In Defense Of The Insane
I'm gonna take advantage of this digital soapbox for a few minutes and tell you something you probably know already: It doesn't take a slideshow to figure out that bike shop employees don't usually make very much money. Shop folk work long hours, full weeks through much of the year, even holidays (especially holidays) in a service field. It's hard to stand all day and help complete strangers, some of whom can be quite demanding.
I grew up in a bike shop. My parents spent all their time and money pedelling bikes (snort!). I've worked in plenty of shops myself and I've spent the bulk of my adultivity in other portions of the bike business, and guess what? This part of the industry is populated largely by former bike shop refugees. It's not like they're getting rich on this side of things either, but at least when you work for a company like Surly you get benefits and don't have to work most weekends. A lot of shop employees don't get good, or sometimes any, health insurance. Lots of bike shop employees have two jobs in order to make ends meet. I probably don't need to tell most of you, but for the few knuckleheads that need it spelled out: Appreciate your local shop. Don't bitch at them too much. Don't harangue them for free stuff. Bring them the occassional beer or coffee or whatever for a job well done, because if there is any sort of cycling community in your part of the world your shop is a part of that. Shops educate and provide a place to connect with other cyclists. They help build trails. They lobby city concils for bike lanes, traffic laws, and places to ride. Bike shop people are so insanely dedicated to bikes and getting more people on them that they are willing to commit themselves to it mind, body, and soul, and you benefit. The lesson here is that even if they're crazy, they're a good kind of crazy. Support them. Spend money at their stores. Attend their events. Understand? O.K. then.