So … Saturday, March 2nd, is our biggest Rally day and now … it’s bigger! One of our neighbors at the Business Park is Wild Birds Unlimited, run by owner, Donna Berry. It is just a lovely shop with a whole variety of Nature-focused items as well as, specifically, bird seed and all things birdie.
If you want to start your Saturday with a Bird Walk before all those pesky recumbents take over the nearby trails beginning about 9:00 a.m., join her and others at 8:00 a.m. for a chance to see and have identified for you the local bird population. When asked which birds you might get to see, she mentioned cardinals, chickadees, woodpeckers, and a Yellow-Crowned Night Heron has been sighted in the neighborhood. Meet the group at the Wild Birds Unlimited shop, around the corner from Easy Street and next to another exciting store you might want to visit which is all about fish and aquariums.
If we are lucky, Donna be contributing a raffle prize or coupons … we have our fingers crossed.
Having gone to so much work to design this stuff, I think I’ll take a moment to show you the fabulous items that will dispensed to those lucky recumbent riders with enough taste and discernment to come to my big tricycle party.
- Rally-themed Purple Sky Flag. Our first custom flag designed with help from the multi-talented Raina at TerraCycle:This lovely number features our HOT logo cowboy mingled deftly with our ESR logo wheel, spangled with reflective stars and of course a Texas icon, just to get everyone’s ego inflated. Safety with style!
- Rally t-shirt. Everyone needs another t-shirt, right? This one will be a silver-gray District brand t-shirt, which we brought in a sample of to make sure it was of good quality. I, for one, do not do cheap in this regard. The front features our new chicken roping graphics which I personally find cute and maybe someone else does too:
The back of the shirt will be where all our groovy sponsors will have their logos crammed. We’ll also have those badass Shootout trikes. I may be the only one here who remembers the 2010 Rally shirts, which I borrowed on for that Shootout image:
Not like anyone can see the back of your shirt when you are riding your recumbents
- Goodie bag. We mainly used the shirt images for the bag, but since Catrike sponsored the bag we gave them an extra bonus impression:
Pretty cool, huh? Of course the schwag is just a bonus. People mostly come for the Easy-ritos and the guy in the chicken suit.
… then if you are reading this you are probably mature enough to race in either the Dallas or College Station Senior Games.
The reason I bring this up is because Bacchetta Bikes has gotten a wild hair to support athletes racing Bacchettas in the Senior Games. Currently, only the Dallas games (cycling event in mid-March) and College Station games (late February) allow recumbents, being less benighted than their state- and national-level comrades. Do you own a Bacchetta? Willing to break a little sweat on one? Here is the deal:
If you compete in a Texas senior games event this spring (2019), then Bacchetta and Easy Street will make it worth your while. Download and complete the form below and submit it to Bacchetta with proof that you competed. One of two things will happen:
- If you plan to race on your current bike or trike, then Bacchetta Bikes will give you 10% off the purchase of a new Bacchetta from Easy Street (including the new Pelso). And, upon purchase of a new Bacchetta, Easy Street will give you a shop credit equal to 10% of the value of your new bike for upgrades, accessories, spare parts, and service after the sale.
- If you buy a new Bacchetta from Easy Street to use at the games this spring, once you have raced then Bacchetta will send you a 10% refund on the bike. Easy Street will offer a 10% credit.
But you have to race this spring. If you have any questions about this, call me, Mike, at 512-453-0438.
Click here for information about the Dallas Games
Click here for information about the College Station Games
Click here to download the rebate form
Click here to ask Mike a question
So, this just in … Gary Solomon and crew from the Laidback Bike Report are going to be at the HOT and we are EXCITED! The Laidback Bike Report puts together a monthly program followed by many in the recumbent community. As they describe it, “a monthly live video webcast of recumbent interviews and news.” Well, they are going to have more material than they know what to do with when they join us in March! We are looking forward to having them be a part of the fun. And, if you are there and asked for an interview, just say “yes!” If you’d like, take a look at the announcement they made in Facebook on December 20 about their plans to attend. Are we going to see YOU there too? I hope so!
