Anyway here’s that blog post from nine years ago, because apparently all that this website is now is just RYAN’S GREATEST HITS.
There was also a picture of me whacking my head on a beam in the basement.
UPDATE: Found the picture.
Bikes don’t get delivered fully assembled. They come in large boxes. Then, someone who knows what they are doing with allen keys and a torque wrench puts them together and gets them on the floor. The boxes get haphazardly tossed in the back room of the shop, where Sean probably thinks they magically break themselves down and get put in a dumpster.
Those of you who have entered the shop through the back door know that this is where boxes go before they die. This is where the “box fairy” comes and takes them away. Now, unfortunately the box fairy isn’t attractive, dainty or even winged.
The box fairy is me. I’m 6’3″, 175 pounds and I have a beard.
My name is Ryan Kelly. I worked at Bethel Cycle primarily on Wednesdays through the summer, and you may have seen me during the last few months emerging from the basement covered in asbestos and toxic mold, or in my natural state destroying boxes.
My goal this summer was to work at a bike shop, to learn as much about the equipment necessary for the sport I love, so I wouldn’t go through life as mechanically astute as a rhino. I contacted Greg before I got home from college (I will be a senior at the University of New Hampshire) to line up a job, and started working at the shop in early June.
I spent my first day at the shop organizing the basement.
I don’t suppose any customers have ever been in the basement, as it is probably an insurance liability. But, since I’m 21 and I probably heal fast, worries about dangerous mold and radon were tossed aside in interest of Sean’s constant pursuit of an organized shop.
I don’t quite remember Sean’s exact words on the first day when Greg told me to organize the basement. I more remember the look on his face. It was a grin. But it wasn’t a happy grin, not the kind of facial expression that is brought out through a joke.
It’s the kind of grin you get when you see someone take a fastball to the face on a sports blooper reel. You aren’t being really malicious, but are somewhat enjoying the humorous discomfort of others.
The discomfort part came when I walked down into the basement. The ceiling is about 5 feet, 10 inches high. There is a heating pipe running across one side of the basement at about four feet off the ground, which is not necessarily ideal working conditions for someone who rides a 60 cm road bike. And there were years of abandoned bikes that needed to be organized.
But hey, I was getting paid to be around bikes, so I didn’t mind.
After I emerged from the basement alive, much to the surprise of Greg and Sean, I continued to perform various other tasks around the shop.
As the summer progressed, with the worst task available at the shop already completed, I slowly climbed the ladder of the retail bicycle industry. Every day I would water the flowers, break down the boxes and vacuum before doing other random jobs. First I was cleaning windows or organizing the back room. Soon I was building and selling bikes, and I was allowed out of the back room to interact with other people.
Now, I wasn’t around bikes in a dank basement or fiddling with excess stock in a musty storage room. I was around bikes and those knowledgeable about them in an air conditioned room with a dog I could play with.
I learned a lot from Sean so far this summer (like tighten everything several times), although I am still pretty much an idiot. It’s hard to teach an English major mechanical skills.
And even though Sean may be the head mechanic, he’s got nothing on me when it comes to box destruction.