Tuesday, March 24, 2009

Take a chance on me

Today was my first day biking to work. "Wait... what??" Yes, ladies and gentlemen (and the rest of you), last week I managed to land a part-time gig at Capitol Hill Bikes, the place where I had taken my intro to bike maintenance class a few weeks back. I like to think that it was my magnetic personality or my strong application essays, rather than the freshly baked banana nut muffins (aka blatant bribes) that I brought to the interview, that got me the position. But whatever it is that the friendly owners, Denise and Laurie, see in me -- maybe they have been looking for months for a source of a little obscure literary humor around the sales desk, who knows -- I'll take it!

Feeling more confident on my bike after yesterday's trip to the National Arboretum -- a day spent getting comfortable with my shifters and admiring the early-blooming magnolia trees with my friend Tom -- I bundled up this morning and headed for Eastern Market. It was a beautiful, cold, clear morning and it felt good to be out on two wheels. I find that I no longer have the vise grip on the brakes these days, which means less hand cramps and knots in my shoulders. Nice. And while I have not yet settled on a common name for my beautiful new ride, on the commute to work this morning, she and I agreed on her Native American name: Plays in Traffic (or PIT for short). She's a spunky one, that PIT, flashing her rear reflector at cabs as we zipped past the poor schmucks sitting in traffic. Ah, vindication... Sheldon would be proud.

So, the first day. I think things went well. I tried ringing a few things up, tagged along on a few sales, updated some content on the website, and interviewed some of the staff. In general, it's a friendly group, and across the board very knowlegeable on all things bike related (and then some). I get the impression that some of the guys aren't quite sure what to make of me. I am, admittedly, a bit hyper, but I tried to tone it down. (Also, I tried to lay off the coffee but it's right there and it's not too bad.) I wonder if a loaf or two of zucchini bread might smooth over any rough patches... hmmm.... Definitely some baked goods are in order for Ben, the mechanic who went out of his way before closing up shop to walk me through adjusting my front brakes before letting me leave the shop this evening. (More details on CHB to come: It turns out I'm helping them to set up a blog, too, so there will be plenty of space to read about the cool cats at the shop.)

My ride home was actually pretty sweet. I'm doing a much better job of mapping out routes (god help me when I have to figure out how to use trail maps, though: I swear those things are written in Sanskrit). Having installed lights on my bike earlier today, I decided it was finally time for my first night ride. I bundled up again, switched on the blinkers, took a deep breath, and started pedaling. I made it home (uphill!) in record time. Now, I won't tell you the record because those of you who bike the city might laugh, but it was a personal best for me, with no walking, only a block or two on the sidewalk (I got a little skittish on Florida Avenue), but most importantly I loved the ride. Now, if this were The Time Traveler's Wife, and the me now were to go back and tell the me... well, up until maybe last week... that the words "I loved the bike ride home tonight through the city" would one day come out of my mouth, I would have laughed. Or maybe I would have thought I need to cut down on the wine. But no, I really love being on my bike. I feel so empowered.

I'm looking forward to my next work shift on Thursday. Maybe they'll let me set up a few bikes for customers to test ride. Right: I'd better get baking....

1 comment:

  1. I'm loving this idea of baked goods at interviews! Note to self...


Thanks for your comment! Just making sure this isn't spam.... Thanks for your patience. :)Ibti