After a slow and rainy day in the bike shop on Tuesday, Wednesday brought brilliant sunshine, clear bright blue skies and perfect summertime temperatures. The sort of day that you wish you were out on your bike, instead of waiting on customers. Luckily I DID get to ride. Well, sort of.
The shop was in major preparation mode for an annual post-closing time event that we do in association with the local hospital. There’s a big group ride on the local rail trail, food, prizes and more. As the shop toadie (meaning I do little to actually fix your bike), I had to run a series of errands; one of which was taking the shop’s cruiser bike four or five blocks away to pick up some stuff at the Dollar Store.
Even when instructed to take the cruiser in the past I have shunned it and walked. The Dollar Store however was just a bit too far away for me to want to walk and I figured the shop’s elders would frown upon me taking a Madone. So, I put aside my cruiser bike prejudices, put myself in Pee Wee Herman mode and took off in search of one dollar table clothes.
I was no more than a block away before I had two thoughts:
- This is one of the most comfortable and fun bikes I have ever been on in my life!!
- How the hell do you stop this thing??
Obviously it had been a while since I used a bike with a coaster brake, but thankfully I remembered how to use it before I came to the first intersection.
As I pedaled back to the shop with my mission complete I was almost sad to see the ride end. I tried to figure out a way to extend my mission, but could not think of one that even vaguely made sense. So I let out one more Pee Wee Herman laugh and parked the bike in front of the shop.
I’ve never driven a Cadillac, but I have to think that they are as plush to drive as this bike was to ride.
Back to work
After lunch, it was off to pick up folding chairs and tables, then setting up said tables and chairs for the evening’s guests. As I unfolded chairs I was taken back to High School where I always, always, ALWAYS volunteered to set up and take down chairs in the gym for various events. Doing so meant that I would get out of class for a bit, and God knows I wasn’t doing anything in class anyway. Now here I was more than 25 years later doing the same thing but getting paid for it. I KNEW my (version) of high school education would pay off eventually!!
Everything was set up, riders and guests started arriving and things got pretty busy. One thing is for sure: bike people are geeks. I say that with the upmost respect and first hand knowledge. It doesn’t matter if you’re a racer, mountain biker, roadie, fixie rider, bike packer, crap bike blogger or rail trailer; we’re all geeks in our own way.
Of course some geeks are geekier than others, and it often takes every ounce of restraint not to shake people around a bit and ask them to position their bar ends correctly or remove the vintage radio they have strapped to their down tube. Having said that, I’m sure there a ton of folks out there that would like to shake me around a bit or pistol whip me until I was left bloodied and toothless. I will also add the the tribe of cyclists is mostly pretty fun and it beats hanging out with a tribe of Furries or Bronies.
The event went well and the shop made out pretty good. I will say that I have worked plenty of ten to twelve hour days in my days as graphic artist and in my time with XXC Magazine. Days that were spent in an office chair, NOT on my feet, waiting on customers, hauling bikes up and down stairs, cleaning shit that hasn’t been cleaned in years (cough, cough Napper’s grill). So after 11+ hours when I sat my ass down in the car for the drive home I felt like a deflated tire, covered in dog shit that had been drug from the back of a truck for several hundred miles. My forty-four year old back hurt, my feet hurt, my fucking toe nails hurt and I was starving! Yet, it was nice to be out of my comfort zone. Just like when you push yourself to go faster in a race or two got ten more miles on a long training ride, this was good for me. I’ve always claimed to not be a “people person,” thus my one time attraction to doing solo 12 and 24 hour mountain bike races. Yet, each day I work at the shop and am forced to interact with people I get a bit better. Not sure I will ever be a balls out “people person,” but it’s nice to see some progress. It also had me having in more respect for folks who go out and bust their ass EVERY day on their feet building shit, fighting fires, etc., etc.,
Once I finally made it home, I jammed a cocktail and a large pizza in my belly, took a high powered pain killer and went to bed looking forward to two days off and riding my bike like the bike geek I am.