Best wishes of the season to you,
Rebecca, your Easy Street Minister of Culture
It has been a while since I had a chance to talk over some new products in the shop. This may be old news to some. Sorry if some of this is “long attention span theater.” Just read until you are bored.
TerraTrike EVO-Bosch: Last year, TerraTrike introduced their first version of the Rambler EVO, a trike with a factory-installed electric conversion kit. Despite a few rapid price hikes during its first months of availability, it remained a good deal on an electric trike. I had some disappointments with the design. Though TT created an elegant mounting system for the battery, we still didn’t have a frame that was really built from the ground up, ready to mount a battery like you see on more finished upright e-bikes. No biggie. I was concerned about the Falco motor they spec’d since, as a former Falco dealer, I’d had a few problems with these systems. TerraTrike used simplified, pre-programmed control software intended to avoid all the fussy fidgeting with motor parameters that ate up a lot of my time. OK, we’ll see. Once we started getting EVO’s out on the street, we had some complaints from big people with steep hills that the motor didn’t have the torque to get them up their worst climbs. Hmmph.
Lately, my greatest fears were realized and TT got reports of motor systems doing some unpredictable things. This was my experience from my days selling Falco kits. TT asked us to stop selling the EVO, leaving both them and us with expensive, but unsellable inventory sitting on hand.
But, good news… the revised EVO has arrived with a Bosch motor system. Like the Shimano STEPS system we’re seeing on ICE and AZUB trikes, this system replaces the crankset, not the rear wheel. This means you lose your front derailer, but with an electric assist your low gears are much less important. It gives greater low-speed torque, so for the critical business of getting you up the worst hills, it is better suited. Since it doesn’t affect your rear wheel, you have a greater number of choices in transmission. The new EVO-Bosch comes with a plain old 8-speed derailer, but we’re working on them to pair the Bosch motor with a NuVinci continuously-variable transmission which has proven to be such an effective combination with the STEPS systems we’ve sold on AZUB trikes.
Once again the price went up, since the Bosch system costs more than Falco, but you get what you pay for. We’re expecting a retrofit kit for the lower-priced Falco system so we can clear out our remaining inventory of that model, and I expect we will focus on the Bosch-equipped EVO’s. More about that as we start playing with the new systems. I wish TT had used STEPS since we know it better, but here comes another learning experience for us.
Bionx crumbles: I tried to stay optimistic about a revival of Bionx, our Canadian e-motor supplier, but I’ve lost heart. We’ve liquidated our remaining inventory, mainly to existing Bionx customers to get them reserve parts. Much like when BikeE went under 18 years ago, I’m reluctant to create new dependent customers, even at a discount. I want to support what I sell.
The big question is “what next?” We need a reliable e-motor conversion system.
- I don’t see myself picking up Falco again. See my article on the EVO above. Hub motors offer great versatility, but I’m not looking to go down that path again.
- With “mid-drive” motors like STEPS and Bosch delivering better climbing torque, and with bike component design catching up with this new innovation, I’m ready to embrace mid-drive motors. I was strongly resistant to earlier systems for recumbents that actually had the motor at “mid drive,” halfway back on the frame. I didn’t like seeing the motor, with all its torque and force, bolted haphazardly onto the frame of the trike in some place that the frame maker never intended for torque to be placed. Mounting the motor at the crankset makes sense. STEPS would be my choice, but like Bosch, it requires the frame to be built specially for the purpose of holding the motor. “No problem,” I think, since on most trikes nowadays that just means a re-designed boom, not a whole new frame. Unfortunately, the trike makers aren’t helping. AZUB will sell us STEPS booms, so no problem. ICE only wants to sell STEPS booms with new trikes and won’t let us do a retrofit. TerraTrike has thrown in their lot with Bosch. Hopefully I’ll be able to get Bosch TT booms for retrofits on newer TT models (no dice for Rover or older Tour models). Catrike has been keeping a low profile. They doubtless have something planned, but so far, they are no help.
