Friday, August 14, 2009

Staff Profile: Sharon Constantino

When most people think of bicycle store employees, they think of bike mechanics who keep the wheels spinning or salespeople who help us find the right ride. But a bike store would grind to a halt without the expertise of people like Sharon Constantino, Century Cycles’ office manager. Based in Peninsula, Sharon takes care of all the financial paperwork for all three stores - paying bills, reconciling accounts, and managing payroll and benefits for over 30 employees - all in less than 20 hours per week. She lives in Solon with her husband, Mark, and their sons, Evan (age 11) and Reid (age 8).

Q. How long have you been working for Century Cycles?

A. In June I celebrated my 5-year anniversary. I started at the Solon store, after I answered an ad for a bookkeeper in the Solon Valley Times. When Solon closed, I was transferred to the Peninsula store. My commute to work went from 3 miles to 18 miles, but I don’t really mind because I love Peninsula and the people I work with. Plus I love that the train goes right by my office!

Q. Have you always been a bicyclist?

A. I have. I’m really proud that both my sons learned to ride bikes before they were three years old and without training wheels.

Q. How many bikes do you own?

A. I have just one, a Raleigh Route 66 flat bar road bike. If I had more time to ride, I’d maybe get a really nice road bike. Or maybe I’d get an Electra or one of those around-town bikes, for when Solon becomes more bike-friendly. They are working on it, putting in bike paths and trying to connect them.

Q. What do you like to do when you’re not working at Century Cycles?

A. I like to spend time with my kids. I’m involved in their school through the PTA. I also like to read, and hang out with my friends and husband.

Q. Any piece of cycling advice you regularly offer up?

A. Suck it up and wear the bike shorts. People get self-conscious and don’t want to wear them. I tell them they make your life so much easier - and more comfortable.

Q. What’s your favorite place to ride?

A. The Towpath Trail. It sounds boring, but it’s just so peaceful.

Q. What was your first bike?

A. I got a shiny red Schwinn for my 5th birthday. It had training wheels and my dad taught me how to ride.

Q. What are some of your most memorable bike rides?

A. I’ve done the MS 150 five times. Before we had kids, Mark and I also did bike-camping trips to False Cape State Park near Virginia Beach. No cars are allowed, so you have to either walk or ride a bike in, carrying everything in and out. We biked in three times and that was a lot of fun.

Q. After a long bike ride on the Towpath Trail, what beer do you order at the Winking Lizard?

A. Presently a Bud Light Lime is my favorite. I love it!

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