28 June 2009

Cycling Business Trip

Mary and I have been neck deep in Short Track, repairs, selling bikes, doing fits, and every now and again we get to ride our bikes. I think thats something that people miss when they come in and talk with us. We love bikes, we love riding, we put a lot of passion into running the shop, yet more and more, people just see us as "Sales people." Unfortunately in this market, quality gets overlooked, as well as the knowledge that is available in shops. Its not just some dullard sitting behind the counter to ring you up when you're done. We're also fighting with the customers that come in to gather the knowledge and take it elsewhere. I've lost many a sale to folks that take their fit measurements or my recommendations and shop on price. It is a frustrating endeavour at times, but there are always highs and lows with all businesses. We've had some nice highs recently; starting to move some high-end bikes, more and more bike fits, finally getting to build some more nice wheels.

So, a few weeks ago, for my birthday we set out on a ride to Madison, IN. Mary surprised me with the trip the night before we left, and the next morning we were off to a little bed and breakfast in Historic Downtown Madison. We rode through on the Indiana side to take it easy on the legs. We got rained on a little at the start (What's with this rainy June?) but the weather was good for the remainder, and we had some nice scenery along the way. Many of the sections reminded me of home, with the slightly-rolling winter wheat filled fields, small patches of woods, and narrow roads. It was a nice reminder of where I started riding, and the kind of roads that make me feel at home.

We strolled into Madison, making pretty good time, and were greeted by warmth of an old town. I don't enjoy the hustle and bustle of big cities, and it was definitely slow there. Louisville's charm wore off a long time ago, and it drives me nuts that it takes 15-20 minutes to get away from town at a minimum. Anyways, we stayed across from the Lanier Mansion which belonged to the family that bailed out the Union during the Civil War. It was quite the place, gardens, cobbled paths, the whole nine yards.

We spent our weekend off, just meandering about town, checking out the different little shops, winerys, and of course the food. We found a few of the most important things right away: coffee, gelato/ice cream and pastries for Mary. We sampled a few of the local restaurants, many of them in huge old houses, that showed the years of wear and tear that they've been through.

Back to our home for the weekend, it was a huge old house that had awesome inlaid floors, a huge living room with pool table, but was so warm and inviting that it really felt like home as soon we stepped in the door. Our bedroom was Mary's favourite colour, a nice burnt red, with a nice comfy bed, and cable(....I long for Food Network....). There was a little room off to the side with a computer to use, and nice couches and chairs to relax. Overall it was probably the best hotel/motel/B&B/buddies house I've ever stayed at. Our hosts even made fresh coffeecake and muffins every night for our contintental breakfast. Ask Mary about them, and she'll probably smile to capacity and beg for them.

So, the weekend over, we headed back to Louisville Tuesday morning. We stayed on the Indiana side again but chose a slightly different route. We slept in a little late and ended up getting crisped by the scorching sun. We made it back just in time for me to run into work to get buried in bikes to work on, and people coming in. I was fully immersed in exactly what we had left. Well, that was a vacation for a bit, and now we're back in the swing of things again.

23 June 2009

Short Track Series Finale!


Fun.  Music.  Food.  Prizes.  Raffles. Oh yeah, and Bike Racing.

Kids’ race goes off around 5:30pm.  See you all there!