First up, a tour of his tiny shop space. During the "tour" we talked about various things, parts and industry standards and how, very soon, Shimano will only be available to shops through a couple of US distributors.
Second up, unbox and build up a brand new commuter bike. Sram 1 x 9 drive train; basic (though not sucky) wheels and disc brakes. The owner knew I hadn't worked much on disc systems so he was glad to give me a lesson. Unfortunately, he said, I was being taught on some pretty crappy brakes,
Tektro's Novela model.
An example of them can be seen here:
They were a little fussy and the rotors were slightly bent right out of the box. Tolerances were not very close and the brakes seemed, well, almost crude in their feel and adjustability. I was told this was normal for so entry-level a unit. That this is the best you can hope for on a bicycle that retails for just over $600 was really sad. Maybe that's considered a "cheap" bike nowadays, but $600 is still a big chunk of change for a lot of people.
Third up, a simple job consisting of rear wheel and tire swap and a mini-tune, which is basically what we used to call a Safety Check with a little love added on. I wiped the bike down when I was done, which apparently is more than some shops do for even a full tune-up.
The owner seemed happy with my work and will let me know how many hours he can pffer when I get back into town. He wished he could bring me on sooner, but understands that he can't.
It was nice to turn a wrench again.