"Is That Andrew Major's Bike?" (TT.5)
A fellow crests the stairs up into the shop, scans the room, and spots my Waltworks V2 in one of the wooden bike racks. He stops dead in his tracks, looks over at me, and then back to the bike. Something is the matter. He points. "Is that Andrew Major's bike?" There's a bit of a pause, I answer in the affirmative, and he says "that guy is full of shit."
I spend a couple of seconds just wondering how one is supposed to respond to that. Despite my extended pause, all I manage to come up with is a brilliant "oh?" He nods, "he writes about doing all his own maintenance work but he actually brings his bike to a shop." There's a long silence, I'm trying to gauge whether he's self-satisfied or disgusted by his discovery.
He sizes up my rig a bit longer and then I swear the wee space gets just a bit brighter as a lightbulb goes off in his head. There's another explanation. "Wait, are you Andrew?" We share a laugh and a conversation about optimum rigid bike geometry and balanced wheelbases and over the course of said exchange, it comes to light that our paths have crossed before. "So you work here too?"
You see, there are just too many f***ing Andrews in the bicycle industry. And like a proper pack of retail survivors, folks move around - and in and out of - the industry with some regularity. Really, it's a problem. And combined with just the sheer number of Andrews is the fact that the world of bikes - riding them and/or working with them - spits out a new nickname every 30-seconds whether there's someone who needs it or not.
I remember standing in Different Bikes at Parkgate one day chatting with my boss and one of the mechanics when a rider came in to speak to Andrew. I was torn between asking "do you know which one?" and saying "there's no Andrew here, I'm Drew, he's Andy, and this is Mandy." Mandy of course is the short form of Mechanic-Andy. I am still Drew to quite a lot of people who I met there.
That wasn't even peak-Andrews, which we hit the day that all three of us were in the shop and my friend Andrew, at the time working at Giant Bicycles, dropped by sporting a proprietary bolt to save a customer's Moab trip (you're still rad Andrew).
Since I've started turning wrenches I've been getting more and more crossover. "Hey, aren't you Mandrew from SuspensionWerx?" A nickname, for the record, that stems from the fact I wore 'Birks-And-Socks' aka Mandals to work. "Hey, you're Drew, I bought a bike from you in 2008." My favourite thus far is "I heard you bought Brodie Bikes?" Actually, that is Andrew Summers and I also apparently build some of the best loamers on the Shore (I don't).
Anyway, I am full of shit at least some of the time but I do all my own work on my bikes except for the full 100hr/yearly services on my suspension. Once you've had Pope Jimmy & Co do the full re-and-re it's hard to go back to Bel-ray in the basement. And I do often ride my V2 to the shop, it's a great conversation starter - whether I'm Andrew, Drew, Mandrew, etc. - and there are some long slow Saturdays in the winter.