The Netherlands it would take at least a week to get a turn), a boy that is probably his son asks me if it isn't heavy to cycle to IRF. No, not really. Did you cycle when it was so cold? Yes. Cold is okay. Darkness is worse. I ponder some more and I realise that, despite it being obvious, Sven-Erik didn't say a word about buying a new bicycle.

I love my bicycle! and I love more.

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