Life in a Bike Shop

The season has slowed down greatly. I guess Jersey didn’t get the memo about cycling having a renaissance. Lance kinda got the ball rollling and the oil companies with there outrageous gas prices helped to further fuel the cycling craze. I think messengers also played a part in bringing cycling to the masses. We were chic before we knew we were chic and from our loins came hipsters. Bad parenting on our parts, I guess. Word travels slow in Jersey; the land where Springsteen is slightly less popular than Jesus and to not admit that, “Slippery When Wet” should be played in its entirety upon first contact with an alien race, is considered blasphemous. By the time cyclings run its course, Jersey will invest in the infrastructure for biking and of course pocket the money. Bike Lanes To Nowhere.

Droves

Today however the droves came back. We like droves of newly minted cyclists. They look a little awkward at first, but once the baby fat that they’ve been carrying for the last 30+ years melts away they start to actually compliment the Lycra they wear as opposed to testing its limits.

The Hat

Today I met a guy. He wore an interesting hat. I remarked. For the next 20 minutes we were inseparable. The hat wasn’t that interesting.

The Test Ride

I love taking test rides with our customers. Its a lot easier to go through the functions of whatever bike their fancying on the fly versus when they’ve returned already feeling incompetent. No customer is truly incompetent. Partially, but not truly. I’m not in the market for a hybrid as I still have balls, but I do need to know how they feel for the sake of explaining the bike to customers. Usually, I’ll straddle one on a test ride. All hybrids are not alike. Their actually kind of fun to tool around on. Decent pick up, so far as a ball-less bike goes.

Components

The customers that don’t know jack shit about SRAM, Shimano or Campy are the easiest to work with. It’s really easy to explain the whole components thing. Campy is sexy, old school and elitist. SRAM is the new kid on the components block. The shifts are supposed to be smoother so long as your last name isn’t Schleck. Shimano is the industry standard. As much as everybody bitches about shit not made in the USA, I think most cyclists are ok with the craftsmanship that goes into an Ultegra Grupo. Shimano also makes a kick-ass rod and reel, if bagging trouts more your thing.

BMX

Out of my expertise. The last time I really cared about them, a slice of pizza was still 50 cents, porn was still best seen in print and “Send Me An Angel” from the movie “RAD” was raking it in, in suburbs all around the country just like mine.

A father with deep pockets or little time for the razzle-dazzle of a sales pitch picked one up for his son. I let the child try it out just to make sure he could ride it. I’m watching him wobble about in the parking lot and then gets a little momentum going and power slides right in front of me. It was pretty gnarly actually. As he continued to get the hang of his new machine he began using me as a pylon to whiz around. All for the sale, all for the sale…

Compliments are Nice

I was talking to a gal whose boyfriend was out on a test ride. Work all the angles. Spouses and or significant others are also part of the sale. We get to rapping. I tell her I’m trying to get my 17 year old daughter on a bike. She looks at me in amazement that I could have a child that old. I tell her it’s from 20 years of cycling and knowing when it was time to say when to cheap beer. Probably more the cycling but if I was still drinking St Ides I have a feeling, I’d be physically in a much worse spot; though a cold 40 ounce of Ides rarely missed the spot.

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