Calipers and Chimes at the Bike Repair Shop

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Ron George, a bicycle mechanic in Moab, Utah, sends along a tape that permits us to eavesdrop on his workplace. Southern Utah is home to a community of serious mountain bikers and road bikers.


Southern Utah does not have a traffic problem, like we've just heard about in New York. It does have some serious bicycle riders, both mountain bikes and road bikes. As a result, it is home to a hard-working crew of bike mechanics and it's the source of today's Soundclip.

Mr. RON GEORGE (Bicycle Mechanic, Moab, Utah): My name is Ron George and I am the senior mechanic at Poison Spider Bicycles in Moab, Utah.

(Soundbite of a caliper chiming)

Mr. GEORGE: If you ask people what it is they love about bicycling or about, in particular, their bicycle, they're not going to say much about the noise it makes. In fact, if it is making a noise, they're going to come in with a complaint.

(Soundbite of a caliper chiming)

Mr. GEORGE: When we're diagnosing the wheel, we put in a, they call it truing stand, which has a caliper much like a rim break. And that caliper is metal. So when it contacts the metal surface of the rim, it chimes.

(Soundbite of a caliper chiming)

Mr. GEORGE: Once we've made the wheel true again, we want to make sure that all of those spokes are in perfect tension. To check their tension, one of techniques is simply to spin the wheel around and run the back of your thumbnail against the spokes.

(Soundbite of spokes chiming)

Mr. GEORGE: A bicycle can deliver your power with 97 percent efficiency. That is to say the amount of wattage you're putting out at the pedal can be delivered to the ground with only a three-percent loss.

(Soundbite of cycling)

BLOCK: Ron George is a bicycle mechanic in Moab, Utah.

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