If you haven't done so already, check out my man Chris in Tally's new blog. He's a swimmer, but I threw him in the cyclists category on the sidebar because I'm to lazy to make him his own category. Check out his story about Boustrophedon Man.
Since Chris has asserted that swimming pools are the greatest attractor of "nutjobs" in the world, I feel compelled to defend the honor of bike shops across the land by asserting our primacy as a magnet for the not-quite-right. Be it the 6 1/2 ft tall, African-American drag queens that would come to the bike shop in Fayetteville and ask for me by name to our own growing little circle of "bless their hearts" that seem to be steadily flowing to us here in Lenoir, bike shops can really serve as a great vantage for observing the human race. One thing that they all seem to have in common (with few exceptions) is that they all ride old, internally geared 3 speeds. I've never quite figured it out as to why, but have merely documented the trend.
Clare was our customer in Fayetteville. Clare was in her mid 40's, overweight and developmentally delayed. Her family owned the newspaper, so we never worried about being paid for working on her bike, we just did it and they would take care of it later. Clare had a yellow, Schwinn 3 speed with front and rear baskets, two american flags and a license plate that said "Jesus Loves You". She usually came in with flat tires or needed the gearing adjusted, but no matter what the repair, Clare would stand beside you in the mechanic's area and ask you repeatedly in a very sweet, yet firm voice, "Are you sure you know what you're doing?"
You would see Clare out riding all over town, usually downtown and in the historic Hamount area of Fayetteville. This included the infamous Hamont hill, a climb not unlike our own Grandin Rd. climb in nature. This was where our tuesday/thursday group ride would finish with a nice little sprint to the top. I used to go so hard up it that I would literally see spots at the top. One day, I'm driving up Hamont hill and I see Clare standing on the pedals crushing her poor 3 speed up Hamont hill at an astonishing clip. Though a tad overweight, Clare was in pretty good shape and set a pace up the climb that was pretty remarkable. Just goes to show, equipment ain't everything...