It’s been a few weeks at The Shop now and I’m getting to know the place a bit better, and the various people who work or lurk there, and if things go on like this, I reckon it’s a pretty good for a wannabe bike mechanic with two left thumbs.

The Boss is almost as badly organised as I am and although the shop has been in the current location for about six months it looks like we moved everything in yesterday, using a bulldozer. There’s one room at the back I’ve not been in yet because I can’t see the floor. On the other hand, The Boss knows where everything is, and the important stuff like tools are easy to find-even if they aren’t where you expect them to be, and they are great quality and well kept. Jobs I’d sweat over for hours at home, take minutes here.

The Boss is also an excellent mechanic and a good teacher with a stock of great stories which usually out-scale my disasters: when I managed to make a tyre explode sideways and turn the wheel into a shape like a damp rag, he topped that with a story of steadily and unwittingly destroying a top of the range brake disc, which made me feel a lot better. He also didn’t complain at my hogging a stand all day and asking for help every five minutes when I was building the bike for Beautiful Wife. I reckon he gave me a months wages worth in free advice there. (don’t tell him I said that) Best of all, my work time is flexible: handy when I’m working funny theatre hours and want to see my family.

And I’m learning stuff. I’ve spent most of the last two weeks straightening wheels (which I thought was a step away from  alchemy- turns out all you need is a key and a decent wheel gauge) setting brakes up, fixing bottom brackets, and other things which are of no interest to normal people. At the moment I’m getting used to the mechanical side which leaves The Boss free to deal with customers and sales -to the background sounds of things breaking and occasional quiet muttering in the Anglo-Saxon vernacular. I’m having a lot of fun though. I just hope the customers don’t notice that I’m doing everything three times…

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