A very long time ago I muttered mutterings about trying to enrol in an apprenticeship to fix bicycles. Basically it fell flat: I worked in a shop with a very good mechanic for a few days, and he told me to wait ‘until September’ for a letter saying if I’d been accepted. I’m still waiting. I didn’t chase it up because I’ve worked with someone who did this sort of thing before and from experience I don’t think it’s worth it.
Then last week as I was looking at the sorry remains of the ancient bike frame (which I’ve decided is a dead bike frame, please go here to pay your last respects) when the local pastor told me there was an opening in a the village bike shop. As I’ve fixed the pastor’s bike a few months ago and he’s still breathing, he suggested me to the owner.
So I wandered down to the shop and met The Boss, who brushed aside all my protestations that I’ve not worked in the industry for years, never touched a disc brake, can’t straighten a wheel etc, (note to self: work on interview technique) and told me to come back in a day or so for a trial run. The day before yesterday I made my debut by breaking a tyre lever but we generally had a great time, at the end of which he asked how he should pay me and when I can come back. I’ll be there on Tuesday afternoon. It’s a part-time position, which is great because I can shuffle hours and work alongside my theoretical day job in theatre while relearning the trade, and although the pay isn’t wonderful but it’s a darn sight more than if I’d said ‘no’, and I get bike parts at wholesale prices -which will mean a big saving with my ability to break stuff. Best of all, it’s in the village so I don’t have to pay to travel there.
The shop is struggling a bit because it gained a shabby reputation under a previous owner . The current owner: (henceforth known as ‘The Boss’ took over a couple of years ago and he’s now trying to regain customers. I watched him working and I’m pretty impressed by how he deals with customers and staff, and how he’s managed to turn it around in the last year. The Boss has his work cut out at the moment with more repairs than he can handle, and the shop is a mess of repaired and not yet repaired bikes, which is of course good news in a way because there’s lots of work.
Also good news: Middle Son finally has a bike, I’ll take a photo of him riding it when I find the camera wherever it’s hiding, and the Brooks Saddle is truly less uncomfortable when at an angle. There’s hope yet.
The only bit of metaphorical grit in the bearing grease are the cracks in that bike frame for Beautiful Wife: Time to start scouring newspapers for a small steel ladies bike with a good frame on 26″ wheels.