Wednesday, June 4, 2008

And you think gas pricing is a conspiracy? Bikes are evil

Matt of Matt's Bicycle Center in Cocoa Beach produces literature to inform Beth for her impending purchase of an overpriced piece of aluminum and rubber. I say "overpriced" as a general term for all "nice" bikes. Matt actually had the best prices of the day.

A co-worker of mine, Beth, is lacking four-wheel transportation because of an unfortunate event a few weeks ago involving a tree and her Chevy Malibu. According to the insurance agent, the tree totally won.

But instead of buying a new car, she's buying a new bike to save money.

With gas prices inching upward, Beth has decided to abstain from using a motor and to obtain the ultimate pedal-powered transporter. She has just a few miles to commute to work. Her previous bike caused her great pains because of its large size, so she wants a new one.

That's where I came in. Without a car, she can't shop for bikes. So I was drafted to escort her in my gas-powered vehicle to three bike shops around to county in search of her sub-$500 "dream bike."

We checked out that dream bike at a place in Indialantic called Bob's Beachside Bike Shop. And she discovered that it wasn't too dreamy after all.

It was an Amsterdam made by Electra. It was red and shiny, but it wasn't as pretty as Jennifer Garner in "Elektra," who also was red and shiny. And according to Beth, the Electra didn't move as smoothly as Elektra either.

Beth found a few bikes that looked promising at Matt's Bicycle Center in Cocoa Beach, where the owner, Matt (go figure), was one of the nicest salesguys I've met.

Beth says she'll make up her mind soon.

The whole ordeal got me thinking about the time I bought a bike when I was living in D.C. Unlike Beth, I'm not willing to spend oodles on a self-powered contraption.

But I needed a cheap bike to ride around the mean streets of Georgetown, where parking is scarce. And when I think cheap, I think Wal-Mart. I thought the one in Bowie, Md., would be the most accessible. To me, "accessible" meant the most direct route. That looked like New York Avenue, which would take me straight to Bowie.

After a two-hour drive, I found a bike for about $50. But I spent lots of money on gas to get to Wal-Mart.

And then I had another problem: How would I cram the thing into my car?

My solution was to take one wheel off, roll down the rear driver-side window and leave the handlebars sticking out to whistle in the wind.

In the end, I used the bike about five times. Many parts of D.C. are hilly, unlike Florida. So driving my car was much easier.

As for Beth, she says she'll bike to work until the November election. Her theory is that the next president, if a Democrat, will single-handedly pound gas prices back down.

Then she'll buy a car.

Honestly, I don't think this is a financial decision. I think it's a conspiracy to get me to vote Democrat so I won't have to take Beth shopping anymore.

Accessories, including mirrors, can really pimp out a bike - for a price, of course. Personally, when I'm riding a bike, I can always see more when I turn my head and look.

Bike seats come in the styles of normal, left, pimp/ho, middle, and goth, right.

And, my mom rode this bike back in the 1970s.


shoyu said...

Beth should get one of those tricycles with a big basket on it, so she can haul groceries.

Anonymous said...

That last line is one of the funniest I've read in a while. And yes, it's all about getting you to vote for a Democrat. Because it's all about you.

(Nevermind that car prices also go down at the end of the year. And I acknowledge that it's a pipe dream to think the gas prices will go down. I'm an idealist.)

More than one person has mentioned this blog to me before I've had the chance to read it today. Just so ya know.

Cheap. That's exactly what you'd get at Wally World. Which is exactly what I don't want. I want sturdy and light, with baskets for all the haulin'. So I won't have to rely on you and others for a ride just to get some orange juice. Then I'll add pretty little things like flowers and bells. It's gonna be adorable! And functional. Style over speed.