Saturday, June 09, 2012

Buying a bike is intimidating.

One of my proudest moments as a 14-ish-year-old was going into Woolco with money I'd earned mowing lawns and working in fields, and coming out with a mountain bike that I knew I'd earned.

Oddly, I don't remember it being much of a pain in the ass to pick one out.

When I lived in Calgary as a university student in the summer of '99, I bought a bike at the local Value Village, I believe for $60. The thing might've been previously stolen, who knows? Anyway, what I do know is that Calgary has some pretty sweet bike trails through the city, and I biked around a bunch of them. At the end of the summer I left the bike in the shed at the house at which I was staying, and I haven't owned one since.

So, these days, I live in Toronto, not too far from the Don river valley, which has some nice trails too. I think you can go all off-road-y if you want and jump over logs and all sorts of crazy crap, but that's not really my cup of tea. There's a trail that goes from a sidestreet just down the block from me, all the way to the Brick Works, which I visited for the first time ever a few weeks ago, and it looks like a good (if disorganized) way to spend a Saturday afternoon. A bike, therefore, sounds like a good idea.

Here's the problem, though. Let's say you go into a bike shop and you're looking for something simple. Inevitably, you'll encounter a Bike Person. How can you tell if a person you're talking to is a Bike Person?
  • They really know a shit-ton about bicycles.
  • They act as if they're a little bit better than you because they ride a bike — and you, you fucking part-of-the-problem, you drive a car.
  • They occasionally act as if they know physics.
  • They poo-pooh places like Canadian Tire.
My next-door neighbour is hardcore about bikes; he owns five of them (which he apparently all keeps inside his third-floor apartment). He's a Bike Person, and he suggested a bike from a place up the street. I went there earlier today, and this bike runs a cool $479. As I'm discovering, this is actually a fairly low-priced bike, as far as bikes go.

And so it continues, this bike-buying idiocy. All I wanted to do, a few weeks ago, is walk into Crappy Tire, get one of their cheaper models, and ride it around the neighbourhood. Now I'm all into disc brakes, hybrid mountain/road bikes, 29-inch wheels, and several-hundred-dollar investments... my head is swimming. Plus, on top of this, I'll have to buy a lock and a helmet for the first time. What a pain in the ass!

Maybe I'll just steal one instead.

No comments: