Bike to Work Day

Posted by Doug Shidell, May 29th, 2017

Today was Bike-to-Work day at Quality Bicycle Products so the locker room was full. We shuffled gear around to accommodate the crowd and were covering the usual subjects; animal sightings in the park, wind direction, temperature and upcoming rides, when someone brought up the spec on a prototype Surly bike. The locker room is over-represented with bike engineers, marketing copywriters, brand managers and sales reps. Many use their daily commute for testing bikes and components that won’t be on the market for another year. Even mountain bikes get a work-out on the daily commute by test riders who drop into the bottomlands of the Minnesota River to weave through an occasionally flooded trail before emerging half a mile from work.

Aaron, from the next row of lockers, responded with an animated monologue about the bike. The rest of the locker room went quiet as he expounded on the subtle design points and ride feel of a prototype bike that had him excited. At first, there was nothing unusual. Engineering discussions are commonplace in the locker room. Most of it flies over my head, but I’ve observed enough to realize that the inane ramblings of bike reviewers in consumer bike magazines is nothing more than filling white space and making advertisers happy.

Aaron was still talking as he stripped down, grabbed a towel and wrapped it around his waist. He paused in front of our lockers to emphasize a point and continued talking as he shuffled to the showers. I caught a couple of arched eyebrows and knowing looks. We could hear the shower curtain slide to the side and a spray of water cascade off the walls. Aaron raised his voice so we could hear him over the shower noise.

“I want some of his coffee,” an engineer stage whispered. “I’ve got a long day ahead of me.”

Passing through “Spokes,” QBP’s lunch room, I overheard an auto-commuter discuss his drive to work. I can’t remember if he had a good day (traffic flowed smoothly and the lights were green) or a bad day (some idiot cut him off). The conversation is so predictable that I tune it out. Kim, the outgoing server behind the counter, greeted me by name as I passed by. She has an uncanny ability to remember everyone’s name and brightens our days with her greetings.

Several tables in the Atrium, beyond Spokes, were loaded with bagels, cream cheese, doughnuts and juice, the rewards for riding in on Bike-to-Work Day. I grabbed my share and passed through the doors to the near total silence of IT, stepped up to my computer and logged in to start the work day.

Filed under: Misc