By Richard Belson

Have you ever had a bike stolen?

That sense of loss - Devastation akin to losing a member of the family - transcends the financial loss. It’s emotional. As though part of your soul has been unceremoniously hacked out on the sidewalk with bolt cutters, with only a broken lock left in its wake…

 That sense of loss, or the possibility of it, is the risk every single cyclist feels like they’re taking when they leave their bike in the hands of the mechanics at their local shop – like they’re dropping a loved one off at the hospital for major surgery.

But there are no visiting hours, no assurances from important people in doctor’s coats explaining what’s going to happen, and no opportunity to say the words that have always been left unsaid, just in case the unthinkable happens.

Most riders will never fully acknowledge this feeling, and some may not even recognize it – but it’s there; and many mechanics forget the weight of each rider’s emotions when they leave their bike at the shop for an unsupervised sleepover.

Now, when working on hundreds of bikes every week, it’s very easy for bike mechanics to become cavalier – almost complacent – as any working professional in any field will tell you.

“oh look, another dirty chain to clean and, maybe, replace. woohoo.”

But think about it – EVERY single bike that a mechanic touches over the course of a day belongs to someone – not just belongsIS a member of someone’s family. Some (most?) riders might even place their bond with their bike as more important than some family members.

So, don’t forget that when you lift the next repair into your stand – you’re not just overhauling a headset or cleaning a drivetrain – you’re working on a bike that means at least as much to its rider, as your bike means to you.

And, if you’re the one leaving the bike, make sure your mechanic knows how you feel – and ask if the shop has visiting hours.