Given the proximity of everything in the city, I decided to once again become a bike owner. I wanted something cheap, practical and with that slightly emasculating quality that only a cute little basket on the front could provide. My wish was granted.
Despite being available brand new and fully assembled for 80 bucks thanks to black Friday sales, it still looks pretty slick – Me riding on it after a 16+ year hiatus, however, does not.
“It’s just like riding a bike.”
I always assumed that means you can easily pick something right back up no matter how long it’s been. I looked like a grizzly bear on two wheels, only not as good. After a couple of wobbly days, near misses with pedestrians, some close calls with riding off the curb into traffic and almost colliding with a few cacti and low-lying tree limbs, I had enough confidence to venture further away from the homestead.
Yesterday I needed to make a trip to a store a couple of miles away. No problem! The weather was great, the whole city is pretty much devoid of hills and I have my basket. Let’s go!
Though I still get a little pale when another bike is heading toward me on the sidewalk, I was managing quite nicely. I took my time so I could enjoy the sun and take in some of the more unfamiliar parts of town. In a few moments I was at my destination and ready to park my bike. As I was chaining it up, my ears suddenly noticed something.
Shit. I located the culprit – a small sliver of metal had impaled the front tire. I had owned the bike for 5 days and already flattened a tire. By the time I came back out of the store, the tire was almost sitting on its rim. Time to hoof it.
What felt like beautiful 80 degree weather suddenly felt like 200. What was just a couple of miles suddenly felt like 1,000 as I began the trek back during lunch hour traffic. I wheeled it straight to the bike shop which, conveniently, was 2 doors down from our apartment. I walked into the shop with a wet shirt, sagging tire and a basket full of anti-frizz hair care products – not my proudest moment. Having scant tools and no pump, I was at the repairman’s mercy.
“Not a problem.” the tattooed 20 something stated under his purposely crooked hat. “We’ll have you fixed right up.”
As he started to disassemble the front housings and work his magic, I walked around the shop to peruse their bike accessories. If I made a grocery trip I would need more carrying capacity so I was curious as to their offerings. It was then I started to get scared.
“40 dollars for a fanny pack?! 95 dollars for a duffel?!” I muttered to myself. How much was this replacement tube going to cost? 15 minutes later I had my answer.
“Alright dude, you’re good to go.”
“What’s the damage?” I said, with bated breath.
Now, I could go on a diatribe here about how the whole bicycle repair industry is crooked and all they want is to make a quick dollar. Though the accessory prices were exorbitant (probably due to brand names) this simply wasn’t the case.
“Labor included that will be 11 dollars.”
I breathed a sigh of relief, swiped my card, hopped back on and pedaled home. The ill mood that I was spiraling into suddenly vaporized. It seemed like I found the silver lining of this dark cloud.
Since the car has stayed parked since I got the bike, it will have payed for itself in a month – that is if I don’t go through a new inner tube every 5 days. Luckily, that cute little basket on the front is big enough to carry a can of Flat Fix.