Tre Michaud rides a bike he found in a scrap pile on Beacon Hill. The components were in rough shape but the frame was high-quality steel, so he stripped it down and outfitted it with parts from another project. Now it’s running smooth enough to ride in from Vashon Island.
Michaud is resourceful and dedicated – great skills to have as DSA’s mechanic, maintaining 34 bicycles and three electric power-assisted trikes.
The bikes and trikes enable quick and safe navigation of downtown, allowing ambassadors to efficiently cover ground for ratepayers as they respond to everything from biohazard cleanups to tourist assistance.
Michaud enjoys helping others get their jobs done.
“Everyone is so appreciative when their bike is up and running,” he says. “They like it when I can ‘get rid of the gremlins.’”
DSA is a welcome change from Michaud’s past work in the Midwest. His supervisors told him to be deliberative, not to rush. It’s meant less pressure and a more predictable work day. You have to be careful though, Michaud explains, not to fall behind commercial trends when working on a fleet of similar models. It’s not obvious, but bikes are always evolving.
In fact, Michaud rarely encountered the style of bike ridden by ambassadors until starting at DSA. The shifting systems are contained in their own housing to protect from dirt, grime and damage instead of the typical set of sprockets by the rear tire.
Simple, low-cost investments in durable components keep ambassadors on the move, helping more downtown business owners, residents and visitors.
“The best guy in the country at these types of gears happened to live in West Seattle,” says Michaud. “I was lucky to learn from him.”
Michaud feels lucky about the job, in general.
“Managers have my back and see value in what I do,” he says.
A couple years back, his ability to work was abruptly limited, but his boss made sure he knew he had a position when he got back.
“I get choked up thinking about it. Knowing they want me to be here helps me give it my all. I appreciate and respect that.”
Caring for nearly 40 bikes is a busy job. When Michaud has a day off he unwinds at his home on Vashon Island. There’s “less vibration” out by the woods, he says, and the quiet lets him recharge with his Cavalier King Charles Spaniel, Charlie.
Is there anything he would change about the job? Michaud thinks.
“Being able to bring Charlie to work.”