I was young when I first discovered cycling. I remember riding a Huffy mountain bike in the late 80s with my two best friends in middle school. We would take them apart almost every week for no reason except just to figure out how things worked. We never had the right tools, so we would break stuff.... a lot. We found relief at the local Schwinn shop in our city. We were always buying shifter cables to replace the ones we cut too short or trying to replace the bolt that shot out into the depths of the cluttered garage. We would also just walk around the shop and stare at the bikes. Not just the good ones, all of them. Looking back, I was obsessed with bikes. I think I was at that shop twice a week for years.
I got my first job as a mechanic at Buchika's Ski and Sports in Salem, New Hampshire when I was fifteen. They would only give me two days a week, after school. And that wasn't enough. So I also got a job at another shop where I worked one weekday and on Saturdays. I learned everything at these two stores. These shops helped to support my bike racing addiction, as well as my addiction to fixing bicycles. There was nothing more satisfying in life than to take a machine that was in horrible shape and give it back to the customer in perfect working order. The customer's reaction to the work I did, was enough to give me the impression that I could do this forever. But I was still young. I didn't know what I was going to do on the weekend. I worked at these stores until I graduated high school in 1995.
I came to Saint Petersburg, Florida from Bradford, Massachusetts (Go Red Sox!!) after high school graduation to attend Eckerd College. It looked cool from the post card they sent me, so I figured I would go there. I graduated in 1999 with a BA in Environmental Studies. I worked part time at Fast Track Bicycles and then at ABC Bicycles during my four years at Eckerd. I also raced road bikes all four years, traveling all across the state.
While at ABC Bicycles, I had the opportunity to take on more responsibilities and realized that I really liked working not only with bicycles, but also with people. Actually, I loved it. So when the owner was ready to sell, I knew that this was my chance. You only get one shot at an opportunity of a lifetime. So, with everything I had (and with a loan from my parents), I bought it and I have never looked back. This is what I was born to do, to work on bikes and make people happy. That is it. And it is what I will be doing forever.