Saturday, oh Saturday.
Since the accident, I have only been on one meaningful bike ride. Indeed, even that was not high up in the meaningful miles charts. That ride was, however, an affirmation of my desire to cycle. Today was the second such ride.
This is a post about the time when I was a naughty old boy and sneak-bought my new bike.
Yesterday, I did a foolish thing. Coming back from the garage, with the Mercedes again being pronounced next to death, I called in at local cycle shop that is run by two cycle-nut brothers.
They are a Godsend in a world where many retailers regard their customers as unwitting punters rather that fellow travellers. These two guys do not charge the earth and have often been advised to charge more. Their loyal customers value them so much that they are prepared to give unsolicited business advice in order to keep them going.
With my car diagnosed as approaching terminal, with my life taking an apparent and surprising upward turn, and dragging my mood with it, I decided to see if there were any bargains.
Bagging bike bargains begs of the buyer basic awareness of of the annual ins and outs of classic races, changing technology, and the use of different colours. A mid-range bike can drop by between 30 to 50% at certain times of year. I was ready to chance my arm as the Giro has just gone, the Criterium is running, and the Tour de France is waiting in the wings. It could be that, just before the rush to buy, there could be some deals to be had.
No sooner had I walked into the shop, that was stuffed with bikes of all sizes, makes and purposes, I saw it.
There was a big orange sign (homemade) that announced the precipitous fall in price from £1595 to £995. My joy was apparent as I greeted one of the owners. I asked for a closer look, for no other reason than to be able to touch and stroke the object of my desire. After that was complete, my spirits were replete; I was besotted.
I had a big IF running to the front of my mind. The IF was that IF he would agree to part-exchange a mountain bike that I do not ride and IF he gave me a goodly price, I would do the deal. A picture of my wife’s disapproval flashed to the surface, but I was sure that she would understand and see the wisdom of my once-in-a-lifetime purchase. I kept thinking that she would understand, hoping that she would understand, forgive me for my moment of temptation at the foot of the bike-tree of knowledge.
I drove home, changed vehicles, and placed my unwanted mountain bike in the back. I told my wife that I just needed to pop out for something and she didn’t ask me what it was. That was a sign.
Once down at the Eden of hope, I presented my Cannondale and he gave me a fair exhange price. I pushed the bartering boat out a little in order to convince myself that I was truly getting the deal of the century and he agreed.
“Come back at 2,” he told me.
2 was still some way off so, when I returned I offered to make everybody tea, gave out compliments as if they were biscuits, told my wife that she was looking beautiful, and kept checking my watch. In moments like this, time likes to play games; it slows and stutters. But I wasn’t going to be beaten even as a dramatic storm had decided to settle poetically on my town.
Finally, and not before eons had slowly sauntered by, I was reunited with the new bike. I placed it in the car, stroked it, told it not to worry (it was only a passing storm) and drove home. I hesitated on the drive, torn between hiding it in the garage or just confessing by placing it in the back room. I chose the latter.
Comic confusion clouded my wife’s face. The words, “Just bought a bike,” entered the air. I ran through the bargain stuff, the stuff about not having bought a bike for ages, the great exchange deal that I got, but still the comic confusion remained. Her weapon was silence, not aggressive silence just resignation; of all the men who had to walk through the doors of her life, it had to be me.
She watched me leave as I set off on the inaugural ride this morning.
“I hope it’s worth it,” she said as I clipped into the pedals.