- There is a whole zoo of retrofit mid-drive kits, which is the most likely replacement. Bafang is the one most people are familiar with. These replace the crankset on any trike without needing special frame fittings. Currently, no company selling these is set up like Bionx was – which was to specifically support dealers like me. I can do like many online dealers do and track down someone in China and have them ship me a pallet-load of them, but that isn’t what I’m looking for. We’ve talked with some Bafang retailers about giving us a small discount and selling the kit for a competitive price, charging for installation (we never needed to do this with Bionx which sold at a more respectable margin). There are many other companies making similar things, but they are all sold direct to the consumer online. Several customers are waiting for me to decide on something, but I remain the same plodder I’ve been since 1996.
When I finally make up my mind, I’ll let you all know. But if I am going to sell a product, then I’m damn well going to support it. I’ve been fiddling with and using e-assist for nearly 20 years now, and I know about the range of quality and the problems which can arise. I’m not going to put my stamp on something without demonstrated quality and manufacturer support. More on this as it develops.
TerraTrike Gran Tourismo: TerraTrike’s new flagship trike is establishing itself as a popular model, as it should. It isn’t their most expensive offering, which suits me fine. TT has always been, in my mind, the trike for the masses and it is good of them to put their focus at a lower price point in their range. And best of all, the way the GT comes shipped makes it easy for us to offer a range of colors and spec level without having to special order. We can get you the GT you want quickly.
I’ve not much else to add about that. It is a good trike at a good price. You have to ride it to see if it is really for you, but offering that service is why we’re here.
Lightning Phantom: One of my favorite 2-wheelers has received an upgrade. The Phantom now comes with hydraulic disk brakes standard, as well as better tires. Yes, the price went up, but that’s how it always goes. On the flip side, I’ve still got some older model Phantoms and I can cut a deal. Talk with me directly if you are interested.
Adventure HD with STEPS: We’ve sold a few STEPS systems, but finally got a demonstrator model on the floor. This means we also have the scaled-up Adventure “HD” model permanently in the showroom as well. As an ICE demonstrator, we’ll be able to rent this out for people considering a purchase who want to see if it will carry them up that godawful hill in their neighborhood. I haven’t gone through and priced that yet, but as usual rentals would be 5% of retail for a 24-hour overnight rental, or 2.5% for an afternoon “get it back today” rental. ICE has gone insanely cushy on the Adventure seat. This company does nothing by half-measures.
More Electronic Gizmos: Mike Librik (me, that is) is this low-tech guy who just wants to see your bicycle run forever. He is not into sophisticated electronic gizmos, even though many of his customers are. So I hire people like Ron and Micah who are more gee-whiz than I am.
So it is with a sort of reserved professional enthusiasm that I tell you that new Cateye Sync lights can be synchronized and controlled through a smart phone app, or through each other. You can also monitor battery levels in the lights through the app. I’ll have to go get one of those smart phones some day. I’m still getting over buying the laptop computer. Never mind that SkyNet, or the Cylons, or the HAL 9000, can now turn off your bike lights from some satellite somewhere when you are trying to cross a busy intersection in the rain at 2AM during the lush rush. I’d better just let you call Micah and ask him about this.
Speaking of gee-whiz electronic gizmos, the Cycliq cameras (“cyclic?” “cycle IQ?”) have either a headlight (the Fly12) or taillight model (the Fly6), and they store the last few minutes of riding footage. Why do this? While we’d like to assure you that motorists and cyclists always co-exist in mature harmony, this isn’t always the case. If you are harassed on the road, you will wish you had some evidence, and now you do. Indeed, if you are hit by an irresponsible driver who then flees the scene, you really need evidence. Cycliq cameras also have a security alarm that will complain if the bike is moved with the alarm active, and it will “bluetooth” connect to your phone to alert you, if you are in range.
Well … I surprised myself. Didn’t know I had that much to say about the newest gizmos, but there ya go.
The newest event at Easy Street’s Heart of Texas Recumbent Rally is the Texas Trike Shootout. I expect this event to be exclusive to the 2019 rally.
Back in the 1990’s when ESR got started, the #1 recumbent news source was Recumbent Cyclist News, and editor Bob Bryant did reviews of any ‘bent he could get his hands on. When Bryant managed to get two closely-competing bike or trike designs in his stable at once, he’d do a dual, comparative review called a “shootout.” I’m borrowing that term here.
