When I was younger I rode my bike all the time. I haven't kept up with it much these past few years but even so, each spring I like go down to a nearby bike shop to take a look at the new bikes. Without a doubt they'd try to sell me on one of the new spring bikes with frames made of the newest space-agiest super light materials and featuring all the latest and exciting innovations and gimmicks.
Well this year I actually didn't even think about checking out bikes until one day Patrick was talking about getting one. That very day I happened to be returning movies at a video store in the same strip mall as a bike shop, so I walked in and found some cool bikes to look at. Within seconds someone intercepted me and I readied myself for the sales pitch. Normally I dread salespeople bugging me, but I look forward to hearing about the bikes because these days this is my total education in the new things available in the world of bikes. He asked if he could help me and I said sure. He looked at the bikes I was looking at and didn't say a word about any of them. He looked towards the far end of the store and said somethign I couldn't really understand. I asked him to repeat it and heard, "Have you seen the", and his next words I still didn't really hear, he said "Tring Bikes?" I know I've been out of the loop when it comes to bikes, so it didn't surprise me that I had no idea what a Tring Bike was. I said I hadn't, so he smiled happily and turned around to take me to them.
I had heard "Tring Bikes" but as it turns out the actual words were "touring bikes". The bike he took me to was so very different in style from the bikes I was just looking at. It actually had a women's style frame - I didn't even think they made bikes like that anymore! I smiled quite uncontrollably when I saw it, and I think the salesman took this to mean that I approved. In reality I was silently laughing at the amount of reflectors. I think it had 14!
I'm used to getting assessed differently by salespeople these days, but this really entertained me. Last year they tried to sell me a bike with full suspension, this year the feature my salesman felt I needed to see was the double-wide seat with adjustable levels of springiness. Last year I was shown a bike with hydraulic brakes. This year I was shown a bike with upright handlebars, so I could ride in a sitting position and don't have to bend over (and presumably hurt my delicate back I suppose). Last year each bike I was shown had tires that looked like they were modeled after a monster truck's, but this year the salesman made note that the tires on touring bikes were very smooth, making for less vibrations so I don't "hurt" my hands. Do many women hurt their hands that way? Yes this was a bike that was a lot less rugged, built for people who are also a lot less rugged. The salesman didn't mention it, but I noted that the bike came complete with the screw holes necessary for fenders and perhaps a basket as well. Sigh... the salesman assessed me differently alright, and I guess these days I don't look like I should be out riding a mountain bike. These days they decided a full-featured granny bike with all the bells and whistles (it literally did come with bells and whistles) is more my speed.