In these rainy slow bikeshop days one of my jobs is to call up everyone who bought a bike this summer and remind them that it is time to bring it in for a free warranty tuneup. Of course it’s not just a public service call (or as i like to call it, a summons to “regular dental hygiene for your bike”)â€“every customer who comes into the shop is likely to drop a little cash. With only three weeks to go til Christmas retail in general is being described as ‘flatlining’, and bike stuff isn’t exactly the hottest seasonal seller. So, much as i pride myself as being an active agent of global economic collapse, I’m not averse to drumming up some sales.
I am working my way down the list from July through September. When I manage to hook a live person on the phone they are almost always grateful for the call and more than happy to talk about their bodies and their bikes, the two being so deeply interconnected.
I got a guy named Tom on the line. Tom purchased a green Norco Malahat in August. The Malahat is a sturdy lower-end bike with a suspension fork, wide seat, and upright city-style frame. I asked Tom how he was liking the bike. “Well,” he said, “when I first got the bike we went out (Tom and the wife) for some rides, and I was a little sore. But it was fun. We rode down to Steveston, that was a long ride, then we remembered that there might be a SkyTrain station nearbyâ€“and there was! So we took the SkyTrain home!” He said, recounting the adventure. “And the bike routes through the city are great. I’ve ridden over the viaduct. I ride over the Canada Line bridge from Richmond, the view is beautiful. I’m not taking up too much of your time am I?” “Oh no, tell me more!” Well you know, to tell you the truth when I bought the bike, I didn’t thing I would ride it very much. But I figured it was a pretty cheap bike so, why not. I had just had two heart operations â€“ two stents â€“ and my doctor thought it would be a good idea. At first I couldn’t swing my leg over the bike – but then after a while I could. Next summer we’re going to ride Kettle Valley. I feel like I can ride anywhere. I’ll bring my bike in for that tune-up soon.”
I thanked him for his story and said I looked forward to seeing him in the shop. “Wait”, he said, “can I tell you one more thing? I used to be one of those guys who hated bike lanes.”