Earlier in 2018, Bacchetta Bikes made a splash at Recumbent Cycle Con by introducing the Bacchetta CT2.0 carbon racing trike. The CT 2.0 took an existing European design and enhanced it with innovations used by Bacchetta, known mainly for making fast recumbent two-wheelers. Prior to this, there were only two “fast trikes” that one could buy “off the rack,” so to speak: The Catrike 700 and the ICE VTX.
I will not knock the 700’s speed, but it keeps a lot of sport-touring ideas, like the mesh seat and rear disk drag brake, and a plethora of standard accessories for comfort. It was not a full-blown “win at any price” trike like the VTX, with its carbon shell seat, titanium axles, and meticulously analyzed and hydroformed frame geometry.
The VTX is the one to beat. Can the CT 2.0 do it?
Well, let’s find out! At the 2019 rally, Bacchetta and ICE pit crews will be attending with their trikes. Here is how it will work.
- A select group of rally attendees, probably 10-15 people, will each race both models. (See below for how we’ll decide who races.) These races will be competitive with both trikes on the course at one time.
- We’ll lay out an out-and-back course, making a steady climb to a turn-around, so climbing speed is a factor. The trikes will circle a pole before returning, so turning radius and turning stability is a factor. Then the trikes descend to the finish, so top speed is a factor.
- We will measure all the individual times for each trike. We will also count total wins. The trike with the lowest overall time across all riders wins. The trike with the most individual victories wins. Most likely these measurements point to the same winner, but I’d be curious to see why if they don’t.
- We will see how an individual’s times compare on each trike, and the companies can look into why different people’s times vary.
- We intend for a variety of people to race, not just the biggest, fastest people. Sure, someone signed up for the Warriors’ ride will ride faster than someone signed up for the Scenic ride, but we’d like men, women, short, tall, big, small, old, young… a wide variety of people to race these. All this is to help both companies make a better racing trike. And we’re doing it to have fun!
- The course will be laid out to give a competitive spectacle but also to be safe. We don’t want anyone dying for the cause, here.
- We’ll aim to give lots of people a crack at this, but we will limit the number of racers just because we figure people will only want to watch two trikes race each other for so long. We will do some time trials on Friday to determine who will race, along with our own selection criteria. So, let us know id you want to do it (email works, use firstname.lastname@example.org), get there on the early side, and make sure you are on the list when you arrive.
- Whether you race or not, you’ll be able to ride both trikes. Experts will be on hand to help you get off that low seat! We’ve got all weekend and lots of opportunities to ride.
- The CT 2.0 will not be available for sale until summer of 2019. Come ride it and race it in the spring! If you are on the fence about ordering this trike, this will give you a better chance to check it out than you might have had at Recumbent Cycle Con in Nashville. The 2019 VTX will be available in January of 2019, and will be on display in Austin from that time
- If you want to race then contact email@example.com and let me know, but it isn’t essential that you do. Please get to the rally as soon as you can so we can put you in the time trials. Just because you aren’t the fastest rider doesn’t mean you shouldn’t race. Leggy Lance bike racer types are welcome, but so is fat old granny. We want a diverse range of riders, and since each rider’s times count toward both trikes, we’ll still be doing a balanced assessment of the trikes even if Lance vs. granny isn’t a balanced race.
That’s it. Since I don’t foresee a product release like this every year, expect this laid-back showdown only at the 2019 HOT Rally in Keller.
For information specific to AZUB’s 2-wheelers, look here.
Like many high-end recumbent makers, AZUB typically builds your trike to order and gives you lots of choices. This is a good thing so long as you know what you want and don’t find all these decisions intimidating. We’ll lay our your major choices specifying the parts on your AZUB. You don’t have to read all this, we can just listen to your wants, needs, and budget and work up the spec for you.
The basic distinctions
AZUB essentially offers three different trikes, distinguished by what level of suspension you want. The T-Tris is unsuspended (no shock absorption), the TriCon is rear suspended (suspension on the rear wheel only), and the Ti-Fly is fully suspended.
There are two other trikes. The Ti-Fly X is a Ti-Fly reconfigured in front to work with larger front wheels, specifically for rugged off-road use. The FAT is a T-Tris redesigned in the rear end and in the front hubs to accommodate extra-wide tires for sand, snow, mud, or other challenges.
