Posts Tagged ‘bikes’

What you find has everything to do with how you get there

Tuesday, May 21st, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAOnce in New Mexico I decided to go for an adventure to Albuquerque, and I asked if anyone had recommendations for what to do there. “You want to go to Albuquerque? Albuquerque is an armpit! Just move on through,” replied one car-dependent resident. Undiscouraged, I put my bike on the train in Santa Fe and rolled off into downtown ABQ. I threaded my way through the hidden neighbourhoods of Nob Hill, and over a magnificent pedestrian bridge across the Rio Grande. I paused at a Mexican bakery and a funky old theatre, and a hidden downtown alley where street folk sang soul tunes in the sun. An ancient black man in a straw hat offered me a hotdog and invited me to sit for a while, and I did. Had I driven through Albuquerque I probably would have found yet another crumbling American metropolis; just another armpit between the Interstates.

I find pockets of paradise in every place I explore by bike. (more…)

My life as a pedal pusher

Saturday, May 18th, 2013

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAA year ago I went to work at The Bike Doctor as a humble pedlar of pedals.

I had never worked in the retail end of bikes, and The Bike Doctor is a big store. I was shaky and a little intimidated. There are hundreds of models of bikes and thousands of products I was supposed to know about, and although I’ve done tons of bikey stuff through the years the fact is I didn’t know jack about parts or accessories, or bikes. My abilities as a mechanic didn’t (and still don’t) extend beyond fixing a flat, and half the time I could not even get the damn tire off the rim. I was the only woman on a staff of 26 men. And since I hadn’t worked in a store since I was a teenager, the workings of the modern cash register (remember cash?) were utterly strange to me. I made a lot of mistakes.

The job called for an immediate ego smackdown. Working basic retail isn’t exactly high on the social prestige scale, and a woman my age with a resumĂ© isn’t ‘supposed’ to be mopping greasy floors and making change for inner tubes. The pay barely cleared minimum wage, and my ‘supervisor’ was half my age. My bigass ex-clients would come in and raise amused eyebrows as I tightened their saddle or scrambled to find them a tire, but there I was—humble shop clerk and pedal pusher. Clocking in and clocking out. (more…)

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