They're surly, they're grumpy, and they hate anything that isn't within their tight criteria of a legitimate bicycle. I'm talking about the angst-filled bike mechanics.
Stored in my closet I have a small, but obscure collection cycling movies. One of my favorites is the 1998 French-Canadian film, 2 Seconds. The movie follows Laurie, a professional downhill racer who loses her job due to a string of irresponsible behavior, and returns home to Montreal to become a bike messenger. There she struggles for acceptance from other messengers, is confused by the job, and questioned by her brother if she is doing anything productive with her life. After crashing her bike Laurie finds a nondescript bike shop hidden in an alley and there befriends Lorenzo, a cranky, surly, ex-pro roadie who is owner and operator of the shop.
The two characters have a wonderful back and forth banter throughout the movie. In one conversation they play a game of one-ups-manship by sharing war stories from their life as professionals. Lorenzo show his scars, Laurie shows hers, Lorenzo shows the tan lines that have permanently burned into his skin. Laurie describes how lackluster sex is with her girlfriend thanks to the saddle sores. If you haven’t seen the movie, it is worth hunting it down.
I bring up the movie because the character Lorenzo was portrayed perfectly by Dino Tavarone. His portrayal of the character embodies this idealized vision of what many people believe a bike mechanic is and how we should expect one to act. Lorenzo is older, likely in his 50s and has a salty demeanor. While he appears to be working a disorganized clutter, you have a sense that everything has been put in its proper place. He communicates in grunts and stares, and if you dare walk in with a non-Italian bike he will lash out at you for such an insult to his craft.
His social manner aside, Lorenzo does have some skill. He displays an air of knowledge and experience so deep that no one would question the quality of his work. Some would even go as far to say that Lorenzo is a master mechanic or even a guru. Yet even with these skills it’s hard to ignore the one glaring truth- Lorenzo is an asshole. In a garage all by himself he does fine but he can be a nightmare in a retail business with a mixed bag of coworker personalities, customers bringing in department store bikes, and riders who are repeatedly asking to borrow his tools. Modern day bike retail would be Lorenzo’s nightmare.
What will be Lorenzo's future? Will he learn and adapt or will he be replaced by a new generation of technicians?
Thank you for reading this far. If you found this interesting I would appreciate it if you shared it on your social channels. Thanks - Donny.