In May of 2013 I started working at the Bike Shop on weekends.
I had been a customer there for a little bit, maybe a year. Getting my bike serviced, bending their ears asking a thousand questions a thousand times as I tried to learn enough about the new bikes for me to make an informed decision on the purchase of the bike I would need to replace my 20+ year old bike that no longer fit me well as my body no longer bent that way….
In 2012 I bought my bike from The Shop. In the early spring, on very cold Sunday mornings, I started joining the shop on the beginner rides.
In April of 2013 The Shop Manager mentioned that the shop was looking for sales help. I thought that sounded like fun, being paid to talk about bikes! I said I wish I could do that and well one thing led to another and in May of 2013….
On my first day I sold a bike, then another, and finally a third. My second day, I sold three more.
Since then I have sole a good number of bikes, shoes, helmets, shorts, jerseys, bike racks, lights, tires, tubes… And it never gets old.
Some of the sales are really memorable.
- The time I sold a bike to a young lady who went to highschool with my cousin’s son. In Chicago.
- The family that came in for a bike for their 13-year old daughter and left with bikes for Mom, Dad, youngest son, oldest daughter….
- The couple that came in to look at a bike for her and left with a bike for him
And so on and so on.
I count as good friends several people I first met as my customers at the shop.
Today, on a cold and windy December day I sold an older gentleman his first new bike in 30 years. He had a smile that could light up the room. I sold a bike today to a woman who was buying the bike as a holiday gift for her 17-year-old daughter with learning delay. Helping her pick out the right bike, in the right color, with the right accessories and knowing how much joy this will bring to her daughter is something that gives me a wonderful and warm feeling.
All of this serves as inspiration to get me on the bike and riding. I see in the customers the same potential for joy that I feel whenever I get on my bike. They inspire me. As long as I work at the shop it will never get old seeing that look, the look of pleasure and joy and the magic of someone getting on a bike for the first time in years and discovering that the old saying is true, you really don’t forget how to ride.
Rides, Walks and Hikes
I started leading the beginner rides in the summer of 2013. The owners of The Shop had a family event or some other pressing demand on their time and asked if I would lead the ride for the coming Sunday. I can never really say no to them, they have been very good to me, and so I said yea with quite a bit of trepidation. I had never led a ride before. Was so afraid I would somehow screw it up.
It went great. A group of 10 riders went off and did a safe and enjoyable 35 miles. We all got back safely. And so the Sunday beginner ride became “Mark’s Ride”. I would lead the ride for the rest of 2013 and all of 2014. In 2015 my broken shoulder prevented me leading the ride. 2015 became my lost season.
This year I got back to leading the ride and we had a great deal of fun. Groups ranging from three or four all the way up to ten or twelve would ride off at a moderate pace and do anywhere from 25 to 40 miles. For me it is a chance to give back some of what I get from cycling. I can’t wait until next spring!
Now I am at the time of the year when my riding switches to time on the trainer in my den and my outdoor activity becomes long walks on the track or hikes in the woods. All good. Maybe I can get in some cross-country skiing this winter. I have learned to wear a helmet when I cross-country. I learned this the hard way.
Dinner with friends
MT and LG, missus and I went to dinner tonight. Planned yesterday, executed tonight…
They are a couple whose company we truly enjoy. MT is a friend dating back to High School.
With the knowledge that we would be eating out tonight in mind, I ate very lightly today. Cereal and fruit for breakfast, a light lunch of a piece of cheese, half a bagel and cream cheese and a hard-boiled egg…
This allowed me to have a nice, hearty dinner and still come in under the calorie budget I have set. It isn’t about denial. It is about control. Plan. Work the Plan. Achieve the Goal.
That is what it is about.
- 43 to go.