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.