I’ve learned a lot of lessons from downsizing and various shopping experiments. But even when my regular brain tells me to make sensible investments, my reptile brain is always looking for a bargain.
Take my old bike. I sold a Raleigh that I bought when I was 19, but was too heavy to hoist up and down the stairs to our second floor apartment. I replaced it with a road bike that I bought at a pawn shop for $35. A bargain, but it was too small for me and the handlebars were chopped in a way that made it painful to ride. Which made me not want to ride.
So this spring, when it was time to bring out the bike for a tune up, I decided that it was time to invest in a bike that better suited my lifestyle: a cruiser that I could drive sitting up with a frame that I could step through whilst wearing pretty skirts and dresses. I tried to swap my road bike for a hybrid on the Bunz Trading Zone (I couldn’t find a swapper, so I sold it and put the moolah toward my bike fund).
I did research brand-new bicycles. Andrew and my other cycling pals warned me to stay away from the Canadian Tire/Walmart type bikes. My bargain brain (and bank account) balked at paying more than $450 for low end bike store brands. Then I hit the bike and pawn shops looking for a reasonably priced used cruiser.
Because I am a victim of Pinterest, I decided that the best way to to shop for bikes was to dress like a woman wearing a cute pencil skirt and riding a vintage step-through. But the only bicycles I found were rust buckets and other compromises. I was in a shop up the street describing what I wanted to the proprietor. He told me that he was getting some new models in the next week.
By this point I just wanted a ride and asked him to show me what he had for under $200. There was a row of bikes parked out on the sidewalk. The store owner warned me against compromising. “You’ll ride more if you have the right bike,” he said. Still I tried out the cheapest road bike. My pencil skirt got caught in the bike’s seat. I fell over and the rest of the bikes fell like dominoes on top of me.
Lesson learned. If your priority is looking cute, then you shouldn’t settle for anything less than a skirt-friendly velocipede.
Three days later I found this 2009 Trek Beach Cruiser at a pawn shop. It was my size, reasonably priced and I was able to get a bunch of bucks taken off by trading in a bunch of things (busted jewelry and some tools that I meant to use and never did). It was an ego and body bruising lesson, but in the end I downsized and didn’t compromise. Hopefully it’s a lesson that I’ll remember.