There are so many tools in a bike shop. There are the sales people, the people the sales people are talking to, the bike cops, the mechanic who somehow got hired even though he worked for Performance for 5 years, and the actual tools that the other mechanics use to make bikes work.
Ask anyone in the shop what their favorite tool is and you will get a rainbow of responses.
The mechanic who went to Bicycle College University will insist that the DT Swiss Anolog Tensiometer is the only tool out there that can top a conical burr coffee grinder.
The other mechanic — the one who actually fixes bicycles — will get misty and talk about the Campagnolo 15mm crank spanner, with which an old-timer taught him to spread peanut butter, pop bottle tops, and crush pills.
The CAT 2 salesman will tell you that his favorite tool is the laser level, which seems to be an instrument of avoidance that can justify his spending 2 hours on a “fitting,” while the mechanics go on the sales floor to address the needs of commoners.
The owner of the shop’s favorite tool is the answering machine.
Finally, the token female employee will licitly admit that her favorite tool is the CAT 2 salesman.
As for me — the guy who scored a real job, then went back to work at a shop and report on the outside world while waiting to get a real job again — I’ve always been a fan of the pedal wrench. Hozan’s, Park’s, Pedro’s’s. Any of them feel great in the hand, that heavy chunk of hardened, primitively rendered steel. The pedal wrenches always work. They require pretty much zero skill to use, and they almost always come off the hook with a pleasant resonance that will have a customer thinking, “this tool really knows how to put on a pedal. It makes me want to test ride every bike in this place.”
Two hours later, when all of the day’s repairs come due, and the CAT 2 guy is reveling in the intangible factors of his uncertified bike fit, there is nothing that spells relief like taking the pédale maillet out back for a little bike-box piñata fiesta.
When I hang the pedal wrench back on its peg, I feel the weight of my stressful whitepeople problems lift. I know that when I come back in 3 years — after another round of corporate downsizing — that my pedal wrench will be waiting.