A couple of weeks ago, a customer brought in one of the two tandem bicycles he and his wife ride, and ride a lot, if the wear and tear on them is any indication. I'll be honest... their bikes are always a challenge, needing a lot of work and frequently needing some vital part replaced. This visit was no exception... the bike arrived iwth "a broken spoke", which turned out to be a wrecked rim. Once I had addressed that problem, a series of other issues arose, adding expense and time to the whole project. Truth be told, I got pretty frustrated with the whole project, which dragged out much longer than I expected, due to parts needs.
But yesterday the couple came in to pick up the bike. They're an older couple, and very sweet, especially towards each other. You can just tell they are devoted to one another. They paid the rather large bill for the bike, then went off for a ride, despite the cold. When they came back, even though they had already paid, they stopped back in the shop before loading the bike on their car, to thank me for the work, and to tell me how much better the bike was riding. The wife even said, joking, "I think I now have another year of riding in me!" It was nice of them to make a point of telling me, but more importantly, I really appreciated the smiles on their faces. They had just had a lovely bike ride together, and I helped make that possible.
And THAT is why I like fixing other people's bikes... to help them enjoy the pleasure of a bike ride. I could get my "tinkering" fix by working on my own bikes, but there's something so satisfying about getting someone else rolling again.