I love having a bike shop in New York City. Sure there are numbers to crunch and stressors to handle, but unlike a lot of people’s jobs, mine is constantly filled with bikes. There are times when I am attached to a desk and doing business type things, but what I enjoy the most is the action on the sales floor. When the season hits, it’s important to remember to slow down and take time to smell the bike grease and fresh tires (a bike shop’s equivalent of flowers?).
This weekend, we traded the great spring weather we’ve been enjoying lately for a few days of cold winds. Thankfully we avoided the forecasted snow storm, but the first official day of spring brought with it temperatures a good 10 degrees colder than usual. Even so, the temperature in the store was tropical. The staff was on! A brief (hopefully) dip in temperatures couldn’t dull their excitement that the season has started – you could sense the energy and hear good conversations between staff and customers all day long. Here’s a 15-minute slice of life in the shop during spring:
I took a few minutes to watch a 6-year old waiting for his new bike. He was vigorously pumping one of our floor pumps while his sister pretend inflated the bike lights, locks, and bells on the wall. He proudly proclaimed he was putting more air in the world so we all could live longer. He probably didn’t know that although that floor pump isn’t directly saving anyone, riding bikes will help save our future from climate change and extend many riders’ lives (and increase the quality of those lives).
A few feet away from the floor pump superhero, Chris was working on a well used electric pedal assist bike we sold a few months ago to a messenger. As he wrenched, they discussed whether this had been a profitable bike for the messenger. Did the added speed help him get in an extra delivery or two every day? Did he feel better at the end of the day and was he able to enjoy his time with his family more? Although greater productivity was the reason behind the purchase, the end result was more, and happier, family time.
Then a couple came in. He was pushing a Specialized road bike and she was looking to take advantage of our spring sale and get a women’s specific road bike to share the experience with him. She did find a bike and sounded enthusiastic about riding – if not with him then with our women’s cycling group (see our site: womencyclingnyc.com).
Another children’s bike was moved toward the repair stand for a final safety checkover before going to its new home. Next week is the start of spring break, so we’ve built a ton of kids’ bikes recently.
The bike’s new owner, about 8-years old: What if I don’t remember how to ride?
Mom: Have you heard that saying It’s just like riding a bike? That because you never really forget how to ride a bike!
Moments later, she was riding down the block on her new bike, a huge smile on her face.
Then in walked another couple. This time the woman was the biker and the boyfriend the potential convert. As they browsed road bike options, I looked around and realized I could hear three different languages being spoken. I saw happy tourists, excited to find items unavailable in their country, picking out NYC memories for cycling friends back home.
I returned to my desk and found an email from a mom inquiring about teaching her and her 7-year old son with mild autism to ride bicycles. We work with Andree Sanders, a Bike League Certified Instructor, and every year she helps hundreds of adults and children learn to ride or be better cyclists. I remembered teaching my wife to ride 35 years ago so we could take a bicycle tour of Cuba, a trip with memories to last decades! (If you’re looking to learn how to ride, no matter how old or young you are, you can contact firstname.lastname@example.org.)
Did I mention I love owning a bike store in NYC? Not every day has such easily identifiable bits of joy, but if I remember to slow down and take in what’s going on around me, I know that everyday has a remarkable set of memories being made in my shops.
Owner, Bicycle Habitat