Gas station without pumps

2012 March 27

Sprockets closed

Filed under: Uncategorized — gasstationwithoutpumps @ 12:07
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One of my favorite bike shops (Sprockets on Mission Street in Santa Cruz) closed last Saturday without any fanfare.  When I went by today to get a repair to my bike, they were emptying the store.  I’ve been shopping there for at least a decade—all my son’s bikes were bought there and all major maintenance on my recumbent has been from them.

It will be annoying, not having such a good bike shop within easy walking distance.   I’ll probably have to start taking my bike 2 miles to The Bicycle Trip on Soquel (my second favorite bike shop—I would like them better if they were closer to my house).

There are bike shops closer than The Bicycle Trip, but I don’t know if I’ll use them—I want to support a full-service bike shop that gives back to the bike community.

There is no way that I’ll ever take my bike to Spokesman downtown. I got treated rudely there a couple of times a few years back, and I’ve heard other long-time bicycle commuters complain about problems with “attitude” at Spokesman.

Another Bike Shop is only a mile away, but the few times I’ve been in there, they’ve seemed to be a purely mountain-bike shop with a minor side interest in beach cruisers—nothing for commuting, bike touring, or road riding.  They may have the parts and expertise to maintain my son’s bike (unless they laugh at the fenders, which would guarantee my never shopping there again), but I don’t think I’d want them working on my recumbent.

I do need to make a decision soon about a new bike shop—my son had a bike accident last week, and his rear derailleur no longer shifts into the lowest gear properly.  I tried adjusting it, but I think that the derailleur is actually bent (it hits the spokes when the chain is centered on the lowest gear), and fixing that is beyond my limited bike mechanic skills. (It may just be the derailleur hangar that is bent, which would be a fairly simple replacement.)

I also need to replace the smallest front sprocket on my bike, which seems to have gotten bent—I’ve no idea how.


  1. I found out more: One of the owners (Kathy) died in February and her husband (Phil) is moving to the Midwest.

    Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2012 March 27 @ 12:25 | Reply

  2. Other bike shop thoughts…

    Sierra Pacific Cycles by the wharf just called it quits… they were the main purveyor of electric bikes.

    I personally go to Another Bike Shop. It is less commute oriented, but I have always gotten good service on my commuting bike, even though it’s covered with crazy paraphernalia, teddy bears, hitches, etc. They’ve also done some fixes on the hubs/wheels of my “John Welch” bike trailer. They give a People Power and SCCCC discount. I think they’ve donated a bit of stuff to BTWD over the years as well.

    Also, I think there’s a new bike shop opening in the old Blockbuster video store…

    Comment by Ron G. — 2012 March 27 @ 17:06 | Reply

    • Good to hear that Another Bike Shop is a viable possibility—I’ll probably check them out in the next few months.

      I rode my son’s bike over to the Bicycle Trip today, and the mechanic looked at it and straightened the tweaked derailleur hanger while I waited. It only cost me $5 (their minimum labor charge).

      I’ll be taking my recumbent over to the Bicycle Trip tomorrow, though I expect that will be a bigger charge for replacing the small front sprocket.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2012 March 27 @ 17:23 | Reply

  3. I was a bike mechanic/shop manager for 7 years while teaching at the university and working on the Masters. Working on a bike is so easy and relaxing that it might be worth your while to learn how to do it. A good bike stand (Park PCS-10) is the biggest investment. This stand folds up for easy storage. Tools are fairly minimal cost wise. Finding anyone that can do a good job on a recumbent can be hit or miss; they can have some idiosyncrasies. There are a couple of how-to books out there that are not bad but usually everything you need to know can be learned by just looking closely at the problem. There are some special pullers for the crank arms depending on the crank manufacturer but Park Tools sells them at a good price. I like working on bikes. I can bring everything in the house on a bad weather day and just fuss around cleaning, adjusting and lubing. It isn’t like working on a car or motorcycle where you have to freeze you ass off in the garage. (Although I do occasionally bring the motorcycle in the house to work on in the winter. The wife is not excited by the motorcycle in the living room but she can handle it for a while.) You can become a true Zen master of bikes only by working on them. To achieve true inner peace you must be able to discuss intelligently the structural advantages of have a three cross spoke pattern on the drive side and a radial pattern on the non-drive side of your rear wheel. Not only will you achieve inner peace, you will become widely known as an ubber bike geek.

    Comment by gflint — 2012 March 28 @ 09:24 | Reply

    • This is a noble attitude, and one I used to share. I think I’ll need to write a post describing my current attitude, which is subtly different.

      Comment by gasstationwithoutpumps — 2012 March 28 @ 12:16 | Reply

  4. “I want to support a full-service bike shop that gives back to the bike community.” What? Of course they give back to the community, the owner is independently wealthy and does not even need to work. Uber guber wealthy. I would prefer to give my money to a bike shop of an owner who is doing this to feed their familly, not their ego. You can give you money to the rich, Ill give mine to the poor.

    Comment by studly — 2012 April 10 @ 13:25 | Reply

  5. […] whose closure I blogged about, is back in business under new ownership, having been closed for only about a month.  I stopped in […]

    Pingback by Sabieng and Sprockets are back! « Gas station without pumps — 2012 May 24 @ 19:10 | Reply

  6. […] reported in 2012 that one of my favorite bike shops (Sprockets on Mission Street in Santa Cruz) had closed without […]

    Pingback by Sprockets closed again | Gas station without pumps — 2016 May 12 @ 21:43 | Reply

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