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Gear Prudence: I’m pissed off. My bike was in disrepair and my friend, who said he was an “expert bike mechanic,” offered to give it a tune-up. Cool, I thought, and figured I’d save a hundred bucks. Wrong! I got it back and it worked even worse than before. The bike shop said it would be a few hundred dollars to get the bike back into riding shape. I get that I shouldn’t have let my friend try to fix it, but think he should pay me back (at least partially) for messing up my bike. That seems fair, right? —Recently Erred, Pal Absolutely Injured Ride
Dear REPAIR: Where to start? Hindsight is 20/20, and had you known your friend wasn’t as good of a wrench as he claimed to be, you wouldn’t have let him touch your precious bike. Instead, you scrimped and chose a self-styled expert amateur over an actual trained professional and are now living with the consequences. If your friend was a good one, presumably he would’ve copped to screwing up your bike when returning it, so maybe he’s as bad a friend as he is a mechanic. Or it’s not duplicity—it could be that he was simply ignorant of your bike’s true problems, and the trained hands at the shop adroitly identified the many pre-existing deficiencies beyond those your friend created. Ask your friend exactly what he did and find out if that’s what the shop is charging to fix.
As for the question of money, GP says you’re SOL. You could seek some recompense, but be willing to lose the friendship over it, especially if he thought he was doing you a favor. Take your lumps, learn your lesson, and don’t mix tune-ups with friendship again. —GP
Gear Prudence: I’m down on the Mall every weekend, and I always see groups of four and five tourists on Bikeshare riding together in packs. It got me thinking. It’s a gaggle of geese and a murder of crows, so is there a proper collective noun for Bikeshare riders? —Needed A Moniker Earlier
Dear NAME: So far as GP knows, there isn’t an official one, which leaves ample room for a new coinage. You can follow the animal trend, as you provided in your examples. How about a herd of Bikeshare? The shared bikes are slow, lumbering, and rumble along the pavement, but it seems more than a little insulting to insinuate riders are hooved and cud-chewing. You could borrow from the world of sports and call them collectively The Big Red Machine, which is accurate insofar as the bikes are big red machines, but that seems off. So, the question is this: What do you call a group of shares? There you have it. Henceforth, a group of Bikeshares shall be called a portfolio. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.