The Bikemaster of Cape Cod

I’m on Cape Cod for the summer or more and we live right on the Cape Cod Rail Trail. It’s a 26 mile paved (mostly) biking and walking path following the route of the old rail line that brought Bostonians to their summer homes. It’s just outside our door and is one of the reasons we bought where we did.

Yesterday I finally bought a bike so that I can take advantage of the trail. I’d looked on Criags List and found a guy named Christopher Metcalfe, who rehabs and sells used bikes. He has dozens of listings, so when I called, he said to pick a few on his posts and he’d have them gathered, along with any others that might fit my need. I was thinking of buying used to start, just to see how often I use the trail, then maybe later I’d upgrade.

I found Chris at his workshop in South Yarmouth.  It was a small house with garage; a ‘for sale’ sign in front. He told me he didn’t own the house; he was rehabbing it also. Then he led me through the back yard to another small house, this one obviously under repair. We entered the back door and the kitchen was getting some really nice marble countertops. Then Chris told me to follow him downstairs, and all I could think was I was headed to my doom. Was there a dungeon below, filled with other bike buyers locked up? But I followed and saw the basement divided into a few separate rooms and each was filled with bicycles. He pointed to a few for me to try out, which wasn’t easy in this crowded space!  He took a call from a potential buyer and I heard his whole spiel.

As Cape Cod’s biggest industry is summer tourism, a lot of foreign students come over to work seasonal jobs. They’re known as J1’s as that’s the type of visa they must get. We see them everywhere in the summer, waiting tables, serving ice cream, taking tickets.

Chris sells hundreds of bikes, maybe thousands each summer to the students who get J1 visas. He charges $50-100 per bike and he services them, fixing flats and tuning chains.  Each bike is registered at some giant bike registry, and if it were to be stolen and reported to the police, he replaces it. At the end of the summer, he buys the bike back from the student. When he hung up the call, he said that all those services apply to my purchase also. And if I decide to upgrade to a better or newer bike, he’ll give me a credit towards the next bike.   As I loaded up, he asked if I had a helmet and threw one in.

We’ve been here 2 weeks and up until Tuesday, it’s been terribly cold. We’d slept under blankets and run the head each day. Now it’s gorgeous outside, and today was even hot. I took my Mongoose for a ride on the trail and loved it. Can’t wait to explore new places in my new neighborhood in my new life.

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