Monday, November 05, 2007

We Have Problems

Do you labor under delusions of adequacy? Is your self-esteem too robust? Are you plagued by an overabundance of disposable income? Get thee to a bike shop!

My old bike, secured with only a cable lock, got stolen out of the carport. So I’ve been parking the new one in Katie’s room. It’s messy enough in there that I didn’t think she’d really notice. Possibly she hasn’t, but this morning I found some of her unmentionables draped across it; so I went shopping for a good solid U-lock today.

I walked into the bike shop, declined the assistance of a few very polite, but distressingly lithe employees, and located a U-lock. So far so good. But I also wanted new pedals, because the ones that came on my bike don’t have any holes in them, so you can’t mount toe clips. I mean, you could. You’d just need a working power drill, which I don’t have. I figured it was easier just to get a new pair.

That was my first mistake.

Ten minutes browsing the shop and not seeing anything should have told me, right there, to just purchase my lock and leave quietly. Oh, sure, they had pedals. They had clipless, lightweight, racing-caliber pedals, lots of different kinds of them, starting out around $75 a pair. Alongside these were shoes, cleat systems, cleat mounts, cleat covers, a full range of sleek biking apparel, and bicycle helmets that looked like they might actually be flattering.

Mine just makes me look like a well-ventilated mushroom.

Finally, shyly, I asked one of the godlike beings for help. “Do you have any, you know, just regular pedals?” I asked. “The ones that came on my bike won’t accept toe clips.”

“Well, we don’t actually sell toe clips here,” he said. Of course not. Toe clips probably add at least three ounces to the weight of your bike!

“I already have the clips,” I went on. “It’s just that the pedals on my bike don’t take them, or I’d have to drill holes.”

“Hmm. Okay,” he replied, “I think we might have some here, somewhere; let me look around,” and vanished in a blur of brightly-colored Lycra.

He circled the shop for a minute or two, then went outside, and spent another few minutes actually removing a pair of pedals from a bike chained on display in front. He brought them in. “We have this pair,” he told me; “they keep getting put on some of the bikes for test rides. They’re flat so you can slide your feet into the clips, and have special tabs for the straps to mount. They’re $30.”

I took the pedals in my hand. If I’d been browsing, and found these on the shelf, I’d have looked at the price and put them back down. Not that they aren’t worth the money: strong, but extremely lightweight, slim and efficiently designed. But I don’t need that. I’m not worried about minimizing weight. My bike has a kickstand, which I use, and like. Do you have any idea how these people feel about kickstands??

But he’d gone to all that trouble, and I was much too embarrassed to say I wanted something cheaper, which would entail confessing that I’m really not a very serious biker. So I bought them.

Problem solved!

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