Tuesday, December 22, 2009

Bike Shop Tales: The Atmosphere

Working in a bike shop was a radical departure from what I had been used to. Let's take a closer look at Advantage Cyclery circa 1994.......

When I started working at the bike shop, I was coming out of a decade of working in jewelry stores, designing jewelry, being a gemologist, and handling tiny stones worth thousands of dollars. Wearing a suit and tie for most of those ten years, I was rarely not "dressed up" during any given day. Well, obviously that attire was not appropriate at the bike shop job.

I actually had to buy some t-shirts and more casual pants and shorts. Instead of Florsheim I started buying Chuck Taylors. (I had a rad pair of purple high tops back then!) Just like the attire, the atmosphere was definitely less "uptight" at Advantage Cyclery.

I was surrounded by bike geeks that were racers for the most part. The shop sponsored a team, put on events, and race bikes, high end parts, and "geeking out" on set ups was all a daily part of the shop life. There were brochures from all the exclusive brands to peruse, and some of those bikes would come through the shop from time to time. A full off road Campy equipped Cinelli "The Machine", American M-16's, titanium Diamond Back Axis, Kleins, Bontragers, and more.

The shop area was big, wide open, and after I had worked there awhile, Tom rearranged it so that it was closed off from the sales floor area and accessible through an opening like a doorway without the door from there and the "back door" on the other end which dumped out to a gravel parking lot. This is where I spent the majority of my time while I worked at Advantage.

The shop had three complete repair stations with stands, tools, and all the things needed to fix a bicycle. There was a large sink in the corner, and several machinists cabinets with drawers full of parts. Along the "wall" with the sales area was shelving that had all the repair parts and other rare bits of cycling esoterica. I used to ramble through it and ask questions about some of the oddities found on those shelves. Finally, the ceiling was festooned with repair wheels for customers bikes. All in all it was a cool little shop. The repair tires and aftermarket treads were all in the other end of the shop, back in another little room off the sales floor that also doubled as the roller blade rental center.

This is the scene where most of the following weeks tales will be based from. The good ol' Advantage Cyclery repair shop.

Next week: Tales Of The Night

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