When I was 16, I got a Saturday job in Two Wheels Good in Leeds. It was the shop where I’d bought my first mountainbike, and, it transpired (I only found this out lately) my mum had rung them up to see if they would give me a Saturday job. They said yes, and John Stevenson called me up later that day to ask if I fancied working there. I bit his hand off, and started the week after. Arriving late, in ripped jeans. Not a great start.
I’d not been there long, but knew a fair bit about the stock. We had a good selection of clothing in stock, from Castelli to Been Bag, even some Scott Tinley, Cannondale… there was a fair bit of kit there. Something for everyone.
A gentleman entered the shop, just after lunchtime, and was browsing the shorts. I moved over to help him.
He was quite well presented, in his cycling kit, with a kind of “single man” smell about him. He said he wanted some new shorts… And so it began…
Him: “Yeah, so I ride to work every day. It’s about ten miles each way. And then I do a bit at the weekend too. But these shorts… they’re just not right. Seem to be wearing out fast. The last pair did the same. After about three or four months they just start getting really, you know, uncomfortable and start falling to bits on me.”
So, he was doing regular miles, not mega miles. They were, he informed me his only pair. And did he…
Him: “Oh yeah. I do the old, er, ‘no pants’ thing, yeah. Do that. No difference. Uncomfy. I suppose I do put the miles in. I guess it’s 100 miles a week, then another 100 or so at the weekends. I guess that’s a lot of miles over the three months isn’t it?”
Had he tried chammy cream?
Him: “Yeah. Tried that. Just made things worse if anything“.
So I took him through the range on display. Been Bag were making some shorts with a fleecy liner in. He didn’t think much to those.
Him: “Can’t see that working.”
Castelli were a wonderful racing bred short.
Him: “Bit garish and clingy those. No.”
So I moved on. To then, our favourites – the Cannondale ones. They had a brilliant construction with this cool one piece seamless chammy, and were our top seller.
Me: “So these, have a clever manufactured chammy. No seams. Really good synthetic construction.”
Him: “Synthetic? Synthetic! That’s great.”
I looked confused.
Him: “So I’d be able to wash these then?“