Monday, May 10, 2010
Staff Profile: Rich Oettinger
Rich Oettinger, 39, started working at the Century Cycles store in Peninsula in June of 2009 after a 19-year career as a semi truck driver. He started on the sales floor, but with a knack for learning about all things mechanical, he quickly came up to speed as one of our expert mechanics. He currently lives in Cuyahoga Falls with his wife and son.
Q. What's your favorite thing about working at Century Cycles?
A. It's a totally different atmosphere from sitting alone in a truck all day, having nothing to do except think about stuff that I shouldn't be thinking about. Here, the people I work with, including customers, are always generally happy and bubbly, so I never feel like I've had a bad day.
Q. When did you first start cycling?
A. Three or four years ago, I realized that I had to do something to get some exercise, since driving a truck doesn't provide much opportunity. I started riding a bike, and since then, I've dropped from 320 pounds down to about 265.
Q. How many bikes do you own?
A. I have three: a Raleigh road bike, a Giant mountain bike, and a Raleigh touring bike that I use for commuting to work.
Q. Which do you prefer, road or dirt?
A. It's hard to say, because I really just love all kinds of riding. I love riding off-road, but at the same time, I've really gotten to love commuting--it's convenient, fun, and a great way to take your mind off the everyday stresses of life.
Q. What do you like to do when you're not on a bike?
A. I used to be pretty seriously into racing radio-controlled cars, but it's been about 10 years since I gave that up, because to be competitive, you've got to devote your full-time attention to it. I still like to follow racing sports, though--all kinds, anything that has a motor. I also really like paintball, spending time with my family, and doing yard work and other stuff around my house.
Q. What's your favorite ride or trail?
A. Ray's Indoor Mountain Bike Park, because it's a fun place to ride, and I can work on skills that come in handy when I'm actually out on the trails. Plus, it's a great social scene, letting you keep up with people that you ride with in the summer that you don't usually see during the winter.
Q. What was your first bike?
A. My dad got me a Huffy; all I really remember about it was that it was an orange BMX-style bike.
Q. What's the best cycling advice you've been given?
A. For commuting, get a good, bright taillight. For mountain biking, know your limitations and don't ride over your head.
Q. What questions do you get asked most often?
A. Since we see a lot of beginner cyclists, we get a lot of questions about the benefits of using cycling-specific shoes. Of course, in Peninsula, we get our usual share of non-cycling-related questions, such as "How do I get there from the East Side?" (take I-271 South to Exit 12) and "When does the train stop there?"