So fast-forward to last year. I’d continued cycling (now with my own non-pink Masi) and graduated from a sprint triathlon to an Olympic tri, but I was still topping out at about 25 miles a ride. I was moving to Atlanta to be closer to my fiancée, and I had decided to try my hand at the cycling industry. Plus, paying to get my bike serviced was getting old.
I walked into a bike shop, told them I wanted a job, and BAM—my foot’s in the door (well, it was a little less instantaneous than “BAM,” but you get my point). I figure, I’ve been a cyclist for a year or two now, I like reading cycling magazines and getting out on my bike, and I know the different levels of Shimano componentry—I’ve got it made.
Wrong. I never felt so humbled in my life than that first week at the bike shop. There are still days when my bike knowledge is totally shown up by a customer, but I also found out that cycling was way bigger than just the Tour de France and triathlon world I was familiar with. Freeriding, pelotons, cyclocross, downhill, velodromes, crit races; the wide world of cycling was turning out to be wide indeed.
Every day I continue to learn something new about cycling. I regularly conduct “market research,” or at least that’s what I tell my wife as I bring home scores of old cycling magazines. The best part of working at a bike shop, aside from the discounted schwag, is getting other people excited about cycling. I don’t care if it’s a soccer mom buying an entry level road bike for her first triathlon; a downtown hipster converting some old, rusty, vintage Schwinn to a fixie; or a full-face helmet, knee-pad wearing high-schooler. I love getting excited with and for other people.