In a fit of worry over the more financially challenging aspects of my career transition, my very wise partner made a strange suggestion: Work on bikes, she said. Call our friends and family and offer to tune-up their bikes for the spring, and take appointments so you can fit it in with your teaching and music work. If you do one tune-up a week it will bring some grocery money in and you'll be happier with the balance. When I thought about it, it made a lot of sense. So that's what I did. I sent out an email blast to all our family and friends who ride and invited them to make appointments for tune-ups and minor repairs. And to my surprise, the calls came pouring in, so many that now I have two friends wait-listed for slots in April because everything is full up and they really want their bikes worked on before their kids get out of school in May. I've got a few slots in May left but I expect to fill those soon.
I have a small supply of the basics -- brake pads, tubes in a few sizes, cables and housing; and if the bikes need anything more elaborate my friends can go buy the parts at a shop and bring them to me with the bike.
So nearly every Monday and Tuesday from now through late April (except for Pesach, of course), I am a bicycle mechanic again. The party ends in late May, when I must get ready to go outta town for my teaching/music gig. I may take a few more jobs in July but that's far enough away that I'm not planning on it right now. This is not becoming a new sideline, just a temporary fix until I can line up more students and gigs. But for now the balance might do me some good.