A Day in the Life of a Female Bike Wrench
By Amber Hoadley
My commute to work is 2 miles of fast downhill pavement. I always wear an American flag bandana over my face because of the cold wind out here in Southwest Montana. People have started recognizing me this way... and I love it.
I get to work 5 minutes early to lock up my bike outside the front of the shop. First things first: lights... computers.... music! If I'm the first one there I always choose something like the Chill House station, or maybe The Black Keys channel. Once we are officially open, I make my rounds on the floor. Check all the clothing, put things away... put the shoeboxes back... fold shirts. Restock bottles, tubes, other popular items that have been sold. Check the nutrition section to see which Clif bars we need next. By that time, I have already been interrupted by 2 or 3 people who need buy a fender, or have me change a flat tire. I've got a bright red apron that I put on over my polo shirt when I'm changing flats. I love being able to help someone on the spot and be able to get them rolling again quickly.
I love my job. I love it. I left wedding photography to go build bikes and change flats all day. And guess what I'm happy!
Now I check the emails, look at inventory, the next parts order... - another flat tire! Sometimes I change 7 or 8 in a day. Now what was I doing again? Oh yes, I need to work on designing our new shop T-shirts for 2017. Then a family comes in with 3 little kids to look for bikes and helmets. I think selling a children's bike is always the most important sale.... you are helping to grow a new cyclist! This could be the start of an amazing cycling career! Meanwhile, I'm working on building up a special order fatbike for a student. My favorite part of a new build is just opening the box for the first time and seeing that special paint job, or those upgraded wheels... it feels like Christmas! There is a special process that goes into assembling a brand new bike. It has to be done just right. That way, when you get interrupted, you know exactly where you left off, so nothing gets missed. Here comes another customer looking for some gloves. I take my apron off and set it on the bench, off to help a mountain biker find the perfect pair for downhill. I love my job. I love it. I left wedding photography to go build bikes and change flats all day. And guess what I'm happy! Yes, all my money just goes right back to buying bikes. I wouldn't have it any other way. 6:00 is here, and I've got my bandana on... ready to ride uphill back to my house. But I might take the long way home...
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