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Student Career Resource

What is It Like To Manage A Bike Shop?

In 2019, we are highlighting certain occupations as part of our Social Media Education Platform. We are doing this help grade 11, 12 and college students so they can think ahead and do research on what they are really getting into.

So far we have interviewed a Correctional Officer, a Social Worker, 911 Operators, Police Officers, Nurses, Teachers, Educational Support Staff, Radiation Therapists, a Lifeguard, a Firefighter, a Musical Professional, Paramedics, Engineers, a Medical Laboratory Professional, a career in Acting, working for Non-profits, Dental Hygienists, Marketing professional. We discussed the reality of their day to day work and asked them for advice on succeeding in the field.
Here is our interview with Marci Webb.

What made you want to work in a Bike Shop?
I was in my late teens and had just gotten into racing and what would be more fun than to work in a bike shop?

Where can we find you ?
Visit me at Bikes and Beans in Quispamsis if you need help with anything related to bikes

What one you’re favourite moments from working at Bikes & Beans?
It is really hard to pick a favourite moment at the store. So may customers show generosity in many ways but one that really has stuck with me was the Steeves family dropping of their kids bikes after the three kids had outgrown them. They were donating them because Katie, Alex and Jonathon wanted other kids to have a really good bike too. When we have space in the shop we take in used bikes and fix them up to donated to groups like Joshua Group, One Change, and Crescent Valley.

Where do you see the future in cycling?
You ask me the question of where I see cycling in the future but I would like to see cycling in this area catch up to the now. Cycling is an activity possible on many levels. Competitive, the addicted enthusiast or even a mode of transportation. I would love to see more bikes used for utility. Whether that be someone commuting to work, a child riding to school or the bike being used to run errands. However, talk to an adult about this and those who do not frequently use a bike likely will not feel comfortable riding on the roads with busy traffic. Bike lanes, while seeming to be costly, do not just benefit the user. More people on bikes means less traffic on the road(improving flow). More people on bikes can improve retail sales and I am not speaking of more sales for the bike shops. Retail shops on a bike route experience an increase in sales. Possibly, because of parking but many studies have proven that bike lanes help in growth of retail. Another benefit to riding a bike? It is healthy! Better health=less strain on our health system. Seems like a win-win except to those who are determined to drive in their comfy car and too often rush from place to place. Take a bike ride and feel the pleasure of a slower pace.

Walk me through how do measure cyclist handlebars &  seats once a person had found the perfect bike?
When it comes to a bike with drop bars(curled) such as a road bike or a cyclocross bike there are predetermined widths of bars so we measure the riders shoulders to determine their correct width. Flat bars that are on bikes such like hybrids or mountain bikes typically come with a wide bar and every rider has a different preference for feel when resting on their grips. Someone may choose to keep their bars wide for technical trails where they need to pull up on the bars more or some riders may experience pain in their wrists, numbing in fingers or find they are “clipping” trees often so we tend to cut down the bar 1/4″ at a time. Saddle fit can be a serious undertaking as we have to look at whether the rider is wearing cycling shorts, are they riding at the correct seat height(some ride with the saddle too low), if they are using a cycling short with a padded chamois have they tried chamois cream, are they wearing clothing that has a seam in the center(you want a gusseted crotch). All of these can be factors that affect being able to find a comfortable seat. Saddle fit devices have sometimes helped find the proper fit but we find better luck with offering a range of demo saddles so if you purchased your bike at Bikes and Beans these are available for you to demo at no cost.

What kind of tools should I carry when cycling?
Some riders prefer relying on their cellphone but if equipped with some basic tools there isn’t any reason a mechanical should ruin your ride. Minimal tools/supplies needed are a tube to fit your tire, tire levers and a pump(most common mechanical is a flat). However, it is also a good idea to carry a multitool. A multitool is available with many optional functions. Allen keys, torx key, flathead and philips screwdriver, tire levers, chain tool, chain holder and more. Additional supplies like a tire boot could save you if you experience a cut in the sidewall of your tire. A patch kit is a good back-up in case of a second flat and to carry all this the rider will need either a seat bag that attaches under the back of their saddle or a hydration pack that offer storage capacity.

What safety equipment should I add to my bike?  
Safety equipment can vary depending on the level or confidence of the rider… if riding on pavement a helmet is essential and be sure not to have any loose clothing that could get caught in the wheels or chain. Blinking lights are commonly seen on cyclist’s bikes and these have really added to the visibility factor. I really dislike hearing the excuse “I didn’t see (insert whichever subject) and have always believed it  really to be the matter of the person who did not see really wasn’t giving the road their full attention but there are moments and conditions that make it harder for motorists to discern what else is on the road with them. Tip: but a USB charge light with a minimum of 30 lumens as these when used in a beautiful blue-sky day draw others attention. If you really want to be see in daylight a 70 lumen light gets you that “daytime rated” status. A bell is another good safety item especially when riding amongst walkers, hikers or other cyclists using a bike path because if you are riding faster than their speed the use of the bell will give them notice not to change their line(so they do not veer into your path).

When it comes to mountain biking on trails some riders will be minimalist with helmet, full finger gloves, and a short sleeve or long sleeve jersey(less chance of trail-rash in the event of a crash). If you are charging on the trails or still improving on your technique you may feel more comfortable wearing elbow and knee pads and the advancement of the technology of these means you are now riding in even more comfort with malleable materials that provide excellent protection. A rider wanting to try a lift-assist ride park like Sugarloaf, New Brunswick where you load your bike on a chairlift or truck that transports your bike to the top of the mountain will want even more safety gear. A full face helmet, full-finger gloves, a pressure suit that has chest, back and kidney protection as well as knee and shin guards.

Thank You Marci for the great interview.

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