You’?re blessed when you’?re content with just who you are — no more, no less. That’?s the moment you find yourselves proud owners of everything that can’t be bought.
As you may remember, while ago, somebody stole Ian’s old bike from in front of our apartment. This loss disappointed us more because we had intended to donate it to Bikes Not Bombs, not so much because Ian loved and used the bike often. The bike itself was far too small for Ian, who had owned it since he was a young teenager. When we went to the Cape in October for our biking weekend, we rented a right-sized bike so Ian wouldn’?t suffer too much.
Now that the summer seems on its way in — and with gas prices increasing steadily — Ian has started making noises about commuting the six miles to work by bike. I have enthusiastically encouraged him and get all excited at the prospect. So this week we undertook the arduous process of winnowing through the literally hundreds of bike models available to pick some that would suit Ian. We probably wrote thousands of words in emails to each other discussing bikes, and spent hours (not productive working hours, of course) looking around online. After much discussion, Internet research, and consulting two separate bike shops, we finally narrowed it down to three first-level choices:
Specialized Crosstrail Sport
Gary Fisher Nirvana
We had a couple of back-up choices, but as it turns out, Ian was able to test-ride all three of these bikes in approximately the same size/model he would buy. At Landry’?s he rode the Specialized and the Trek (and a secondary choice, the Specialized Globe); at Spoke ’?n’? Wheel he tried out the Nirvana (and another suggested by Rick at S’?n’?W, the Cobia). In short, between Friday evening and Saturday morning, Ian sat his butt on plenty of different bikes, and narrowed his choices to two: The Crosstrail or the Nirvana.
At that point, some serious agonizing had to take place before he reached a decision. Either bike would serve him well, so either way he would end up happy. But still, we re-checked the specs on each bike, evaluated the price, talked about the pros and cons of buying from Landry’s (Crosstrail) vs. Spoke ’n’ Wheel (Nirvana), looked at the specs again …and eventually he settled on ordering the Nirvana. While I went out for my 50-mile training ride, he called Spoke ’?n’? Wheel to place the order. What a relief to have that settled!
…Except that it isn’?t settled. Because when Rick looked up availability for this year’?s Nirvana, he discovered that only three of Ian’?s size remained anywhere in the country — and they were all in California! Rick speculated that they had stopped making the 2008 model because the 2009 version would come out soon. In any case, Rick couldn’?t place the order until Monday morning, which means that those three bikes could easily be gone before he can order it.
This leaves us in a suspenseful place, unsure of whether Ian’?s order will go through, or if he should wait for the 2009 model to come out, or if he will just go with the Crosstrail through Landry’?s. Oh, the suspense is killing me! I am rooting for him to get the Nirvana somehow; I like Gary Fisher better than Specialized. But I like Landry’s for service, and Allison there was lightly teasing us about purchasing from another bike shop. My loyalty is torn! Spoke ’n’ Wheel has a home-owned, down-to-earth feel, like your uncle (who happens to be an expert on bikes) is helping you out with your bike. Landry’s is a larger chain and feels more retail-ish and slick, but they also do a great job, especially doing fittings and fast-turnaround repairs. I frequent Landry’s these days because it’s on my way home from work. However, Spoke ’n’ Wheel is much closer to Ian’s work, so he might end up using them more often.
Actually, I’?m just excited at the prospect of Ian having a comfortable bike that he will want to ride. Here almost two years ago I started dabbling in commuting to work by bike, and now Mom and Dad both commute and ride recreationally — Dad is training to do the STP with me in July — and Ian’?s going to be joining us soon. It’?s so cool that they’ve just started doing it, without me urging them or anything! Now if only some of my coworkers would start catching that enthusiasm, too…
Bike talk.Yesterday’s ride was nice. A little cooler, and I had a head- or side-wind most of the way out, which made the riding more difficult. Also my lunch didn’t sit too well at first, so I took my first 10 miles or so easy until my stomach settled down. I got turned around a few times, and had to call Ian once, but otherwise it was a fine ride. These 50-mile rides still tire me out, but they don’t feel as difficult as when I started them a few weeks ago. That’s good, because next weekend I ride 60 miles each day, and the weekend after that 70 miles each day — in training for the STP, I’ll ride almost the whole length of my MS bike ride. Weird. The MS ride should be relatively easy, thanks to the STP training schedule I’m following.
Oh! And on my ride, I found another treasure: A pair of really nice, almost-new bike gloves, too big for me but too small for Ian. I’?m going to mail them off home to Mom and Dad, whose hands will hopefully appreciate them.
Alas, though, the road claimed one of my treasures and almost claimed another. Looking in my bike bag before I left this morning, I realized my all-purpose bike tool, which I love and use quite often, and got on sale as a great deal at REI, had disappeared. My paranoid self said that somebody at work had stolen it — I have come down in the evening recently to find that somebody had played with my bike during the day. But my realistic self said I had just left the bag unzipped and it fell out somewhere on my ride this week. In either case, I mourn its loss (as begrudge having to buy a new one!).
I also almost lost my brand-spanking-new Planet Bike Superflash Stealth rear light, which I finally got on Friday from Landry’?s as a special-order. I had read that the clip for mounting on a bike-bag left much to be desired, and I have lost a good rear light in the past when I went over a hard jounce and it bounced off the bag onto the road. Yesterday I happened to go over a very big, hard bump and luckily heard a faint plastic thump. I immediately stopped, checked, and sure eno
ugh my light had fallen off. Fortunately, in stopping so quickly I wasn’t far from where it fell. I rescued it and put it securely in my pocket. When I got home, some strategically-placed electrical tape secured it so no amount of bouncing could shift it free. Still, the experience unnerved me. Nary a day old, and I almost lost it! Gah!
I bet somebody feels that way about their gloves. Hmm.
Please help me raise money for the MS Bike Tour Cape Cod Getaway. Donate today on my MS Participant page.
2 thoughts on “Ian’?s Bike Choice”
You and Ian have put more thought and effort into buying him a new bike than most people put into buying a car. . . or maybe even a house! Hope the one he wants can be found.
Yeah, we were talking about that. Also I was thinking that lots of people buy cars more frequently than we do bikes, since Ian’s last new bike was like 15 years ago.