At the start of 2019, our team members set goals for ourselves, professionally and personally. One of my smaller goals for the year, a mix of professional and personal, is to learn more about bike mechanics. Before Sunday, I knew the basics of the basics. I could patch and change a tube, clean a chain, and that was about it! Earlier last week Yann and Aaron both cited “gunky gears” as an issue I was having, so I brought my bike into the shop to learn how to degunk my gears!
My day begins with a warm greeting from Patricia who is helping customers check out. I’m pretty sure it’s impossible to have a bad day with Patricia in the shop. Christa, a longtime BBP supporter and our newest shop mechanic/ray of sunshine comes around the corner ready to help. We head to the shop floor and set up my bike to start a quick check up.
I quickly learn gunky gears were the least of my problems.
Christa and I were hired in November, and since then she has committed to learning bike mechanics, often coming in early to study our many bike manuals. Through her gained knowledge, she determined I should upgrade my chain, cassette, and large chainring, as well as adjust my derailleur. A bit more than I originally planned, but I couldn’t wait to learn how to do it all! It took a few hours, as well as a hand off to Camille, who came in the afternoon. I could go through the details of doing all those tasks, but that’s something I’m sure many of you know about. What you might not know about is the incredible talent that Christa, Camille, and our mechanic team has for teaching bike mechanics to all levels.
Yann would stop by and help Christa when needed, Camille would teach Christa and me the mighty wisdom that she has gathered here since she was a 16 year old Mechanic Apprentice. Camille taught me about specific tools and pieces, and graciously step in as I nearly broke my aluminum derailleur hanger. Oops.
As Camille and I were nearing the end of my laundry list, I began adjusting my gears and cleaning my bike while Camille taught two young women how to find their tire size and change tubes, helped another member with his mountain bike, and checked in on shoppers in our parts room. I couldn’t believe it. She taught me so much that I was able to finish the rest on my own, taught new skills to three other people (probably more!), and extended the BBP Experience to our Sunday shoppers. Camille is so cool. She is a fountain of bicycle knowledge, has incredible hands on teaching skills for all levels, works another part time job, goes to school full time AND rides a unicycle!? I wouldn’t be surprised if she could juggle as well.
So, this Sunday was my day as a member, really one of my first days with just that hat on. It made me realize how dedicated our team really is to helping our community find a bike, fix their bike, and learn new skills along the way. If you have ever wanted to learn more about bicycle maintenance, I may be biased when I suggest coming here, but our team creates a welcoming and educational environment from your first greeting at the door. I look forward to seeing what more I can learn from our team, and to watch them make an impact on community members.
A day in the life as a BBP Member is a good day.