The feel of all these trikes are similar in the seat choices and the handling. The rear suspended TriCon and Ti-Fly are more stretched out and not as nimble as the T-Tris, and they weigh more. If you are looking at an electric assist then suspension is likely more worth it, since you’ll be heavier and moving faster, meaning bumps will clatter you around more.
You have your choice in seat height in any of these models. They all come stock with a low seat, but if you want a more casual trike that is easy to get in and out of, you can specify a high seat adapter on any of the trikes.
You also get your choice in rear wheel diameter on all three. A 20 inch wheel is more compact, more nimble, and more foldable. It gives a lower range of gears and is naturally stronger than a larger wheel, especially under hard turning. a 26″ wheel gears higher using most transmission systems. Our rule of thumb is if you are the sort of rider who likes to pedal when going downhill, to see what kind of top speed you can hit, then you’ll want a 26″ rear wheel. A larger rear wheel is also smoother riding, but this only applies to the unsuspended T-Tris. If you want a fast AZUB trike when you probably want a 26″ T-Tris without the high seat adapter. However, AZUB does not optimize for speed. Their designs focus on ruggedness for touring.
All the trike frames will split apart for transport. You can make any into a folding trike by adding in the folding hinge and a few other parts specifically to make the trike easier to disassemble. This is best done at the time of purchase, but any non-folding AZUB trike can be made to fold by getting these parts.
These are your “gears.” The primary questions about transmission are:
- How wide a range of gears do you want? That is, do you want to have both really low gears for climbing and really high gears for speed? A more narrow range of gears can get you one or the other, or something in between.
- Do you want the convenience of internal gearing? Internally gearing lets you shift when stopped and is easier to maintain. All the complicated bits are inside, making them much rugged. However, they cost more than traditional derailer gearing. They usually have a more limited range of gears unless you get really spendy.
Let’s look at our choices as of late 2018.
- 3×9 derailer gearing. This is the typical shifting system you see on most bikes. “Derailers” (often called “derailleurs” if you do Euro-speak) move the chain between different sprockets. It is the least expensive form of transmission and can be set to have a wide range of gears. AZUB offers derailer gearing with either trigger shifters or bar end shifters. We can show you the difference in these shifters when you come by. Bar end shifters cost a little more. In terms of gearing range, a 3×9 speed system gets you about a 525% range, meaning your highest gear is 5.25 times “bigger” than your lowest gear. With a few simple mods we can get this range as high as 670%.
- NuVinci N380 hub. This internally geared hub is continuously variable. There is not a finite number of “speeds.” It has a 380% range and you can dial any ratio in that range. There are no jumps between gears and you never lose torque when shifting. It costs more than derailers and doesn’t have the range, but it is very popular with casual cyclists who don’t plan to attack big hills and like user-friendly feel of a continuously variable transmission. It is difficult to convey the appeal of this, especially when one is used to using gears on a bike. But if you are “gear-phobic” and don’t want to shift gears then you should check out this system. You can widen this gearing range by adding a front derailer, with some restrictions. (Unofficially, we think AZUB offers this option because their sales staff visited us at the 2017 HOT Rally and saw this mounted on Micah’s AZUB Origami.)
- Rohloff Speedhub. There are a lot of internally geared hubs out there, but queen of them all is the Rohloff Speedhub. Not ones for half-measures, this is the only other stock IG hub option that AZUB offers. This 14-speed hub has a 526% gearing range, similar to a derailer system. This is a durable, heavy duty IG hub intended for long-distance touring use.
- Pinion 12- and 18- speed system. The Pinion Drive is an internally geared crankset, meaning the mechanism is all up front, under your pedals. The 12-speed drive has a 600% range and the 18-speed drive has a 636% range, with much finer graduations between gears.
- Drum brakes. These are great brakes for trikes. They are weather sealed and very simple to maintain. They have a soft feel to their stop. This is good on a trike because you two front brakes doing all your stopping, so if a stop is too abrupt then you can lift your rear wheel. We especially recommend the larger, 90mm drum over the standard 70mm drum. It gives better stopping power but still keeps the “soft” feel.
