Well, I'm finally here. For years I have wanted to work at a bike shop, and now I DO! The accomplishment, however, is accompanied by a large slap in the face as I know next to nothing about bicycles. My dad's friends got him into biking; he, in turn, got me into biking. My dad is the kind of guy that used gardening gloves and shop glasses for a few years before anyone could convince him to spend a few bucks to get the right equipment. So as a teenager with zero money I tried many times to convince him to get different bikes for us. It sort of worked...once. So, since that once, I'm still riding an eight-year-old 26er Stumpjumper. That and its 29er brother are the only bikes I've ever ridden. But I got enough use out of them to know that I love biking.
Now I'm supposed to know everything...like EVERYTHING... about everything! Every bike, every brand, sizes of random things, prices, history, what random component is compatible with what random component, and the fact that if you have an old Schwinn wheel you have to get a special tire even though it reads the 'same' dimensions. Everyone here seems to know absolutely everything, and it can be a bit intimidating to be considered one of them. So if you, like me, are trying to make the transition from enthusiast to actually educated (and eventually an expert), I'll keep you updated on the things I'm learning. I have to ask a lot of the questions that we're supposed to know, and it's kind of embarrassing. Things like: "What exactly are 'SPD' pedals?" or "How do you know if a bike is your size??". I'll save you the same embarrassment and pass on the things I'm figuring out.
In the mean time, I've found that using works like "compliance", "components", "sealed cartridge bearing", and "mechanism" help me blend in with those who actually know what they're talking about. Wish me luck!
Until next week....
- Daniel Steiner