Tuesday, May 26, 2009

A Bike Conversation

I had a real conversation last week with a coworker about purchasing a bicycle, recalled from memory below.

Coworker: I’m interested in riding my bike more for fitness and fun, but my junky old huffy isn’t enough for me, what kind of bike would you recommend?

Me: Wow, that’s great! [I now bloviate for 10 minutes on the spectrum of options from MTB, through Hybrid and Cyclocross, to Road – taking care to enumerate the “catch-all” benefits of Cyclocross bikes and make effective use of the whiteboard.]

Coworker: I’m not interested in spending that much money.

Me: Then you’re going to be looking at something used or just MTBs and Hybrids. You should also add about $200 to your estimate for accessories, the bare minimum of which would include a frame pump, multi-tool, spare tube, tire levers, and a patch kit. You’d hate to get stranded without ‘em!

Coworker: I don’t think any of that stuff is necessary. I live out in the country and I won’t get any flats. In fact, growing up I can only remember getting 2 flats in like, 11 years. So I don’t need that stuff.

Me: [Hiding shock as just this spring I ran over some unseen metal shard on a country road 20 miles from nowhere that cut a 1 inch gash into my brand new “iron cloaked” super tires.] Well, I don’t ride without those items. Oh, and you’ll also need to get a helmet. Your brain is worth it.

Coworker: I don’t think I need a helmet. Like I said, I’ll be riding in the country out by my house. When I was a kid I only crashed once – the time I was drinking a coke with my left hand and steering my bike with my right hand ON THE LEFT GRIP and I got a little mixed up and [makes crash sound]. I don’t think I hit my head either! Now, maybe if I rode in town like you I’d get one.

Me: [Hiding shock at complete foolishness of this person, since country roads and speeds can be just as dangerous as city riding.] Well, my conscience is clear for warning you. Anyway, I would go by Shop A and check out the bikes they have in your price range. I utilize their services frequently and their prices are competitive. I would avoid Shop B since they price gouge and aren’t very helpful from my experience with them. Regardless of where you go, test ride all the bikes you’d even think of considering so you can feel the difference between bikes to inform your decision.

[Next day.]

Coworker: I went to Shop B’s website and I’m going to get a Schwinn [P.O.S.], it’s well within my price-range.

I’m learning when to tell people off. I mean, seriously, did I have a sign on my forehead that said: “I don’t know jack about bikes!”?

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