Friday, December 10, 2010

Bicycle Shopping (or how to get a friend to buy a bike)

The formula for the perfect number of bicycles to own is N+1, where N represents the number of bicycles you currently have.

I already find myself a slave to this formula and have purchased three bicycles since I’ve been here! Un/fortunately, the first one was stolen so I have two currently, my Shelby and Rose. Even though I purchased Rose at the first of October and still haven’t suited her up, I find myself browsing Craigslist daily for coveted bicycles. Maybe I need a Dutch style loop frame city bike! Or perhaps I’ll find that perfect Brooks saddle. $70 for four lights, a cable lock and a multitool? OK! Ooh, what’s that, a vintage Raleigh Lady’s Sports? Is that my size?

Thankfully, I’m pledging to dress up Rose before I buy another bicycle, and that is taking some time. To still indulge in my browsing addiction, I began to slowly and methodically convince my co-worker and dear friend that she needed a vintage bicycle.

Perhaps bicycles make me a bit devious.

Nevertheless, I planted the seed. “Look at this blog post,” I said, pointing her to LovelyBicycle’s excellent essay on buying vintage vs new. “Don’t you want something timeless, and has already lasted a long time?” Next came beautiful pictures of loved bicycles, with stylish accessories and matching saddle & grips. How could any chic lady resist? It wasn’t just mischievous ME convincing her; surely the bicycles contain a siren song all on their own.

We spent a week browsing craigslist daily for the perfect bicycle. What color? what size? what type? Here in Southern California many of the electroforged Schwinn Varsity and Surburban bicycles float around. They’re fun, with bright colors and a retro flair. But surely... surely, “wouldn’t a stately Lady’s Sports fit your style so much better?” The Raleigh bronze green with many tweedy pictures sold her. A wanted posted on Craigslist turned up a beautiful, mostly complete specimen with almost perfect paint. An hour of looking and riding and negotiating later, and I got a new bicycle vicariously!! My envy cannot be hidden, for truly the bicycle is gorgeous and she loves it. She even sent me glamour shots a few days later with her adorable dog.

Now, who to shop for next?

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