Thursday, December 5, 2013

Saying Goodbye to a few things for now, and new changes to come

Saying Goodbye to the Bike Shop, Relocating and Looking at Cycling...Differently

After six months of gainful employment, it is time to say goodbye to my job as a bike mechanic. With a move coming up and a few life's changes to follow, I feel like I have reached the end of the road as regards working at this particular bike shop. I can attribute this feeling to several things, but mainly due to the fact that I have reached a point where I am content just being the cyclist I am. I own all the bikes I would ever want or need and I have all my own tools to do maintenance on them when they break down. I have also reached a critical point where I have hit the glass ceiling at my current place of employment. Because of the push to be a retail shop more than an actual bicycle shop, I feel like I am wasting my potential and am not using  my skill sets as a mechanic to the fullest. I also feel that the shop where I am currently working pushes the carbon fiber, spandex clad roadie image to all of it's customers by not selling a good variety of mid range to upper end road bikes. Being that our bike shop caters to many first time consumers, many customers walk away on bicycles that don't suit them, only to return them a year later, causing the store a huge profit loss because their return policy is so lenient. 

To me the realization came as I was selling a customer on purchasing a bicycle he was interested in. Although he really liked the bicycle, I knew that because the way the bicycle was designed it would not give him the comfort that he was looking for. It was a bicycle that I myself would never own or ride, but since I was in the position that I had to sell him something, I tried to pitch the sale as best as I could but failed to sound genuine about it. That is when I stopped and asked myself "What am I doing here. working a part time gig at a bike shop, barely making back my gas money and toll fees to get here and then pretending like customers actually need bikes like these?"

Had the customer been me, I would have sold him on a steel touring bike with braze-ons for racks which is that this customer in reality really needed. Instead he was considering an unforgivably rigid carbon fiber road bike that was going to aggravate all of the back and wrist pains he was already complaining to me about. The problem is, my store doesn't sell steel road bikes. How am I supposed to steer someone to make the right purchasing decision for them if the bike shop doesn't even carry the bicycle that they need?

Once the job is no longer fun and there is no opportunity for advancement, financially or otherwise, it's really time to move on. That's where I am at.  I am ready for a new start, doing something different. I would love to continue to work as a bike mechanic, but I can't work somewhere where I can't make a living doing it. And to me I'm at a point where if that is the case I'm fine with that, in fact I prefer it that way. Business should be business and pleasure should be pleasure.

Coming up is a new move into a really nice, bike friendly community, and a chance at a new start there. Hopefully the move brings new friends and new experiences that I am looking forward to having with my in-laws in our soon to be shared residence. Hopefully the cost of living savings will allow us to put funds aside for traveling and having more bicycling experiences abroad. Hopefully I will have a rental property up and running soon which will bring in some income to compensate for my not working at a bike shop. There are a lot of new things going on in my life as of the moment, these are exciting times for me right now. Cycling is taking a smaller window in the whole scenario, I no longer feel it deserves the same level of importance to the point where I have to work at a bike shop, unless it's a professional shop with respectable pay. I need to start pedaling more slowly, letting my wife catch up as I pull along a child trailer and spend more time on the bike with my family. Either way, I'm too slow for pace-lining roadies and I am too fast for the Grant Petersen or Jan Heine touring types. I'm stuck somewhere in the middle, riding on what a lot of people consider ancient technology, ripping up and down country roads with no agenda, no training schedule in mind. Riding a bike because I feel like it, because it makes me happy. I ride a bike because I like the way my legs look when I wear shorts, because after every ride I have dumped my stress load on the side of the road, and my mind is focused. Few people will ever understand the commitment I have to riding and the relationship I have with my bicycle. I know few people that are as passionate about cycling as I am, even fewer among are my friends. As long as I am mobile, I believe cycling will always be a part of me. For now, I say goodbye to working in the industry, reading cycling magazines, and trying to keep up with the latest trends. I'm not going to write off working in the bicycle industry again and I already have some job leads that I am following up on. I am also saying goodbye to continuously buying, trading, reselling or restoring bicycles. I have a couple of restorations left that I haven't sold off yet, I will restore those and perhaps motorize a bicycle.  I really don't have the time to keep doing restorations as frequently as I used to. I honestly don't have very much more time for blogging. But never fear, my beloved readers, if I am not blogging about something on my computer, it's usually because I am enjoying myself in real life, so take comfort in that. My plan is from here on out to enjoy the bikes I already own, to make new adventures with my family, and to let my readers in on what I am doing, every once in a while. Keep subscribing to my posts, but keep the rubber side down in between my articles, as I will be doing the same.


  1. Personally, I have always considered you more of a rider than anything else. I enjoy working on bikes but I think I like finding old bikes more than anything else...the search is where it is at with me. :) Glad to hear of your move up in the world and wish you the best!

  2. Thank you Greg,

    I will keep writing up articles on this blog, and I still have a couple of restoration projects in the back burner that I might get to sometime next year, once I am moved into the new house. This year I have realized that there are other things I need to prioritize my time on, and I still want to be able to make the time to ride my bikes as well, which is the most fulfilling aspect of it for me. Making the move to the right area will hopefully mean that I will be riding more and be a few pounds slimmer by next summer!