(Note: This post is about me buying a bike. Now that I own a bike, I can buy this shirt from threadless, which has always been available in my size and has always been sold out of El Senor's size, and that I've held off buying because El Senor wants it so badly and because wearing this shirt without owning a bike would be dishonest.)
Last year, I would ride the bus or take my bike to work or the grocery store or school. I prided myself on being independent and environmentally friendly. I congratulated my fellow coworkers who bussed to work or biked to work like me. We'd tell each other how we were protesting gas prices by using alternate forms of transportation. Of course, we all knew that the underlying reason for our environmentally friendliness was that none of us had cars.
In August, I inherited my car Clicky from Captain Fabuloso. At the same time, I returned Ole Trusty, the bike I'd been borrowing from Captain Mom. (Ole Trusty wasn't actually trusty---it wasn't the bike's fault at all, but I managed to pop a lot of tires on that bike, even after El Senor gave me industrial-grade tubes that could "run over nails." They couldn't, I found out.)
I'm not sure what exactly it was that made me need to buy a bike instead of a bed this month. (I keep putting off my purchase of an adult bed---because I don't want to grow up?) It was probably my trip to Heather's house where her beautiful bike sat in her living room. After admiring her bike, she invited me to go with her to bike around the Bear River Migratory Bird Refuge this month. How did she know about my secret bird watching passion? Really, she had me at "Bird Refuge." I simply had to buy a bike.
The bike-buying process was interesting. First off, I missed all the stores on the first day (Monday) because apparently bike stores like to close at 6:00. They cater to the unemployed or non-business class. Or students, but whatever. My first attempt at bike shopping was thwarted. El Senor recommended a place for me to try the next day.
On Tuesday, I set out again and tried several different stores. As a non-biker, going into a bike store can be rather intimidating. It wouldn't be so bad if a store employee didn't immediately rush up to you and ask if they can help you, when you really know they're asking, "What the hell are you doing here?"
Anyway, the first store I tried had what I was looking for at prices I wasn't interested in. I kept looking. The second store didn't have what I was looking for, but had prices I was interested in. I kept looking. The third store, and by far my worst (read: most intimidating) experience, was El Senor's recommendation. First of all, to get into the store, I had to walk through a flock of 40 spandexed road cyclists who were getting ready to head out on a ride. After passing through that gauntlet of judgment, I walked into the store, made eye contact with an employee, and started looking at bikes. Now, I'm not exaggerating here: Not five seconds after I was through the door, she came to me and asked, "Did you find what you were looking for?" The question caught me off guard, really, because five seconds into a store, one does not expect to ask if one has been successful in one's shopping. I can only assume that I was asked because it was obvious that I didn't belong there. I told her I was looking for a cruiser. She informed me that they had no bikes of that style, but I was welcome to look through a catalog. I left.
And ten seconds after initially running the gauntlet of judgment, had to run it again, while every cyclist felt a confirmation of his or her judgments of me. I was feeling pretty bad about it so I started to text El Senor. I wanted to say, "Your bike store recommendation sucked." But when I looked at what I had written, my phone said, "Your bike store seafoodmeatgoo." And then I started laughing maniacally all by myself, which again, probably reconfirmed all the judgments the cyclists had made about me, but I didn't care. Seafoodmeatgoo. That's funny. Instead of correcting the message, I sent it to El Senor as-was.
I found cycle success at Cyclesmith. First of all, the employees were not intimidating at all. They were really nice and sweet. I was shown the 2006 Raleigh Retroglide NX3 Cruiser, and because it was last year's model, it was $300 instead of $410. I wanted a women's frame, but because I'll be getting a free trunk-mount bike rack from Viktor, the men's frame was actually a better option for me. I took the evening to think about it (it was already 6:00 anyway, so they were closing).
After discussing this sweet ride with El Senor (who owns three bikes) and having my decision approved, I called Cyclesmith first thing in the morning so that they could hold the bike for me and prevent all unemployed/non-business/student people from buying it. And as soon as I was done work (let's be honest---I left early) I met El Senor at Cyclesmith to purchase my beauty. Apparently, over the course of the day, three people had tried to buy the bike. Luckily, it had my name on it.
Because the bike's fenders prevented it from being mounted on El Senor's car-top bike rack, I decided to immediately take the bike on its inaugural ride. The ride home was 6.5 miles (downhill), and it gave me time to get to know my new love. Of course, since it's a men's frame, my bike is male. So after spending 6.5 miles with him, I decided to name him Guido, which in Italian literally means "I drive." Since purchasing the bike Wednesday evening, I've taken it on six rides. I've decided to commute to work by bike now (4.5 miles). It's fantastic. Also fantastic is parking my sweet bike in my office and getting compliments from everyone who passes by. Mostly fantastic is the sense of superiority that I can now feel, knowing that my driving to work doesn't damage the environment at all. Now I actually have the choice to drive, but I can make the choice to do something better for the environment and better for me. So suck it, gas guzzling car drivers!
(Note: This picture shows Guido parked in my living room. Sorry it's not the best photograph you've ever seen. One thing El Senor and I didn't think about was where to store Guido when I'm not driving him. Like I said, El Senor has three bikes, so our storage space is pretty much filled with those. For now, I'm just lucky that I have one empty wall in my bedroom, because that is where I park my dearest, sweetest, loveliest Guido.)