In Tandem: Chats with BBP's Staff

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There’s a special part of my week that consistently brings me joy. On Mondays and Tuesdays, the shop is closed; and the mechanic team and operating team work behind the scenes to prepare for the coming week. We have a beautiful mezzanine; and I love sitting perched above the mechanics, getting my work done and listening to them chat. There’s always a really collaborative conversation that ranges from things like music and movies, to weekend activities, to current events, to story sharing and everything in between. I really enjoy this special access I have to getting to know our mechanics better, and that’s what gave me an idea for a new, semi-regular blog topic. Today I’m introducing “In Tandem: Chats with BBP’s Staff.”

If there’s one guy who consistently cracks me up, it’s Yann Le Morvan. I took a few minutes to chat with Yann while he was facing a bottom bracket this Monday afternoon.

Yann grew up in suburban Paris. Chilly-Mazarin to be exact. Fun fact: Yann lived across the street from a fortified castle with a moat. I asked him if there were dragons, and unfortunately, there were not.

Yann’s interest in bike mechanics began around the age of 12, after he broke at least 3 headsets by doing the kind of riding I can only imagine he would have done as a young, untethered kid in France. Yann says he lived in the kind of town where you rode everywhere, so you had to know how to fix up your own ride if you were going to be able to get around. At 14, Yann began road racing; and his mechanics education moved from self-taught to more formal. (Fun fact: he once raced in the French National Championship).

I was very curious about how Yann found his way to Boise. In 2007, he came on a 3-month vacation with a friend whose dad lived here. He loved it and returned to live in 2010. He spent a year or so as a jack-of-all-trades in the kitchen at The Red Rooster restaurant (no longer open). In 2011, Yann’s BBP odyssey began when he started to volunteer regularly. He was officially hired in 2012 and has filled more roles than likely anyone else except maybe Jimmy. Yann’s been a BBP mechanic, a relationships specialist, the Youth Coordinator, and the Refugee Coordinator. Yann left BBP for a few years to accomplish other goals, and he rejoined our team last October. He’s in it for the long haul, and not just because I tell him he can’t leave. In watching Yann’s interactions in the shop, it’s so evident to me how much he loves this space, how much he values the relationships he has here, and how much he respects every person who walks through our doors.

I asked Yann about his favorite bike, and he said it’s hands down his Yamaguchi. It started as a custom lugged frame that he built himself. When we got to talking in more detail, I learned that Yann also loves Flight saddles. Here are some other fun facts:

Favorite band: Moondoggies

Favorite movie: Amélie

Favorite spot in Boise: The comfort of his own home or the foothills

Here is a not-at-all-comprehensive list of things we love about Yann: his hair, his accent, his confidence, and his attention to detail. Yann is a great educator, a great conversationalist, and a really fun guy to work with. He has a witty and sometimes biting sense of humor that I really appreciate. Most of all, I know that he cares about his peers and about the work he does. I’m so glad he’s back on team BBP.