All in a days work
With the explosion of online shopping over the last decade many riders have been forgetting about their local bike shop. That is until they face a mechanical they can’t solve. However these shops are a vital link to the local scene. Without them you would have to wait for the postman every time you needed a small (or big) vital part to get you rolling again… I caught up with Reg (Jake Scoynes) and mechanic Frank Williams to get an insight into the everyday life of a bicycle shop employee.
Welcome to the first industry insight interview for getabmx! How’s it going been busy in the shop lately?
Reg: It’s all good man, shops been steady and flowing at the moment. You get busy days, you get dead days.
Frank: Ignore Reg he doesn’t know anything! I have been flat out in the workshop! No quiet days out there!
So starting at the beginning, how did you get involved with Sidwell Cycles?
Reg: Errrr, I did work experience here and asked for a job afterwards, started as a Saturday boy who had the piss ripped out him all the time, and now I’m looking after the shop, its all good.
Frank: Well I was working up at Haldon forest… I was getting fed up with my job so I called Ben (who I had worked with like 9 years ago) and he gave me a job?!
What are the best aspects of the job?
Reg: Best aspects are the guys who you work with, although they’re w**kers you always have a laugh. Also customers most of the time can be alright to talk to.
Frank: If I was a cyclist I guess I could get cheap bike bits...as a golfer there aren’t many!
And the worst?
Reg: The shop is freezing when it’s winter and boiling in the summer, I don’t see many bad top points to working in a bike shop.
Frank: Being a golfer in a bike shop!
How have online mail order sites affected Sidwell as a business?
Reg: To be fair, they don't affect us too much. A lot of kids go on there and we don’t generally have the custom of kids. We are a cool commuting bike shop really. One of the more down to earth ones anyway. But if someone comes in and says "err well online its this much!" We'll either tell em to do one or we'll match the price.
Who has been your most annoying customer and why?
Reg: You Milan, you! Always wanting stuff! Haha, nah a customer that never listens to what you have to say is the worst when we are the people that are there to help, Guru’s I like to call ourselves! J
Frank: Paul Weston....Nuff said!
What mechanical jobs do you dread the most?
Reg: Your headset!
Frank: Your forks!
Have you ever fixed a bike that you wished you could keep?
Reg: Errrr no! They’re all pretty shite to be fair! Only one that came close was a Giant Defy that was MINT!
Frank: Yeah...Funnily enough though it already belonged to me!
And to the contrary any you wanted to put in a dump?
Reg: Pretty much anything that says Apollo, Richmond or Carrera
Frank: nearly every other bike I fix!
Do you have any memorable shop experiences?
Reg: Yeah when the man collapsed next to the clothes and we though was dead. that was hilarious!
Frank: Trade show road trips are always good! Especially when Jim throws up and we spun a hire car!
In your view what is the worst, and best, bike part ever invented?
Reg: Worst has to be the 3 speed fixed hub and the best is sealed bearings in things.
Frank: Crud Claws=shit! Crud catchers = great!
What has been your most unusual mechanical or customer experience?
Reg; When a man asked for a new old bike. What the hell!
Frank: Making you a set of boxers to take to the Alps about an hour before you left!
What would you say to a kid who says he wants to work in a bike shop?
Reg: Have fun!?
Have you supported the local riding scene, and if so how?
Reg: As a shop, us guys have got lads like you and bandstand Dave t-shirts with our name on it, and for riding with them, you get discount, so in that way we support local shredders. We also go to a lot of events throughout the year organised by Cycle Exeter. They are a big part of our events. We do a lot of Dr bikes as well, which we do at a number of work places.
What changes do you think will happen to mountain bikes and BMX bikes over the next ten years?
Reg: I reckon robots will be riding them soon. We won’t get a say. Also a front wheel drive one! Imagine how cool that would be!
Frank: Belt drive, loads more E-Bikes, death of single speed!
Paul Foster. Do you wish you had tried harder at school?
Reg: Not really, schools shit, I’m exactly where I want to be at the minute!
Frank: Yup then I could get a proper job!
Jake Lawry (slightly adapted): What bike(s) do you own?
Reg: Genisis Altitude 10 (currently in bits), Raleigh Dynatec (its awesome), Mankind Archangel Custom BMX
Frank: D/H specced Cube Fritzz, Single Speed Gary Fisher HKEK, Kona Honky Tonk!