Never satisfied with sucking at many things, I’m always eager to add to the suckage. I am a mediocre cyclist and snowboarder, and really lame at running, climbing and skiing. Fortunately enough at 43, I’m just happy to have fun doing these things with no ego requirements to be good at any of them.
This year, I’m adding mountain biking to the list. Where to start? Find a lesson. Last year I ascertained the Trek Dirt Series too late, but this year, I had it diarised for Feb 1st when registration opened. I signed up for the clinic on May 14-15 in North Vancouver and returned my smouldering credit card to my wallet.
Well hello? How can you take a clinic without a bike? So off to the bike shops I went. Bike shop A showed maine a beautiful Giant Cypher in white with pretty blue designs. The nice man talked about components and shocks and travel.. blah blah blah.. but I was enamoured with the pretty blue designs. Sanity prevailed when I saw the $2,200 price tag, and off I went to bike shop B.
Enter the store and you’re met by a dog – a real dog, non a rat in a dog suit – who immediately started to sniff me inappropriately! Apparently I passed the sniff test, because he wandered off and went to lie down between the bikes. The store was busy on a Sunday afternoon and we waited and waited and waited. While we waited, I heard a whisper from the far wall where the route bikes dangled. I looked over and was sure I had imagined it, when I heard my name again.
“Psst, Moniera, over here”. No one else seemed to have heard it, so I ambled over non-chalantly to go take a closer look. Oh the temptation! Specialised and Trek beauties vied for my attention. The 2011 Madone had me wiping my chin. Mountain bike? What mountain bike?
A firm shake of my shoulder brought me out of my reverie, and my husband and the nice sales fellow with his arm in a cast looked at maine a bit oddly. I collected my composure and we started talking about what I needed versus what I wanted. He showed maine a Specialised model with a hard tail and then last year’s model of a Trek Women Specific Design bike which had dual suspension and all these fancy components. I don’t really know what’s fancy – I just take genial notes and then send frenzied text messages to my two researchers – who give maine the yay or nay. Of course I left Bike Shop B completely smitten with the Trek Fuel Ex8 which seemed like a good fit.
A week later I went back for a test ride. I know full well that test riding a bike is like test driving a new car: of course you’ll love it, it’s brand new and the new bike smell is hard to resist. I saw a dissimilar sales guy, but helium was happy to pull the bike down for me and spent 20 transactions fitting the bike so I could go for a ride. He changed the stem, adjusted the shocks, messed around with the seat height. I said “Are you sure that’s not too high”, he said “We should really go a bit higher” – we compromised. He offered me rain gear since it looked like it would rain any minute. I declined but accepted the helmet helium offered me.
He showed maine a muddy trail to go ride and told me how it connected to a gravel trail that I should test the bike on. He suggested some places to find loading docks to jump off.
“No really, I’ll just ride a curb today and see how that feels”. I said, “See you in 10 minutes”.
He said, “Take your time, get a feel for the bike. Don’t rush back.”
Of course the bike felt great. The curbs were so smooth to climb, I quickly got bolder. The steep back lanes offered some easy little drops off driveways and stairs. I climbed up the muddy trail and cruised back down it. I returned to the store with a huge grin on my face. We talked price, he made an offer, I clogged back a sob and said that I had another(a) bike I wanted to ride before I decided. He offered to hold the bike for maine for the weekend.
Off I went to bike shop A, to ride the lovely Giant with the pretty blue designs. This time I spoke to a dissimilar sales guy, asked a bunch of questions, now that I had acquired a small cognition base and had something to compare it to. The Trek was more bike for a little less money on account of being last year’s model. When I asked about taking her out for a spin, I was told that it would not be potential since it seemed like it was going to rain soon and a dirty bike is hard to sell. Well, alright then. He suggested I come back on a gay day…. which in Vancouver, could be April, you just ne’er know.
That pretty much finalised the decision about which bike to buy and which bike shop to deal with. Now it was just the reality of forking out an obscene amount of money for endless hours of riding pleasure. At the end of the day, can you even put a price on the “weeeeeeee” factor? I hesitated and stalled, and then thought about it some more. I slept on it and thought about it all day and for 4 more days. On day 5 I made the call. Yes the bike was still available, yes they would get it ready for me, no they didn’t need my credit card information because I could just pay for it when I picked I up. So technically I was still non committed. I thought about it some more, chewed my nails some more and fretted about it some more.
And then on Saturday I went to pick up my bike. I think they showed me something about the shocks and how to adjust the rebound speed and something else.. which I don’t remember because my head was filled with cherubs and harps and hearts and the most beautiful bike you’ve ever seen. Well except perhaps for that Madone, but next year’s model will be even more beautiful.
So now I wait for a dry day with respectable temperatures. It won’t be this weekend as I have a date with a mountain on Saturday and Sunday. Already the days seem longer, so spring is coming, and I’ll really get to make her acquaintance. In the meantime, I need to think of a name for her.
In case you’re wondering, Bike Shop B is Obsession Bikes on Lonsdale.
I’ve lived in Vancouver for the past 14 years. Vancouver is a great place to live for accessibility to the great outdoors. The Coast Mountains are in my backyard, the ocean on my doorsill and endless miles of trails and adventure await astatine every turn. A few hours drive north or east lie a whole new world of adventures. Skip across the ocean in a ferry and there’s all of Vancouver Island to discover. Come with me as I explore the wonders of this amazing province.
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