After squeezing in a 37 mile dirt road/road ride on Monday, I THOUGHT I knew what Tuesday would bring: time in a dentist chair getting two cavities filled and a crown mold formed. What I didn’t know is just how much pain I would endure during the procedure and/or how long I would be in said dentist chair getting the procedure done. It turns out that it was two hours of non-working novocaine, copious amounts of puckered butt sweat, armpit sweat, saliva dripping, and burning dental drills–pretty fucking miserable!
Maybe I did know what I was in for, and that’s why I couldn’t muster up the will to ride before my appointment and I sure as hell didn’t want to ride afterwards, especially since I was home for just one hour before my temporary crown fell off and I had to go back to have it corrected. Oh well, it’s done now and hopefully I can avoid the dentist office for a few days until the proper crown comes in.
Back to work, sort of.
Today I headed to beautiful downtown Alma, Michigan and Terry’s Cycle where I’ve started working part-time in the shop for a bit. As long as I’ve been a cyclist and as old as I am, I’ve never worked in a bike shop nor any sort of retail position. I went from mowing grass and landscaping in my teens and early twenties to working full-time graphics jobs for 18 years, before moving on to XXC Magazine, thereby skipping retail work all together. So, to say I was nervous upon starting today would be an understatement. Would I go ape shit on a customer? Would I jack up the business that Terry and Napper have worked hard to maintain the same way I jacked up XXC? Would I have a meltdown trying to build a kids mountain bike?
All of those things were distinct possibilities, but as it turns out none of them became a reality. Yet.
I spent most of the day logging in new inventory fresh off the UPS truck from Trek and QBP, then it was a little of this and a little of that before I was given the job of putting together and adjusting a kids mountain bike. I cyclist I am, I mechanic I am not. But Napper was super cool about showing me the right way to do things and make the proper adjustments. I am 99.999% sure that if you buy your kid a Trek 3500 from Terry’s it won’t catastrophically fail. Because while I did build ONE of them, it was supervised by a pro.
I of course got to check out more than a few interesting rides, like the recumbent above that was once owned by a dude that drilled holes in almost every part of the bike trying to save weight. I saw the bike being saved as much as it could, necessary parts tracked down and the front wheel rebuilt.
The highlight of the day was when two GIANT dogs and their owners came to visit the shop, followed by another friend of the shop and his baby, followed by another friend of mine and part-time worker, followed by a local TV station to film a bit about small businesses in Alma, followed by a Mennonite mother and her family looking for some bikes for her kids: CHAOS!!
With the owners occupied in front of the TV cameras I had to woo my first customer and help find the right bikes for her kids. Finding a bike for the girl was easy enough and my good friend, and part-time coworker Chris who stopped by to pick up some parts took care of her test ride, but the 14-year-old dude was less than enthused by the initial offerings: until I showed him a 29er mountain bike in his size. Boom!
I got him out for a short test ride and he was loving it. While it’s not certain if they will end up buying the bikes until dad comes to the shop and approves, seeing the young dude’s enthusiasm for the bike was worth it. While I might not be the best mechanic, it was nice to show someone a bike, tell them what it can and can’t do, and see them leave with the same sort of bike lust twinkle in their eye that I’ve had way too many times upon leaving a bike shop.
After a day at the dentist and a day working at the shop, Thursday is time to catch up on family and house stuff and get a ride in before I return to the shop on Friday for what is sure to be a busy day of pre-holiday weekend bikeness.
I’ve not had coworkers since early March of 2009. It was nice to spend the day with someone other than me and have that camaraderie back. To learn some stuff and help out a shop run by folks I consider friends who have helped me so often. Well that AND finally making a few dollars along the way.