- Mechanical disk brakes. By far the most common trike brake option. Mechanical disk brakes like the excellent Avid BB-7 brake are powerful, user-serviceable, and so common that any mechanic will know their way around them. If you often need to remove your front wheels for transport they are the best choice.
- Hydraulic disk brakes. These are most powered, best modulated (controls of braking power) and lightest brakes you can buy. They require very little service, but if they do need service they require special tools and procedures.
Naturally, they don’t stop there
- Dynamo hubs are an option that let you run your lights and electronics off of pedal power. No more finding a plug to recharge. A great choice for the self-contained outback triker
- AZUB offers many color choices as standard options, or for an extra fee they will paint it however you like. They will even paint different parts (frame, boom, seat, rack, swingarm, etc.) different colors. Nobody else offers this option.
- Three different seat sizes are available, depending on your torso length.
- Tires, pedals, and other parts and accessories can all be specified as you want.
As we said before, the best thing is to tell us what is important to you. Tell us how you see yourself riding. We will work with you to finish out your AZUB trike.
Time for a long-overdue update on progress at the new shop.
I’ve long held that one cannot gain wisdom without feeling like an idiot, and I’m feeling a lot wiser now. I think it is a good thing to have one’s contractor handle the city building permits since they are the one responsible for doing the work, but what I’ve learned is that as client I should take the trouble to follow up with the city and verify that the permits they pulled are the ones they said they’d pull. Had I done this I wouldn’t be sitting here idle for three weeks. With a partitioning wall, door reconstruction, rearrangements to the overhead lighting, and some plumbing repairs to do, this fellow went and pulled a permit for paint and carpet work. A city inspector came by and pointed the problem out to the crew who was there, but the guy in charge did nothing, despite my protests, and they came back and shut down work.
After a lot of prodding I did get this fellow back into the city where we learned we needed an asbestos report done for our carpentry permit, which got done. And to his credit, my contractor did complete all the permit applications, despite now being charged double for them due to the stop work order. He didn’t just wash his hands of his little debacle and leave me scrambling to find a replacement. I can’t say I’d hire this yoyo again, though.
One bit of progress is that despite the stop work order on doofis, the sign company was able to come and install the big sign in front. So that warmed my cockles a bit. Also, our work bench is complete and just waiting for the stop work order to be lifted, probably Monday or Tuesday, so I can get the tools set out. The same carpenter (a former recumbent shop owner in the DFW area) is finishing up our counter. Getting computers, tools, and inventory on shelves set out is ready to go, but I’m waiting for the contractor to finish some drywall work. Once that dust settles there are lots of things ready to go.
Hopefully we’ll manage a soft opening by the end of June. I’ve learned to moderate my expectations, however.
Work on the trail progresses in a schizophrenic manner. The concrete contractor got an early start, but the city of Keller asked him to stop since they hadn’t actually issued him a purchase order for the work. They got that out, and now the work seems to be set back several weeks. I’ll see what I can do to move that along, but that depends on everyone’s schedules.
I was really glad several months ago when I put the matter of finding the location behind me so I could set to work setting things up. Now I’m really looking forward to putting this phase behind me. Me feel wiser every day!
A view in the back door, which we contrarily plan to make into the main showroom entrance.
So this is a little embarrassing. My plan is to make this blog the #1 place for Easy Street info, but one of the most significant recent events got posted on Facebook but not here! So, for the record, we’ve signed a lease on a new shop in Keller at 2041 Rufe Snow Dr. #101. That is old news to most of you, so I’ll move on.
Micah has cleaned out his Austin apartment and handed in his keys, so he is now based in the Fort Worth area. The shop has a phone number, 817-846-8903, and an email addy. This is all diligently recorded on our Directions page and our Contact page. But then you probably knew that too.
Behind the scenes, power is on in the premises and the contractor has a key. Work should begin inside later this week. We’ve got a storage unit nearby and have started transferring inventory and supplies. Once a little floor work is done I’ll be able to begin storing things inside.
The Red Carpet trail, as cleared out by the Keller Parks Dept.
The surveyor finally got their report to my civil engineer, and once I have his report next week I can move forward with our trail. Since any bit of trail needs a name I’m going to call it “The Red Carpet” trail, as a nod to my idea of good service. I figure that should sit well with the management of this shopping center too, as well as the city of Keller.
