Ramsay’s Workshop Nightmares

Gordon Ramsay is famous for going into run down restaurants and turning them around in his own no holds barred way . If he were to go into a bike shop perhaps it may be something like this ;

‘Tonight we are going to take a look at the  ‘Bicycles by Mossy ‘ shop in Ballyporeen County Tipperary . The shop is run by forty year old Mossy Ryan and his wife Julia . They have been running the shop for the past fifteen years after Mossy took over from his Father , Mossy senior who retired to work on Lawnmowers .

I walk into the shop with my bike in tow and ask for a service to be carried out and a new bottom bracket to be fitted to my two year old Trek 1000 . A straight forward job which should be no problem to any competent bike mechanic .

The first impression that I have of the shop as I approach is that I can hardly see it . It , obviously used to be a dwelling house which has been converted but it still has the same doors and windows . Two faded posters of Stephen Roche eating Galtee cheese and Sean Kelly drinking a bottle of Cidona are the only items on display in the windows . The sign over the door which is hand painted onto the back of an old car number plate says ‘ bicycles by Mossy’ and is almost illegible . Feckin hell we’re off to a bad start !

I walk in and am immediately blinded by a naked incandescent single light-bulb , which is hung just low enough to almost singe my hair as I try to walk under it . It’s a good job I forgot my hair gel this morning . The bare concrete floor is very hard and uncomfortable underfoot and I have to almost climb my way over scattered stock to make my way to the counter .  From now on I’m calling the owner Messy Mossy !

Mossy and Julia are both standing behind the tiny , oil smeared counter and seem to be arguing about whether to listen to Pat Kenny or Gerry Ryan on the radio . Not a good sign .

‘Mossy , Julia , nice to meet both of you , I’m Gordon and I’ve got a straightforward service and new bottom bracket job for you here . Can I call back in the morning for it ?

‘How’re tings Gordon , tanks for comin over to have a look at uzz . Jaykers now , I dunno if we’ed have it done for you dat quick like . Wood dere be any chance dat you might layve it ’till tuesday week ta callect it ?

Feckin hell , Tuesday week ? The 110 mm tapered british threaded bottom bracket must be the most common out there . Why would it take almost two weeks to get the job done ?

‘Well see , tis all well an good but we’ve a bit of a backlog at present ‘

‘It can’t be that much , let’s go through to the workshop and meet your head mechanic ‘

-So far it seems as though the shop is basically the front room of the house and we head for what is probably the kitchen door as we go into the workshop . Again a certain amount of rock climbing skill is required to make our way through –

‘Now Gordon , dis is Gerry our mechanic . He’s from Russia ‘

‘Hi Gerry , nice to meet you , I’m Gordon’

‘Hallo Gor-dan , my name iz Yarrick and I am coming from Poland  but they keep calling me Gerry in this place ‘

‘Feckin hell ,they can’t even get there mechanic’s name and nationality right , what does that say for their interest in him?

‘OK so Yarrick , what kind of system do you have going here in the workshop ?’

‘ Bazically , the bicycle for repairs come in through the door with cigarette package sellotape onto hanglebar . On package it say what iz need work and I do . ‘

‘Ok , and where are the bikes for repair , bikes which have been repaired and new bikes ?’

‘Over there ‘ ( he points towards a mass heap of metal )

‘Feckin hell , we’re really going to have to get stuck in here if we’re ever going to straighten the place out . Messy Mossy get in here , what sort of crazy hodge podge outfit are you running here . I’ll tell you , the only running your doing is into the ground . Now here’s what we’re going to do to sort this place out .

First thing is a coat of fresh paint and a proper sign over the door . The windows are going to be fitted with spotlights and fresh stock placed neatly and sparingly on display there every two weeks . They are selling for you even when you’re closed . Next up a false ceiling with proper lighting in both shop and workshop, or cave as it now is .  Spotlights on at least nine of your best bikes . Tidy up , tidy up , tidy up and in case you missed it Tidy up ! Fit a new counter and keep it spotless and uncluttered . Flooring , either wood or hard-wearing carpet but cover this concrete no matter what . Tune in either Today fm or Beat fm and have the volume set just high enough to create a relaxed atmosphere .

Your mechanics name is Yarrick and he seems to have some idea what he’s at . Get a skip and dump all of the crap that’s been gathering dust for the past twenty years . Divide the workshop space into five different sections . One for work area with work-stand , one for repairs to be done , one for repairs completed , one for new bikes in boxes and one for new bikes completed . All wheels , tyres etc. must be up off the floor and hanging in an organised fashion . Get proper repair dockets and itemise them properly . Now  I’ll be back in a week and let’s see how you get on ‘

One week later and Gordan’s back in Ballyporeen .

‘ A week ago I was here in Ballyporeen at the Bikes by Mossy shop which was in a dread-full state of repair and was all set to go under . I made a good few recommendations , so let’s see how they got on .’

‘First impression as I approach and things look much better , it now looks like a bike-shop .  Inside Mossy and Julia are hard at work , serving customers and putting stock on display . The workshop looks much better and Yarrick has a smile on his face for the first time since he arrived . They now even have Shimano Dura ace group-sets for €850 which is the same price as www.worldwidecycles.com who are the ones to beat .’

‘So Mossy , how does it feel to have a real bike-shop ?’

‘Ah sure Gordon tis greaat . Meself an herself don’t know ourselves .Takings are way up and we can actually find tings when customers ask for dem . An sure Gerry , I mean Yarrajig inside is happy out an gettin five times as much done . We even have your own bike all set for road !’

‘And Julia , how do you feel about the new look shop? ‘

‘Ah sure tis greaat , tanks very much Gordan ‘

Well there we have it , a number of well made changes and they have managed to turn a ramshackle old fashioned set up into a modern bright  twenty first century bike-shop . Lets hope they keep it that way and Messy Mossy doesn’t go back to his old ways !’



3 thoughts on “Ramsay’s Workshop Nightmares

  • February 25, 2008 at 2:36 pm

    Hi Barry

    Fantastic storey.
    I think you need to take up creative writing.
    Jesica Fletcher is only trotting after you.

    Loved the storey about ”shoes” Have fond memories of that time.


  • February 26, 2008 at 5:14 pm

    Thanks Dec ,

    If you ever need someone to co-write your memoirs from your stint in C.I. give me a shout . Plenty of material there I’d say .


  • September 22, 2008 at 12:25 pm

    I was recently in Ballyporeen. Be damned if I could find the shop though ! Even the locals denied it’s existence. I will return with my bloodhound.
    John K


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