Betsy the Bicycle was living in American Cyclery II when I first met her. We took a trip or two around the block before we committed to being traveling buddies. Her caregivers (aka sales assistants) were well informed and friendly. They were neither the hip cyclists that know everything but don’t want to share their knowledge to lower life forms nor the schmoozy sales guys that wear cologne that smells like ‘iworkoncomission’. You could tell that they cared about the match-making love affair between bikers and their bikes. Betsy and I are smooth sailing.

Two weeks ago Betsy and I went to Mike’s Bikes in SOMA and relaxed outside with the bike repair man while a friend did some serious bike shopping. He was the type of guy that would offer to take a look at my bike to see if anything needed a-fixing. He looked, and he fixed. Betsy’s chain needed to be tightened. I was fixated on his super awesome dog Charlie, while he was fixated on anything with two wheels. They both turned out to be pretty cool. The shop is filled with beautiful bikes and represented by an equally beautiful staff. They were upbeat, friendly, and couldn’t be more excited to having someone join the biking community. They were inclusive in a community stereotyped as exclusive.

Yesterday Betsy and I had what could have been a bad trip. There I am on my bike going so slow that while riding through the Tenderloin some guy says to me, “Go faster, go faster, go faster!” I couldn’t figure out what was going on. I have been tired a lot lately, but have I been feeling weak as well? How come I can’t pedal any faster? Do I have mono? Of course, I was trying to diagnose myself instead of Betsy. Finally, I did just that and realized her front axle was loose. Very loose. The cap on the side that held it all together must’ve popped off somewhere. I guess I do not have mono.

Thanks to my memory and Google maps, I headed to the Mojo Bike Cafe. I walked in with Betsy past the coffee machines and pasteries to the back where a guy was waiting to ask me what I needed help with. I pointed to the axle and he goes, “Oh yea, that would’ve been a bad fall. You didn’t ride it like that did you? That’s like broken collar bone territory.” He went over to his tool box filled with bike inventory and tinkered around a bit. Less than two minutes later I was out the door and Betsy was happy. Service and parts were free because an axle cap happened to be just laying around. Hello nice people of the world, good to meet you.

Have no fear SF cyclists, for ideal bike stores are here, there, and back that way.