“Water safe for consumption,” the subject line of the email read. So Boston’s back to being a normal city in an otherwise developed country, and I can finally wash my hands with unboiled water. Which is nice, because my hands have felt like they did on Sunday when I spent most of my morning behind the service counter at a bike shop in NYC.
Yeah, you read that right. A girl who doesn’t know which way is up when it comes to derailleurs and cassettes was keeping busy in a service area. With tools, even.
With the 5 Borough Bike Ride last weekend [I have plans to do it next year on a mtb tandem in full Lycra with a teardrop helmet], NYC Velo needed some help so I figured it would be interesting to pretend to work at a bike shop for realz. For some reason, instead of manning the cash register - a more appropriate activity that I could probably pull off fairly competently - I ended up talking to Coach DS while he worked a wrench, which then meant I was behind the counter when a girl showed up with newly purchased shoes and Speedplay cleats.
Okay, cleats, I can do. Never mind that I’ve never installed Speedplays before. And the skirt and white tank top that I was wearing which are both completely inappropriate for a bike shop is no thang. So I end up installing one of the plates and cleats with some [read: a lot of] help from Andy, and while I’m struggling with screwdrivers, another girl shows up with a pair of spinning shoes and weird spinning cleats that need to get tightened, too.
A touch of locktite and a few new screws later [the ones on her shoes were mostly useless...and by that I mean they were a pain in the ass to get out], and my hands had a thin film of grease on them. Not visible, but enough to give me that oily tacky feeling that gets my OCD going.
“Can I put gloves on so I can feel like a real but fake mechanic?”
“If you want to feel like a real mechanic, you won’t put gloves on,” came the ever witty reply courtesy of DS.
I went to grab a pair anyway, then dropped them when a bike came wheeling in for a bottle cage and pedal install. Things even I am capable of doing. By that time it was close to 2pm; the last time I had eaten was over 5 hours ago, but I was hardly hungry. There was really no time to be; even if I can’t tell a brake cable from one that keeps things shifting, sunny, beautiful weekend days mean busy times at bike shops.
Mike sold another bike, I helped DS out a little more, then we both snuck out an hour later for lunch. Ish had come by so we weren’t really needed, and there was a Sunday afternoon to enjoy. There was a stop at a bookstore, followed by Stumptown at the Ace Hotel, then later that night, a chance encounter with the best chicken taco I have ever had. I’m still dreaming of you, Pinche.
And while I’m back in Boston to finish up those pesky final exams, if you missed me standing awkwardly behind a service counter in a bike shop last weekend, I’ll be back there in a few weeks. Maybe by the cash register next time, though.