One of the greatest advantages to owning and running a bike shop is the opportunity to work at something that you truly love doing . Both Ray and I are very lucky to be able to get up each morning and look forward to going to work . To have your consuming passion interwoven with how you make your day to day living is something that improves your quality of life immeasurably , and we have every customer who comes into our shop or who goes onto our website to thank for that . No two days are ever the same so here are a few examples of what went on this week .
Whilst many of our ‘regulars’ ride road bikes or mountain bikes we also have a good deal of ordinary people who we see a lot of . One of these is a guy called Dennis .
Dennis is in his early sixties and retired . He first came into us about eight years ago and was thinking of buying a bike ‘for a bit of exercise’ . He chose a Falcon Explorer hybrid and after inquiring about the price said that he would be back in a few days to buy the bike . As Bill Cullen says , ‘bebacks’ are never confirmed sales until the money is in the till so we usually take this with a grain of salt . However Dennis was back two days later , with the money and he bought the bike . The interesting thing was how he said he came about the money . He has a system for betting on the horses which he says although it will never make him a millionaire , seems to be able to provide him with small amounts of cash whenever he needs a bit extra . It usually involves betting on favourites , but this is as far as my understanding goes as I know very little about betting on the horses .
Over the years he began to come in pretty often for brake blocks , tyres , tubes , blocks and chains and one look at the bike would tell you that it was being used a lot . Then a few years ago he traded up to a Specialized Sirrus which increased his cycling activity again . This year he bought a Sirrus Elite and is doing even more .
One day last week Dennis was in the shop and I asked him how much he does on the bike each week . Remember that he is on a hybrid with normal everyday clothing and footwear . His reply was that he does at least two hundred miles per week . There are many racing cyclists who don’t get near that amount of training and Dennis does this hail , rain or snow . Very often each Sunday morning ‘the group’ will pass Dennis coming the other way as they head towards Clonmel and Dennis heads for Carrick . He is a great example of the other side of cycling , the side that keeps you fit and healthy and keeps your mind young as the years go by faster .
On Friday we got a call form a delivery driver who said that he had a box for us and was looking for directions to the shop . Whilst Ray was speaking to him on the phone he mentioned that he was driving a sixty footer with a trailer . To get a Sixteen foot van with a trailer on it down through the middle of Clonmel on Friday evening four weeks before Christmas would be very difficult , let alone a sixty foot truck with a thirty foot trailer on behind . Ray suggested that they wait up on the by-pass and we could go up in the van and meet them , which is what we did .
I hopped into the van and headed up for the by-pass where it was very easy to spot our delivery men . The sixty footer was a removals lorry so even if they had tried to make it down the town it may easily have become lodged in the ‘West Gate ‘ archway . Our ‘Box ‘ was already out of the van so I pulled up alongside and we said hello .( or I said howa-ye lads and a small wirey guy replied aw-roite maite ) The small wirey guy was accompanied by a much larger , bulkier guy in a black bomber jacket with a very tight haircut . He said very little until the three of us had lifted the Box into the van and I turned to him and slowly said ‘ the box is pretty heavy , whilst nodding my head in agreement with myself . When he replied ‘ yea it is aw-roite maite’ I was momentarily taken aback . I had just assumed that he was Polish , as are many guys of that build , in physical jobs in Ireland at present . I then remembered a saying that I had heard once – to assume makes an ass out of u and me . Sometimes it’s good to be reminded never to assume anything and never to label anyone .
The box was a large timber crate which contained a Viner measuring jig . We had looking forward to its arrival and once Brian from Viner Uk comes over later this week to train us on how to use it corrrectly we will be all set to offer a complete custom build service on what Marcel Wust called ‘the best bike he has ever ridden ‘ see here
We removed the jig on Saturday morning and every child who came into the shop for the rest of the day seemed to find their way into the box at some stage . From twelve year olds to two year olds they all made a bee line for the box . I wonder how many kids this Christmas will receive hundreds of euros of presents when they would have been just as happy with a large timber box .
Speaking of Christmas , I do like to support local business and must say that World of wonder up in the poppyfield are great value for toys . This is our first real year of Santa and we got the Smiths catalogue for Laura to pick out what she wanted form Santa . It was a nice surprise to go up to World of Wonder last Friday night and find that everything on the list was a good deal cheaper than Smyths . One item was €35 in Smyths with a big price reduction tag proclaiming it to be great value whilst the same item with no red tag was €25 in World of wonder .
Another strange event to take place last week was the appearance of my friends mother in the shop with what could only be described as a blow up doll . She had bought it in a novelty shop in order to play a joke on her brother who was returning for his sixtieth birthday . However it had developed a puncture so she brought it in to have it repaired . This was most definitely up there in the most unusual repair undertaken category but we always aim to please so I re-inflated the item and proceeded to try to locate the puncture . Whilst doing this I remembered something that I had to tell Ray about and walked out into the shop whilst still trying to locate the puncture . There I was , miles away concentrating on listening for a puncture with the midriff of the doll next to my face when the buzzer went and two ladies walked into the shop . I immediately dropped the doll and walked over to serve them . We were all a little flustered but I managed to show them a couple of bikes which may suit their kids for Christmas . Even though , as my friends mother said there were no ‘bits’ on the doll , it was still a rather embarrassing situation to find myself in .
So there it is , your average week in a bike shop , and not an energy bar in sight !