Today a friend asked if I write anymore, to which I responded "no...I just haven't had time". With that statement, I made the cardinal mistake I hear from so many people that ride: I made an excuse. "I haven't had time" "Things are tight at home" "Work is killing me". But the truth of the matter is that writing (like riding-ha! get it?!) was always something I loved to do. A release, an expression, a sense of joy and sometimes hate. And I needed to get back to it. So...here goes.
The shop has been open over a year now-the most wild roller coaster ride of a year I think I have ever been on. At times ecstatically proud and happy and on the flip side scared about money and business and if I had made the right decision. I think that this must be normal in the life of a small business. Its feast or famine and fear in-between. But has it been the best year of my life? YES. I am constantly proud of the women I have put on bikes and pushed to limits they did not think they could break through. Telling women that they COULD climb, that they weren't too old, or too fat or all of those other negative things we let stand in their way. When I opened the shop-THAT was what I set out to do. To show women that they did have a place in this sport, just like someone had convinced me of once too. To pay it forward in some way. We have a team of 43 women that ride (not all of them every week-but they know we are here for them! They are still part of a team) and my hope is that I have made them all feel as though they belong. We are the Unlikely Cyclists, the island of misfit toys, but we mesh and when we do great things happen.
That is the proudest thing for me. But what about the business? Yes-tis true! Without the shop there would be no team and no place to hang out in. I am happy to say that after a year in business, I am just about where I had hoped to and expected to be. I have a girl mechanic I love and because of this shop two formerly unemployed people have a job. I think thats a good thing. Isn't that what small business is all about? I have been so fortunate to have sales reps to help and guide me along the way. Credit departments that helped out when funds were in short supply. Most importantly I had the love and support of great friends, my family and (without whom the shop wouldn't be possible) my non-cycling husband. He's been my unpaid employee, my handyman, and our team SAG vehicle. He doesn't "get the whole cycling thing" but its important to me so it's important to him.
So it's just a quick update-and I promise I will write more often about things that may or may not interest you (chamois cream preferences?). Just an extra thank you to the ladies that support the shop. I know that your LBS is not always the cheapest option out there, but please, PLEASE, support the shop that supports you. If you go on the group rides, buy your tires there. If they adjust your derailleur for free, buy a jersey sometime. We really do love what we do, and want to keep doing it.
(a side note without being too gushy is an extra thank you to my friend Shawn. I met her before I even opened this shop and from day one she has been out there promoting the shop and giving up her time to lead our group rides. I never say it enough-and you are a big part of this shop's success- so thank you for all you do)