Monday, February 01, 2010

See Ya Buddy...

I was running City Bikes in Chevy Chase. It was months or weeks after we opened. I know it was really early. Frank will have to remind me... Nothing exciting was happening in the shop. Something caught my eye and I looked up to see somebody hopping from picnic table to picnic table just outside the window on the Capital Crescent side of the shop. I walked outside and motioned for the kid to come over to me.

I had been asked by the building management to keep kids from doing tricks on that side of the building. The security guard had a camera pointed right on those tables. When Adam came over to me, I asked him if he knew that he wasn't supposed to be riding there. He said yeah, that a guard had chased him off a few times. I could tell by the early-teen posturing that he was waiting for me to tell him to f off as well.

I offered the kid a job.

His interview was brief. What did he know how to do, was he willing to take orders... Yeah, I know you want to learn how to work on bikes but you'll learn when we decide you are ready and you won't learn on bikes that people are paying to have fixed. That was his first lesson.

Besides Frank, Adam was my go-to guy. I could always schedule him to work whenever he could and his arrival was flexible, except for the Summer and weekends. He was generally punctual and always smiling and apologetic if he was late. And he knew I would punish him... Moving the cardboard

When I heard Adam was dead, I was in Disney World with my own kids. I stopped right away and started to run through all of the people I would have to tell. The list got pretty long pretty quickly. Former customers, staff, riders, teammates... Adam really was an important part of the City Bikes family. When I was given the responsibility of running City Bikes in Chevy Chase, I was also allowed to make the shop how I wanted to. Most of the people who shopped there in the first three years of the shop remember each other, and the staff. I worked very hard to create a family among the staff members. I talked about backing each other up, taking care of each other, working together, sharing the load, being honest and generally just working hard for each other and the customers would get it. And I think they did.

Adam gave me a chance to mentor a kid. We talked about music, movies, riding, ladies, wrenching and a host of other things. I can honestly say that he was my go-to kid. The shop rat turned shop pro. A really good kid who found his anchor on his bike. Not the best student, but an old soul with a jester's smirk. He would do whatever I asked of him and for that, I only asked what was truly important. I think he learned a lot from the older shop veterans and realized that there was some wisdom in it. For all his wrong turns and cracked frames, the kid learned, and lived and loved.

When Adam went away to school, I was super happy for him. We spent a weekend at a downhill race at Whitetail, hanging out, sitting under the Easy-Ups in a torrential downpour. Since we were sleeping in the bread truck, I decided I would let him have a beer with me after four years of watching us drink beer at the shop. I knew he was drinking outside of the shop but he knew he was not allowed to drink around me.

And then he told me how much beer he took from the fridge in the back of the shop... with a big, BIG smile...

Adam Lockard died in a fire on Saturday at 5am in Gunnison, CO. He made it to the ripe old age of 21. I am very sad to see such a life end so early. I am very lucky to have been a part of his life and will always remember him fondly. As I watch my kids grown, I'll be reminded of the boy who grew up right in front of my eyes.

Ride on, Adam. Ride on. We'll keep the rubber side down for you. Well, most of the time...

Here's a brief write-up of our trip to Whitetail. Pics soon... Thankfully Joel takes a lot of pics. Here's Adam doing what he loves best...


At 8:52 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

This is a great picture that you painted of Adam. He was a great kid and we all saw it. He was entertaining even cutting up cardboard.

At 1:50 PM, Blogger Big Daddy Mike said...

And he never got out of cutting up cardboard. I think that was shop rat job #1. Maybe #2. I still remember when we bumped him up to changing flats! Wow. By the time he left, he was building wheels and bleeding brakes...

We had a great crew in the early days and Adam was a crucial part of it. He was our collective little brother.

At 9:34 PM, Blogger camps said...

Well written Mike & Susan,
Sorry to hear it


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