Tuesday, August 7, 2007


The bike shop has aways represented a club house of sorts. A refuge for those whose souls are fired by the bicycle. The view of the bicycle shop from an employee standpoint represents a hard life, one where the hours are long, and the dollars short, but one where the personal rewards are endless. I remember an employee from the 80s-90s named Duncan. Duncan was the perfect example of the bike shop employee and loved the bicycle for its simplicity and humility. The bicycle was a machine free of complexity and bureaucracy. A machine which operated on pennies a day and paid physical dividends to its rider. Duncan always wore jeans and they were stained with grease and dirt from years of commuting and service. Duncan was a photographer whose favorite subject was the bicycle. Not races, not PROs, just the bike and its mechanical workings. Duncan sported a thinker's mustache, not a creepy porn star stache, but an honest thinking man's stache. Something he could go to when in deep thought. Duncan's style was as functional and modest as he was, right down to wearing his belt buckle on the side of his hip as opposed to dead center. The idea was to keep the large brass buckle from digging into his abdomen while in a seated riding position. Duncan's simplicity was echoed in his dedication to the generator light, long past its useful home in the commuter's tool box.

Duncan was a whole wheat bread kind of guy long before whole wheat came into vogue. Simple, hardworking, creative, and passionate about the bicycle. Duncan represented the cyclist of the 80s. Whether you were were shopping for a new bike, dropping off a repair or trying to source obscure French replacement parts, you were lucky to stumble into Duncan.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

We need more Duncans. Badly. I think the bike industry needs them to offer some real thought and practicality at every level from product development to ringing people up at the cash resister. I also think it's good for every "fast guy" to interact with a Duncan, not to convert them or anything, but just to give them perspective. Another great entry