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He should know better


Mike Metz on an early morning session, captured by Graeme Murray. Mike Metz on an early morning session, captured by Graeme Murray.

A bike shop is a bit like a pub.

We all have a ‘local’, where we go to get a fix, or something fixed.

Like a pub, it is rarely a place we go because we have to. We go there for pleasure, to see if anything miraculous has arrived, and to find out stuff we didn’t know we didn’t know.

There is a way it is done if you are a local. Nobody asks if they can help, because they know you are beyond help. So you wander in, looking for something shiny and new. The oracle is likely to be in the workshop. A wise bike shop owner will try to make the the shop floor accessible from the workshop, but also, for productivity’s sake, make the workshop awkward to access from the shop. That is not easy, and the way the mechanics are sequestered is as varied as the discussions with the regulars who occupy the optimal positions within earshot.

My local has taken the view that they are more like a craft brewery, and the shop has been turned inside out. The workshop IS the shop. The mechanics are the owners. Their regulars come for bike maintenance and to see shiny things, but also seek wisdom and entertainment.

They have placed a lounge suite of dubious origins in front of the workstands, which are on a little stage in a sort of greasy cabaret.

Regulars progress quickly from being treated with polite interest to being ridiculed mercilessly, by the proprietors and the other customers. The more they like a customer, the more derision is heaped upon her, or him. As a regular target, I hope thats how it works.

Case in point: a valued customer announced his intention of riding 1000 kilometres off road in a calendar month. Guffaws, unhelpful suggestions, and doubt ensued. Mission complete, he then proposed climbing 10,000 metres in 10 days. Again, derision and laughter, and a long argument over whether climbing the same hill several times should count.

He reported back 10 days later that the altitude gained was 14,000 metres, but admitted that  many reps on one hill were included in the total. It was pointed out unkindly that he doesn’t have a full time job, so achievements like his most recent one had to be taken with a grain of salt.

The fact that he is 72 doesn’t enter into it.






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