Friday, March 20, 2020


Well, I suppose it's time to write a few of my thoughts about this... living through a global pandemic.

The funny thing is I would have thought I'd have been more mentally prepared for this.  I'm one of those people who read Stephen King's "The Stand" back in the 80s, and I've lost track of how many movies, novels, tv shows, etc, I've seen with the "humankind is devastated by a global outbreak of some terrible disease."  And for quite a while now I've suspected we were due for such a thing.

But now that it's happening, I guess I just wasn't are ready for it as I thought I was.  At least not the real day to day experience of it.  The news stories, first far away, now on my doorstep practically.  The DC area isn't at the leading edge of things in the USA, but I have family in Washington state, where the first outbreaks occurred here.  And my brother lives in New York, which today announced a lockdown of non essential businesses, and he's already been dealing with lost work.

And then there's what's happening in my life, my business.  It seems bicycle shops throughout the USA are seeing a huge influx of repair work, and we're certainly seeing it here.  Since last Thursday, March 12th, we've seen far more than the usual number of bikes in for service for this time of year.  I've been calling it "the spring rush on steroids."  It's both earlier and heavier than we've seen in a long time, maybe ever.  Part of it is we had a mild winter and seem to be headed to an early spring.  But most of it I think is due to people feeling that being out on a bike is a safe place to be when they are staying home from work or school, and trying to avoid exposure to the virus.

Honestly, I didn't expect this.  When the news began making it clear COVID19 had reached our shores and was coming our way, I braced for a drastic drop in business.  I began mentally preparing for the very real possibility that the shop wouldn't be able to weather it, especially coming out of the slow winter season.  I really didn't expect a rush of business.  Of course, it could end tomorrow, and I'm still bracing for that.  And there's also the chance that the government will impose a lockdown of some sort, preventing me from doing business at all.  And we probably have a long way to go until we get clear of this.

I'm hoping this whole experience might be a wake up call for our country, our society, our government.  Maybe there will be more attention paid to the social safety net, especially in regard to health care.  We seem to have really drifted away from the idea of any sort of "social contract" between government and the individual.  Here's hoping that changes as a result of this.