More to come. I figure once the floor is done, the electrical inspection is passed and we have a cash register and work bench in there we’ll be able to do business, if only by appointment. If you have a need, feel free to contact Micah, as he plans to hit the ground running.
Now that all the excitement over the new shop announcement in Keller is passed (with the grand opening celebrations looming ahead), it is time to get down to some unpleasant facts.
Easy Street staff is about to get stretched very thin. I’ve got four people working this operation, including myself if you count all my executive navel-gazing as work, and now we’re going to try to run two shops at a 200-mile distance. Yes, you can expect to see new staff come on at both shops, but not immediately. Most of you are familiar with the term “growing pains” as they apply to business. At least in the short run, if not the medium, our ability to tend to your needs will diminish. Here’s the dope:
- Showroom hours will shrink. As of April, the Austin showroom will be open Thursday through Sunday, now closed Monday in addition to Tuesday and Wednesday. We will need extra time to catch up jobs, orders, receiving, and all the other back-office stuff. I’m sure they will all be driving up from Corpus Christi on Monday to stand dejectedly with their noses to the door glass, wishing they’d troubled to look at the new store hours.
- Similarly, the Keller shop will be open from Wednesday to Saturday, closed Sunday through Tuesday. Micah will be on his own up there, with support from me when I can, but I’ve got a shop to run down here. Micah’s impression of the Dallas market is that it’s lucrative, but demanding and wants it done now. Well, too bad.
- On the events front, expect less of them for the time being. We’re going to hunker down to the bread and butter business of stocking the showroom, informing our customers, and getting their repair jobs done. Rebecca will have two shops’ books to keep, and will increasingly cover inventory management. We won’t stop doing events, and we will be throwing a grand opening for the Keller shop, but we will stop doing the more ambitious ones… for the moment. Having said that:
- The Spring Glamping trip is cancelled. I should have seen that coming sooner, but looking at things realistically I can’t pull both Rebecca and I out of the shop during our busiest time of week in one of our busiest months. I expect to return to Glamping in the fall when business is starting to slow down and we can catch our breath a little. Anyway, no one had actually signed up for it yet.
- With Micah off working his magic in Keller, I won’t be able to trot him out to consult on hi-tech gizmos any more. Yes, I’ll learn about some of this stuff, but the past few years of having him around has made it very easy for me to push stuff off on him that now I’ll have to come up to speed on. I was painfully aware of this a couple of days ago when he was fussing over a customer with an electronically shifted Catrike he’d built up with a power meter crankset. There is all this bike stuff now that talks to your smart phone. I guess I’ll be getting myself a smart phone. You may know me as a mechanical problem solver, but I’ve never been into the “hot new things” like Micah has. I’ve got some catching up to do, and here comes STEPS And Di2 and all that.
- Similarly, Micah has been able to pull on my supply of doo-hickies, thingamabobs, and other little problem solvers that have accumulated around this shop since the 90’s.
- Lastly, and most painful for me, is that our ability to do fast turnaround service drops considerably. I know some of you have to come a long way for your repair work, and I’d like to be able to drop everything and knock out your job. I may even be able to, but I can’t promise it and a part of me unwisely wishes to promise it. I mean I should be able to tune up this 1980’s vintage Inifinity in 100 minutes, and maybe I could if these yo-yos didn’t keep parading into the showroom. And Laurie needs off when? There is gonna be some unhappy people, and I’ll get to meet all of them.
This condition won’t last forever. There will be new staff. There may even be more people of Micah and Laurie’s caliber, but these are hard to shake out. Even so, new hires will first be doing build work which keeps the showroom stocked but doesn’t help us react to someone’s immediate needs. The vast variety of designs and systems on recumbents means that training people even to do check-overs isn’t trivial. Indeed, to me the simple “check over” is intended as assurance to you that no problems will spring up soon, and that takes a depth of understanding that most people don’t come in off of the street with.
Is everyone happy yet? Thanks for letting me get this off my chest. It has been bothering me now for a few months. The need to cancel the Glamping trip made this announcement more urgent, so there it is.