May 18, 2011
Yes, folks call me Raz.
They have since I bestowed that nickname upon myself back in 8th grade. I know, giving yourself a nickname. How lame is that? About as lame as admitting it, I guess.
What you need to know about me is that I’ve somehow managed to string together a run of some of the greatest jobs in the world, with this gig at Bike Friday the latest in a long line. I’m Special Projects Manager.
I’m sure everyone has their own scale for rating jobs.
For some it might be salary.
For some it might be status.
For some it might be the hours.
Maybe the boss.
Maybe someone else. (wink, wink)
For me? It’s the bikes. And the people.
Somehow, here at Bike Friday, those two elements seem to be inseparable. Joined like a cyclist and a fixed gear.
I came to this stunning revelation as I cruised through Central Park a couple of Sundays ago on a Carbon Drive tikit.
Seriously, who gets to fly from Eugene, Oregon, to New York City on the company’s dime? Then gets to ride around Manhattan on two great bikes? Pinch me.
That’s when I realized the danger of it all. I’m getting spoiled. Or, addicted. I’m not really sure which.
Alan Scholz, Co-Founder of Bike Friday, keeps telling me I need to ride this Bike Friday and that one. I have to get the real feel. I have to know the products.
So I ride them, and get blown away. Like a kid playing a video game.
The fact that I’m back in the cycling biz after a long stint with the absolute, without question, greatest job in the world — stay at home Dad — is kind of interesting.
We landed in Eugene, Oregon six years ago this coming August. That was after spending the summer of 2005 touring the Western U.S. in a pop-up tent camper looking for a place to call home and raise our daughters. We traveled 8,000 miles and lived in the camper for 85 days.
Determined to pick a place instead of chasing jobs around the country as we had done most of our adult lives, we quit our jobs, sold our house, got rid of what we could in an endless Moving Sale, put the rest in storage and ventured forward. We found Eugene to be Nirvana.
Before I opted to trade places with my wife and stay at home, I had been a sportswriter. Talk about a sweet gig.
At The Orange County Register in Southern California, I got paid for watching sports. I watched Tiger Woods play golf as a teen, Julie Foudy kick around the soccer ball in junior high and countless others. One day I asked if they would like a story about riding my bike in the Rosarito-Ensenada event in Mexico. To my utter surprise, they said yes.
That combination of cycling and writing led to a weekly column about cycling. I started chasing the likes of a young Lance Armstrong, George Hincapie and Levi Leipheimer around the U.S. Then I became editor of VeloNews magazine. Rough life, huh?
I left that world behind for the joy of chauffeuring my daughters to school, gymnastics and birthday parties when we weren’t doing homework, working on crafts or dancing around the living room with the music cranked.
In Eugene, I wrote for the local newspaper, part-time, so I could be with my girls before and after school.
The economy turned sour just as I hit the stage where I planned to get a full-time gig again because my daughters were old enough to get by without me around all the time.
I got laid off. I spent two years looking for work. Then, miraculously, the only real bike job I’d want in Eugene (we refused to chase jobs again, determined to keep our girls here) popped up on Craigslist. Here, at Bike Friday.
I’ve spent most of my seven months here overseeing the construction of this new website. This blog will be a key element of it. We want you to continue to share your inspiring adventures with the Bike Friday Community. We want to give you a close look at who makes Bike Friday tick. Along the way you’ll get a chance to meet the amazing people who make coming to work each morning a joy.
Speaking of which. time to get moving. I like to write at breakfast. Gotta get to work. They’ll be wondering where the showroom Pocket Llama is. You know, the one with the disc brakes and Thudbuster seatpost. My ride home last night.
Entry filed under: News from the Factory. Tags: 1st Class tikit, bicycling, Bike Friday, bike.com, Carbon Drive tikit, commuting, custom bikes, custom sizing, cycling, Eugene, fit, folding bikes, high performance cycling, John Rezell, mountain bike, New World Tourist, Orange County Register, Oregon, Pocket Crusoe, Pocket Llama, Pocket Rocket, Q Tandem, road bike, Rocket Pro, Scholz, sizing, tandems, tikit, touring, travel bikes, Two'sDay, VeloNews.