It Happened to Me

Bike shopping

I’d been meaning to replace The Scorpion King — my aging Raleigh Safari 5-speed “cruiser” style bicycle — for some time now. When Deenster’s beloved bike Voodoo Polly got stolen, I gave her Scorpion King and began looking for his replacement.

In case you were wondering, naming bikes isn’t an Accordion City tradition. Deenster did it first, and after hearing that she’d given her bike some kind of art-school-y sort of name, I decided to do the name mine in response, but in a completely diametrically opposed way. Now that she’s got Scorpion King, she’ll no doubt rename him after Marzipan from Homestar Runner or after a minor character in Cats. Or perhaps she’ll name it David Hasselhoff as part of some Gestalt therapy exercise in order to get over her inexplicable fear of The World’s Greatest Lifeguard/Detective (you can’t be afraid of David Hasselhoff if you sit on him every day, right?).

I was going to put off bike shopping until next week. However, while waiting to meet with a client at a busy corner yesterday in the financial district, some bike couriers spotted me.

“Accordion Dude!” said a guy on a Cannondale while making accordion-playing motions with his arms. “Haven’t seen you at Critical Mass in ages! You comin’ tomorrow?”

“Gotta get a new bike first. Gave mine to a friend — hers got stolen.”

“Get one soon. It’s nice weather for a bike ride now.”

He had a point and I had some spare time, so I invited my friend and absolute total bike fiend Eldon to go bike shopping with me.

Our first stop was Canadian Tire (that’s a big hardware store chain for those of you who don’t live in Canada). I’d heard from New Boss Ross that they carried Schwinn Cruisers. It turned out to be a bust; while they had the bikes in stock, they were poorly-assembled and didn’t quite feel right, especially with those coaster brakes. I know they’re more authentic, but I just don’t like them.

We ended up going to Cycle Path, where I know one of the sales guys. He wasn’t there, but a nice sales guy hooked me up with a Trek Calypso with an anthracite paint job, some 1950’s-style aluminum fenders and an aluminum rear basket. I’m more about practicality and style rather than shredding.

(Apparently, getting the rear fender and basket on was a bit of a nightmare for the mechanics; I’m going to have to drop by there with a six-pack by way of saying thanks for all their hard work.)

Photo: The new bike, a late-model Trek Calypso cruiser.

The new bike. The ride on this baby is as smooth, it’s more like a throne on wheels than a bike. This is a catalog photo of the 2001 model. I have the 2002 version, which no longer has the fenders. You’ll have to imagine this bike with chrome fenders and a chrome rear basket. It’s Pee-Wee-riffic!

While we were checking out the cruisers, the shoplifting alarm went off, and our sales guy bolted out the door after the thief.

A couple of minutes later, he returned with a U-lock.

“You know,” said Eldon, “you’ve gotta be dumb if you’re going to shoplift from a store where all the staff are in really good shape.”

“It would make more sense to steal from a store where they’re all couch potatoes, or maybe one where they’re too relaaaaaaaxed, say one like Friendly Stranger,” I said.

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