Saturday, January 17, 2009

Hanging Out

Went for the first ride of the year today.  It was awesome.  Sunny and 34 degrees, which for January in northern Idaho is absolutely balmy.   It felt great to be on a bicycle.  It has only been a month since my last ride, but time seems to stand still in the winter time.  

The roads are in pretty good shape, it hasn't snowed in a couple of weeks.  The Post Falls side of the bike trail has not been cleared, so I had to take the back way to Atlas, and then up onto the trail.  I rode down to the bike shop, not because I needed to buy anything, but I needed a destination, and a bike shop is always a good destination.  

I first started hanging out at bike shops 25 years ago.  After a couple of years, I guess the guy at the shop finally got tired of me loitering, and gave me a job.  I spent the next 7 years in a shop.  Life changes prompted me to go back to school in the early nineties, and my days as a full time shop employee came to an end.  

When we first came to Idaho, one of the first things I did was to find a bike shop that I could hang out at.  It took awhile to find just the right one, but when I walked into Vertical Earth for the first time, I knew I was home.  I mean that in a literal way.  It is through that shop that I met my community.  I can think of very few friends that I did not meet either directly, or indirectly, through the shop.  Mark, the ex-owner of Vertical Earth, has become my closest friend.  

Mark sold the shop about seven years ago.  The shop has changed quite a bit, but it is still the shop that I go to.  And on cold January days, it is nice to have a place to ride to, hang out for awhile, talk to the mechanic about how Shimano is ruining the world, and dream about my next, next bike.

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