Cyclists are great for nicknames. The pro’s have Fabian ‘Spartacus’ Cancellara, Tony ‘The Panzerwagon’ Martin, Bradley ‘Wiggo’ Wiggins and Mark ‘The Manx Missile’ Cavendish.
Even our local training group has Smiler, Iggy Bock, Nana, Gizmo and of course The King.
In the shop we are often an unofficial Tourist information office regularly giving people directions to the Dole Office, the Courthouse, O’Gormans Bakery, the Emperor Chinese resturaunt, Red Nose Wine and Chadwicks to name just a few.
We are also sometimes the first port of call for people looking for long lost cycling friends so when a guy walked in recently and said that he was looking for ‘Smoo’ Doyle I immediately began trawling my minds database.
I thought of Paul Doyle from Baldoyle, Paul Doyle from Trek distributor Centro and Paul Doyle from Fermoy and his brother Jack. All cyclists, but I couldn’t recall any of them having the nickname ‘Smoo’. Zippy Doyle was going well lately in a few cyclocross races and he came to mind, but he’s Zippy and that doesn’t sound like Smoo.
Then I thought of a guy Ray and I were in school with called Donnacha Doyle who still lives locally. A man currently better known for his Ballroom dancing prowess than his cycling ability, although he may have once cycled to the High school. I never heard him called Smoo but still, he was the only one living locally so I asked the guy if it was Donnacha that he was looking for.
He looked at me as if I had two heads.
Eventually he said ‘ ahh no, ’tis just the smoo doyle that I’m looking for.
Now the secret was in the word ‘the’ implying that it might be a thing rather than a person.
So I thought for a moment and then it dawned on me. Smoo Doyle was actually Smooth Oil.
Now I had to think again and getting closer to the mark I asked ‘ Is it chain oil that you might be looking for ?’
Again a quizzical look, but then he explained exactly what he was looking for.
‘Ya know, smood oil for your arms. I’m going doing a few triathlons this year and I saw on the net that the smood oil makes you go faster in the water and on the bike. They use it in the Olympics. It’s supposed to be a right job if you shave your arms before you use it.’
Well, you learn something new everyday.
You have to get on the customers wave-length and I was way off that day.
It’s not always easy, when you go from being asked for a clutch for a Honda 50 (which we don’t have) to a pair of look cleat covers (which we do have) and back to an anvil (which we don’t have)
Confusion can happen with repairs too.
Recently we had a guy come in with just one pedal still attached to his bike.
He wanted a new set of pedals fitted. We are used to seeing pedals that have been chewed by dogs but this looked a little different. I asked what had happened to the left hand pedal and was told that he was having trouble taking it off. (left hand pedal, left hand thread, turn clockwise to loosen) He heard that a good way to loosen anything tight was to heat it.
So, he poured a little petrol over the pedal and set fire to it with a match.
It didn’t work.