Tuesday, December 08, 2009

Bike Shop Tales: On Campus

Now that I was established in the shop, I was assigned to Advantage Cycles sister store..........

After Tom had me up to speed on assemblies, I was assigned a new task. One of my c0-workers, Troy, had been heading up the sister store on the UNI "College Hill" area called "Campus Cycles" and he was tired of being "stuck" there. So, during the boring off season time, I got the task of being the baby sitter of Campus Cycles.

Tom had taught me all the ways of assembly very thoroughly. How to use leverage to my advantage, how to adjust bearings properly, and all the details on how to make a bicycle present itself in the best manner on the show floor. He was satisfied that I had "got it" and was willing to turn me loose on my own. Sooooo.......I was all alone assembling bikes on the College Hill location five days a week.

There wasn't much customer activity. Actually, in the couple of months that I was stuck down their, I maybe helped a handful of people. Most of the time was spent assembling bikes until close, then I had to lock up and head back to Advantage with the key. Sometimes a truck would show up and we'd blast those bikes outta that truck as fast as possible, me and the truck driver, piling them up right on the sidewalk out front. There was no loading dock, no way for the trucks to get to the back. So, they had no choice but to block busy College Street which meant we had to bust tail getting the rigs unloaded.

Then, of course, the truck driver would peel outta there leaving me with 60 boxes of bikes to get inside, and into the basement storage area. This would take a fair amount of time and that also meant that I had to handle each box a minimum of three times: Once off the truck, once to get into the door, and once more down to the basement. It was pretty tiring.

At first, I was driving down in the Advantage van, or my own rig, but eventually there were time I was riding a bike to work, and Tom or one of the others would drop me off down on "The Hill". Then I had no means of getting back to the shop downtown. Tom often would claim he'd be down to get me, but I soon figured out that might take hours. Literally hours. So, I usually would build a bike my size last, and ride it back to Advantage Cyclery. Tom or one of the others would take it back the following day.

Soon though the snow started melting and on one of my rides back to the main shop I could feel it. Spring was here. With the turning of the seasons, I was summoned back to the Advantage Mothership and that's where I stayed.

Campus Cycles didn't last much longer. Business wasn't good, and it was decided to scuttle the project later that year. I didn't even notice because we were super busy at Advantage. Too busy to notice the signs that might have tipped me off to what would happen later. Oh well, for the time being, I was having a blast.

Building bikes, becoming a mechanic: Next week on Bike Shop Tales.........

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