Monday, March 22, 2010

All in a day's work

For those of you who don't know, I've started to work at Trek of Fairfield in the Brick Walk complex of Fairfield, CT on weekends. (Yeah, yeah... like I don't have anything else to do... ) Why? Aside from the added income, I wanted to learn more about cycling, and, frankly, I needed to find a way to feed my new-found addiction in an affordable manner. This weekend was my first weekend working on the sales floor. (Well, technically, it was for training, but they were so busy, and, you know how shy I am... I couldn't stand it, so I ended up helping folks - trial by fire.)

And, I know it may sound strange - yes, I have an managerial position with a company where I have an office, a view, a new hire, etc, which I do appreciate and enjoy tremendously - but I think it was one of the most fulfilling weekends of "work" that I've experienced. Not only did I get to learn and share knowledge about something that I'm passionate about, but I ended up working mostly with parents getting their kids their first bikes. (I guess since I'm a mom, a woman, and not an obvious candidate as a "gearhead" - not that anyone else in the shop is really, but you know what I mean, it naturally happened that way.) And it was illuminating. Literally. Because, once I talked to the kids, and the parents, I saw the "sparks" light up in their eyes, and I knew there was a budding cyclist there.

What was great was, when speaking to these little 'uns, their parents were often steering them towards the "cute" bikes, but the kids, and mostly the girls, were shooting for the "real" bikes - not the cruisers, the mountain-style bikes - and it wasn't because they had the bells and whistles. I heard reasons like:
  • "No, I'm not just going to want to go up and down the street."
  • "Pink isn't a serious color for a serious bike. I want the blue one, Daddy!"
  • "I can ride a horse! Why can't I ride a bike just as hard!"
  • "I need gears, Mommy. Have you tried going up our hill?"
  • "Daddy, I want to ride with you! And I can't do that on a silly bike with ribbons!"
  • "Can I ride the bike to school instead of the bus?"
  • "If he gets front shocks, I get front shocks, too! Just because I'm a girl doesn't mean I don't want to get dirty!"
And there it was. I thought my kids were in the minority. But, no, they aren't. And I was so proud of these girls standing up to their moms, who had been complaining that the bikes weren't girly enough. One girl had her heart SET on a blue Trek with green and orange bubbles (the girl's Trek MT60). I pulled the mom aside and pointed out that we could "girlify" things up with the helmet and accessories, but that if her daughter didn't want an overly-girly bike, and she insisted on another model, which technically would have been fine, her daughter simply wouldn't ride it. Ultimately, she conceded to her rough-and-tumbly daughter. (I also reminded Mom that, if she liked girly bikes, there were plenty of adult bikes that fit the mold, so she could ride with her daughter. Not quite a spark in Mom, yet, but I did get a flicker when she saw the cool plum Trek Navigator... )

I also nearly shot myself in the foot. I've also been vying to get a mountain bike, which I finally did, as well. I'm hitting trails nearby with the hope to race this summer and run a LIVESTRONG MTB event later this year. I had brought my bike downstairs (the Trek 3900 Disc LE) to mount SPD pedals on and to take it home. Just as things were shutting down, a couple comes in and asks about a good, entry-level, hardtail MTB that was around $500 and had disc brakes. My colleague couldn't think of a model, so I sheepishly suggested the 3900. They asked if there was one to see, and the woman was about my height. Knowing that the bike that would suit her best was downstairs, with my name on it, I couldn't hoard it and not let her try it out. So, I told her we happened to have one Limited Edition version on hand for her to look at and I'd bring it up.

I did, and she fell in love with it. As we talked, she asked why it was downstairs. I told her it was actually mine, but, if she wanted it, I'd order another for myself. She felt so badly, because, I guess, I spoke so passionately about it, she refused and said she'd want to order a bike for the man she came in with, too, so she'd go with the ordered bike. So, it was win-win for both of us - another is coming into the shop for her to test ride and, hopefully, take home, and I got to bring my new toy home, too.

Now, bearing in mind I'd be representing LIVESTRONG as well as the shop when I do these MTB races, I had to modify the bike a little...

LIVESTRONG, everyone!

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