When I was about 10 years old, my parents bought a Huffy bicycle for me, as all my friends had nice bikes...I remember pestering the parental units long enough until we went to K-Mart and bought the shiny BMX style bike. It was a great day when I got to bring that bike home. Never mind that I was a 10 year old that really didn't know how to ride a bike...
In my life, I have had but 3 bicycles...the aforementioned Huffy, a 10 Speed I picked up somewhere for less than $100 in my teens, and a Mongoose mountain bike I bought at a warehouse store on clearance just a few years ago.
Recently, after the 4 year PhD hiatus, I realized that "Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic" can be hard on ones body...I gained about 45 pounds while completing the terminal degree...hmm, maybe this is why it is "terminal." At any rate, the body has its own geometry functions and calculations, and in your mid to late 30's with little physical activity due to mental activity, the body chooses the path of least resistance. To curtail this weight gain phenomenon, as I must confess, with the doctorate comes a level of freedom in employment that few, if any people are ever lucky enough to achieve; I got the mountain bike out and took the girls for a ride around the neighborhood...thus an epiphany: I am not a mountain bike kind of guy.....I am not a race bike kind of guy....I am somewhere in-between. Confused consumer....maybe.
My darling wife suggested I find a different bike. My post-ride aching knees, elbows, lats, and ham strings agreed. I first looked at brand names I have known over the years, Schwinn, Huffy, Mongoose, that easily came to mind. This evoked set of brands was limited at best, as I really have had little if any "biking" experience over the past 37 years. I quickly learned that my brand recall greatly reduced my evoked set of bicycle possibilities. Limitations of this nature are not a good thing, as this reduces the chance for optimal outcomes!
On a recent family outing, my wife further suggested I stop by a bicycle specialty shop, to which I did several days later (still aching from the ride in the previous paragraph). Upon entry into the bike shop, which I accidentally entered from the wrong door somehow, I was quickly amazed at all the different types of bicycles...gone are the days of the simple 'ass for every seat' 10 speed. I saw race bikes, mountain bikes, and when approached by the friendly and knowledgeable sales staff, quickly learned that bike companies are very aware of my life cycle stage. Companies such as TREK, Specialized, and FELT are aware that there are a big number of GenXers such as myself in the 'what happened to my body' life stage. In fact, the bike company FELT actually segments their business market into 12 different product categories. This is the ultimate "something for everyone" strategy--road, fit woman, fitness, track, mountain, urban, and cafe to name a few. Oh, and, this nice market segmentation effort comes with a sweet little price point of hundreds and even thousands of dollars.....for a bike??? You bet!
I spotted a HUGE black and red FELT Cafe 24 Deluxe. Boasting three sprockets and 24 speeds rocked out by a Shimano Sora 3400GS rear derailleur, this thing has better paint on it than my first three automobiles. With Tecktro V-Type brakes rivaling that of my TRD Toyota FJ Cruiser, the bike is even equipped with a cup-holder, sort of the SUV of the Urban Assault Bicycles, or the Cafe Cruisers as they are also known. With the addition of a large "saddle," (they no longer call them 'seats') rack, fenders, and a handy little saddle bag that attaches under the seat, you are ready to roll in style. Even hardcore bike guys, such as my friend and colleague Nick Gerlich (DrG), like the FELT Cafe. Wow, a bike that a big guy like me can ride and still be admired by the race-bike guys...sweet! A bike that adapts to your lifestyle, not the other way around....even sweeter!
I never thought I would spend so much on a bicycle. I didn't realize that there was "that much" difference in the old Mongoose and the new Cafe 24. Learning is a wonderful thing. I brought the bike home, and zooming down the streets with smiles on our faces, the girls and I again rode around the neighborhood.
DrD "FELT" like he was 10 again.