This month's Star Letter

This month’s Star Letter is from Christina Wiejak who gives us an insight in to what it’s like working in a bike shop when you’re female.

>>> And the winner of Britain’s Best Bike Shop is…

Are you being swerved?

After reading your article a couple of months ago about being a female customer in a bike shop, I thought I’d give the flip side; how it is being the girl working in the shop. I believe that we’re a bit of a rare breed.

I had to do my best not to laugh out loud when a customer asked my colleague if he should leave his details with ‘the lady on reception’. As a local bike shop, we’re hardly big enough to have a reception!

“Alright love, can I speak to a mechanic”, and “Are any of the lads about” are phrases that I wish I didn’t hear quite so often. I’m usually tempted to say ‘Actually, I am the mechanic’,  just to see their reaction (but admittedly, you wouldn’t want me working on your bike).

The worst, however, are the times when I’m barely acknowledged; there’s a quick hello, before they walk straight past me and make a beeline for one of my bearded colleagues. If they gave me half a chance, they would realise that I do actually know something about riding bikes; I compete in road, CX and MTB events, and I’m not too bad!

Fortunately, I’ve now got a subscription to mbr magazine, but the last time I bought one in a supermarket, I was asked if it was for my husband. As I was working as a full time bike guide at the time, I gave him a shock by telling him that I rode a bike for a living.

Anyway, this isn’t a rant, just a couple in a long list of anecdotes, and they keep myself and my colleagues amused. Having said that, perhaps if you see yourself in one of these customers, please consider giving me a chance before you presume that I’m just there to make the coffees.

– Christina Wiejak

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All Star Letter correspondents win a Madison Zenith waterproof jacket worth £99.99.