ERIK’S Spotlight: Rob Stepaniak
At ERIK’S, we are just as passionate about the sports we sell as you are. We each have a different style of riding, but one thing in common – we love to ride. The ERIK’S Spotlight is a way to share stories of why we ride.
Say hello to our Sales Trainer, Rob Stepaniak.
What was your first ride and what really
got you into the sport?
My first two wheeled bike ride with no training wheels was when I was 3-4 and it’s also one of my earliest, clear memories. My sister decided that it was time for me to ride a two-wheeler so she took me and her “Sundance” banana seat “girls” bike to the neighbor’s driveway at the top of the cul-de-sac. We went away from our house because, one, we had a pretty steep driveway that I loved to rip down on my Big Wheel but wouldn’t have been so great for a little gunner to learn to ride on two wheels! Two, I’m pretty sure that she didn’t want Mom to see us!
So, it was up to the Gillingham’s driveway! Katie set me on the seat and said, “I’m going to push you and when I let go, you have to pedal!” And, with that, I was off! I started riding RIGHT AWAY, and directly into the Boxwood hedges! I spent a few minutes crying and punching my sister and then, back on the bike! The second attempt ended with me crashing into the landscape rocks almost immediately. But, the third time was the charm as I started pedaling and rode away! I turned around before crashing into Sterling’s garage
door and headed back out to the street.
After a couple laps around the circle, it was time to stop and celebrate. The only problem was, this was a 20” bike and I was pretty short. When I stopped and tried to put my feet down, there was a good 6” between my tip toes and the ground so I fell right over! From then on, I was on two wheels and terrorizing my town!
What kind of riding do you do most?
I really like to wander on my bike. Whether I get on the bike at my house and ride around Minneapolis for hours or my Mountain bike and explore the Singletrack in Duluth or my “Adventure” bike and ride away on the gravel in front of me, I’m happy!
If you could ride anywhere, where would you go?
I REALLY want to go back to New York City. My favorite ride EVER was the day that I rode around Manhattan with Mike Burger (Maple Grove Store Manager) and Doug Karels (Regional Manager). We adventured all over, seeing sights and experiencing the most exciting lines ever! The traffic and pedestrians are always moving so you always have to be paying attention and adjust your line so that you don’t smash into anything! Then, you get to have a popsicle break or a nap in Central Park! I will be going back!
What is your dream bike or the next bike you’re looking to get?
I just built my new Specialized Sequoia and I’m so stoked on it! I added a Pizza Rack and Pizza Bag to keep my trinkets safe with me as I ride! The next bike on my wish list is a Spicy Curry! I like to do as much living without a car so an e-cargo bike is just about perfect!
Where do you work and what do you do?
I am the Sales Trainer. I spend my day getting all of our New Hires ready to start in the store. From developing new Erik’s University Lessons to in person labs and testing sessions, it is my responsibility to get them ready for day 1. When I’m not working on New Hire Training, I create ongoing training content that goes on our internal Wiki site where I post information on new products and brands. I also help our Marketing Department in producing video content on products found in the stores. Our Visual Media Producer is the real brains behind those projects, I’m just the pretty face!
Working in a bike shop, what do you get asked most often or wish everyone knew?
I really wish that everyone knew the value of a nice bike. I understand that not everyone shares the “illness” that we do for bikes, but many customers and members of the general public just don’t know how awesome it is to have a great bike. Now, at the same time, I could care less about awesome cars or audio equipment or even hair products, but none of those give you the freedom to explore the world around you and truly experience and enjoy what it has to offer you!
Why do you work for ERIK’S?
I work for ERIK’S because of what the company stands for. Our mission is to provide people with freedom machines! Sure, we have customers who race. We have customers who really like really nice bikes. We have customers who want the latest and greatest best of the best and are willing to shell out the cash for it. But, those aren’t my favorite. My favorite is the rider who is just getting started. They may have no idea about anything! They come to us because they trust us to prepare them. Then, they fall in love with riding and turn into the first customers that I talked about!