A Present For Myself

Posted: December 18, 2011 in Uncategorized

Just after Thanksgiving I received an unexpected royalty payment. It wasn’t huge, but it was enough to think about buying a little something nice for the family. My wife and I wanted a couple of bikes to ride around on, especially since this area of Southern Florida is so flat. So we went to Wal Mart and I used the royalty payment on a couple of shiny new bikes. Mine was a Schwinn Varsity. It was tall, lean, and fast, and I enjoyed it a lot. Except for one thing: the darn chain rubbed against the front deraileur whenever the small gear was in 6 or 7, making so much noise that I ended up not using those two gears at all. It was annoying, and grew more and more so every time I rode and had to either stay at 2-5 or bounce up to 3-3. Way more shifting than was necessary to accomplish the same goal. I figured the guy who built the bike at Wal Mart probably just didn’t know what he was doing, so I took it to a local bike shop to have the cables adjusted.

Come to find out that the reason the bike kept making noises is because the deraileurs that came with the bike were not the right size for the bike’s gears. Huh. Go figure. You’d think the parts that come with your new $250 bike would be correct, right? The bike shop sells new deraileurs, of course. Only $80 and I could solve the problem. I wasn’t about to spend $80 to fix something that should have been right to begin with. So I took the bike back to Wal Mart. (They were VERY good about taking it back, too. Even though I’d been riding it for four weeks, they didn’t give me any trouble at all.) So today I went back to the bike shop and bought myself an early Christmas present. It cost more, but I’ve come to the conclusion that when it comes to bicycles, you really do get what you pay for. In other words, buy cheap, get cheap.

Anyway, here’s my new bicycle: A 2011 Black/Silver Specialized Crosstrail.

It’s a hybrid bike with size 700C tires that can go fast over pavement but can also do a little light off-roading. (Not the crazy stuff, mind you, but bike paths and beaches, etc.) I took it for a quick spin when I got it home and noticed an immediate improvement over the Schwinn in shifting, comfort, ride, and even the amount of effort required to get it moving. All in all, a much, much better bike. I haven’t ridden it with Cole yet, but that’s coming tomorrow. Should be fun as he loves riding.

Anyhoo, I hope all of you have a wonderful Christmas (or Hannukah, or Kwanzaa, or Bah Humbugmas, if that is your thing). I’ll be spending the holidays in Maine again with the family. Hopefully we get a little snow. 😉

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