We’ve had a recent experience that left us laughing, with a few new quotes to wear out in the shop, and proud that we could provide a good service to someone who would appreciate it so damn much. We’d been contacted by an Englishman about a possible local demo of an XXL Turner Sultan. Hmmm…this guy must be a beast. Of course, that’s what we always think when that particular bike goes out for a demo. But the strange thing is, it goes out at least as often as the large and is in a state of near constant rotation to different customers. Either there are a lot of big ‘ol boys out there, or Turner has tapped into a neglected part of the mtb market.
Early conversations with our anglo-brother led to the day of the demo. When he walked in, he was a beast. At 5 feet nine and 5/16ths of an inch, thank you, I was a mere pipsqueak compared to his jolly 6′ 7′ bulk. Luckily, he didn’t mind us calling him a sasquatch. This guy would’ve been right at home competing for World’s Strongest Man. He said he was in the British Air Force and we assumed he was the tug for moving planes at the airfield.
We had a good visit as we got his bike ready. With our instruction, he planned to ride from our CC World Headquarters to a nearby trail for the demo. It was hot as hell that day. We asked him if he needed water. He said he had plenty and offered this, ‘I’ll be sweating like a fat girl in a chocolate factory!’ Then surely as he’d predicted, he was ‘sweating like a marine in a spelling bee’ when he got back. The demo went great and he was going off about being able to actually test ride a bike. It took a few moments to register with us, but he was telling us that he’d never ridden a bike before he bought it. He’d simply have a shop order the biggest possible size and hope it would fit. We’d never thought about what a guy like that would have to do to get on a bike that fit for a demo ride. He was full of praise about the feel of the Sultan and the trails that he rode. It’s a testament to his good nature that he was even in a good mood because of the stifling Arkansas heat and humidity that day.
The whole dripping sweat experience made us think of another funny story. Eric, or E2 as he’s known on MTBR.com, is a great guy for a lot of reasons. One of them is the patience that he’s shown for years with a local customer. We’ll call him ‘Scuba Sam‘ to protect his guilt. He’s a really nice guy, but his bikes are piles of shit and he rides all the time, so he seriously wears out some parts. E2 always finds the time to help him out and keep ’em running. Which brings us to their first encounter — Eric was kneeling over ‘Scuba Sam’s’ bike and felt a drop of what he assumed was sweat, splash on his arm. Being a diligent employee, he ignored it and kept working on Sam’s front wheel. It was summertime in Arkansas after all. Another splash, and then a third led his eyes upwards to the source. There was no sweat from the brow, a forearm, or running out of the helmet. Instead, what Eric discovered was an intermittent stream of drool emanating from the corner of Scuba Sam’s mouth as he mouth-breathed…heavily…and watched Eric work.
Gerry, our Englishman, might’ve been awesomely sweaty, but he was super cool and didn’t drool. We were counting our blessings. After we talked about the Sultan for a bit, he had to get back on the road to be with his family. He loaded all of his bike stuff into the boot of his rental car and headed for the right-hand door. I said, ‘Hey Gerry! Wrong door, man’ and he acknowledged the fact that he was in the wrong damn country with the steering wheel on the wrong damn side of the car with another cheeky English quote that I wish I could remember now. I walked back in the building to notice that a few sales guys were watching and laughing. They’d seen him try to get into the wrong side of the car. He was a huge man both in size and character and he was one of those customers that make it fun to work at the bike shop.