When a reader in Colorado sent me this story of a law in Colorado attempting to make things safer for cyclists. I thought to myself "a law requiring people to use common sense, finally a step in the right direction for cyclists". My sunshine quickly was clouded as I read the comments and learned that bike riders are liberal hippie socialists who "force cars to get in to head-on collisions in order to pass them". Pegging the redline on the bullshit meter and feeling myself on the road to getting worked up in to a frenzy, I decided to poke around on that site for awhile in search of comic relief instead of worrying about the comments of people seemingly barely intelligent enough to comprehend the contents of their spam containers.
That's when I stumbled on to this little story of buying a bike on ebay. Now admittedly, death threats are no laughing matter and neither is buying your girlfriend a bike, because odds are she'll leave you and still want to keep the bike. Nonetheless a $200 bike for the girlfriend was found on ebay, and one way or another I could tell this story had its roots in heartbreak.
"“We thought that one looked good because it said ‘brand-new,’ ‘spotless,’ and ‘perfect paint,’” he said. “But when it came, it was definitely not like that.”
When it came, Blackwelder said, there was a shattered reflector, scratches all over the frame and rocks in the treads."
Scratches all over the frame are heartbreaking, especially on a brand-new and spotless $200 bike, but a shattered reflector and rocks in the treads are where I draw the line. For something even more annoying, just ask the many Cannondale owners who had to return their Cannondales for lack of a pie plate, because it poses a fall hazard, why did they even buy it if it was missing a pie plate? I saw no mention of missing valve caps in the story, hopefully the bike came with those.The story reminds me of the lemming's most priceless moment in a bike shop, I was in there getting my chain lubed (I'm kidding) when someone walked up behind pushing his bike, obviously upset. As another mechanic came up to ask if he could help him, the guy let loose a tirade. "I've had this bike for 4 months and this is the second flat tire I've gotten, what the hell kind of crap did you sell me?"
On the one hand it's hard not to feel a sense of awe for someone whose biggest troubles in life seem to be flat bike tires, on the other hand it's infinitely harder to not bust out laughing only to tell the angry man that you were thinking about a South Park episode when his anger turns to you.
Bike maintenance is comedy all in itself. I've obviously gotten in much deeper than my proficiency allowed on several occasions and had to stay up until the wee hours of the morning, only to make my "tuneup" worse. The next morning frantically calling several bike shops to beg someone to "look at it quick" before a race. Ironically, the races that are most prevalent in my memory are when a mechanical forced my bike out of the race, but still I'll never understand people who take their bikes to a shop and pay them to fix a flat.