A few weeks ago I mentioned on Facebook that I’d like to get a bicycle. A couple of weeks later a friend let me know that she actually had a bike sitting in her garage that I could have for $25. She had only ridden it about 15 times, so it was practically new. It’s a bike she bought at Walmart, so it’s nothing special…but it’s a practically new bike for $25. I picked up the bike today and it’s pretty great…a little tall for me, but I’ll make do. After I picked it up I went to the bike store (we only have one) and asked them to look it over. I went in there fully intending to also purchase a bike rack for my car. That didn’t happen.
I walk in, and the owner comes up to ask if I need assistance…except she’s texting while she’s talking to me. I work in customer service and so that was weird to me, because I’d never do that. I tell her I had just picked up a bike and I wondered if they would look it over and help me pick out a bike rack for my car. She gets a guy from the workshop to get it out and after he looks it over, puts some air in the tires, and declares it in good shape…the owner begins her diatribe. She wheels the bike out and says “Well, it’s not that there is anything wrong with the bike, it’s just that there’s nothing right with it.”
“You do realize this bike is entirely too big for you?”
Since I’m only 5′ tall, that really doesn’t surprise me. She proceeds to show me why this bike is unfit for riding – brakes are terrible, the gears are awful, the seat is horrendous, the bar is all wrong. I told her all I really wanted to do was ride around the park to which she replied “Yeah, you won’t be doing that on this bike.” So I took her bait – I asked “So, what kind of bike would you recommend?” She walks me over to a couple of bikes. One is $450 and the other is $650.
Come on. I’m not dumb. Of course those bikes are better than my cheap Walmart bike. She has me get on one of the bikes for a “test drive” except we’re still in the store. And I haven’t ridden a bike in over five years. I get on, push off, fall over. Not all the way over, I caught myself…but I fell. Also, I have a skirt on. Not a nice athletic skirt, a cute little straight knee skirt with Sperry’s. Casual, yet cute. And I’m riding a bike.
Actually, I’m falling off of a bike.
So she goes to get me a helmet. I’m apparently now an insurance risk. She tells me to take the bike outside to the empty parking lot next door. I was VERY glad to do this, because I knew I needed more than a few feet of riding space to find my groove again. It took me a few laps to stop feeling like I was going to run into cars or simply fall over. I go back inside and she backhandedly complimented me. “That didn’t take you as long to catch on as I thought it was going to take.”
She sends me back out with a different bike and I rode around more, this time feeling more stable – but knowing all I want to do is go back in and buy a bike rack so I can go. I get back inside and she is ready to put the bike I arrived with back into my car. After she does this, she just tells me to have a good day – and goes back into the store.
I suppose my bike just wasn’t good enough for a bike rack from her store. I felt like she was nothing but a bike snob. My Walmart bike was just a piece of junk compared to her several-hundred-dollar bikes. But you know what? I came home and rode my bike in my neighborhood just fine. Well,
Not just fine. I thought I was in pretty decent shape until I tried to ride the bike uphill. Baaaaad. I was huffing, puffing, and had to do the walk of shame with the bike over the hill. These guys drove by and honked, pointed, and laughed at me. I didn’t care, because at least I was trying something new 🙂
Mrs. Bike Snob did point out one thing about my bike that I happen to agree with – the bar. It’s pretty high and it keeps me from being able to properly straddle the bike. So in a few months I’ll look into getting another bike. From Walmart. Or Target. Or somewhere other than her store.