Well, I did it. I went and picked up a Trek FX 1 Disc today and promptly found out just how out of shape I’ve gotten.
First, a stock image of my purchase:
The first shop I visited lost a sale. I was pretty much ready to order if not in stock and they looked busy, so I expected their inventory to be potentially squashed. I did see a large version of the bike in day-glo yellow and knew it wasn’t my size or color when I started checking it out. Some old guy working for the place (who didn’t look like a biker, but like a dad helping out the owner) came over asked me if he could help me with anything. I said I was interested in the above and in one of the other models and he was quick to point out that the large was far to big for me and they didn’t have mediums. Okay, I said, I get that, but… “Here’s one that’s cheap and we have in stock.” I looked at it and gave every indication of interest, but needed to think for a moment. I had done some research earlier on the one he pointed me toward and the problem I had with it was there was absolutely nothing to be found in the way of reviews on the bike. That tells me that no one found it interesting enough to review. So… cheaply made was my guess. I checked it out anyway and found it heavy and kind of ugly to boot. Plus, it had knobby tires, when I specifically said I didn’t intend to go off-road. At most, I had said, I was maybe going to his some maintained gravel trails. Not my gig. So, I went back to look at the big, yellow beast to inspect it and decide if I should ask for them to order the version I wanted. “I told you, that’s too big for you,” he jumped in to say. I raised an eyebrow and left.
In other words, he wanted to make a sale, not make me a satisfied customer.
I was frustrated, wondering if I should have actually gone there Thursday when they still showed inventory.
I checked another dealer in the area and they showed having inventory on several of the bikes I was interested in (see previous post). I figured I would at least be able to try one or two of them. I had already largely decided on the FX 1, but wanted to visually compare the models.
Within moments, I was approached, but in a non-aggressive manner. “Hey, you got any questions? Or do you need time to browse?” Introduced himself, shook my hand remembered my name although he helped others while I did my considering. Immediately showed me the other models I was looking at, gave me a comparison of expectations… and then said the magic words: “We can talk about all these things, but you wont know for sure if it is the right bike if you don’t take it on a test ride. Why don’t you do that?” He pointed me me to an incline behind the store. “Why don’t you try that hill there a few times to see how it shifts and operates. Make sure that the posture is good for you so you don’t aggravate your bad back” I’d mentioned having some back issues. He’d also taken the time to give me options for the handlebars to change my posture if I wanted to keep the speed that would come with the FX 1 over the more casual riding design of the others.
And then left me the fuck alone to contemplate. And… although he had a couple considering a $6k e-bike purchase, he asked if he could leave them so he could help me when I indicated I had made a decision to buy my sub-$1k choice. Then he set me up with a few minor accessories with no pressure to add anything else. Had those installed and the bike given a once-over by the bike tech before he sold it to me. Then, he registered the bike for me so I could have the warranty active immediately, made sure I knew what I got from the shop for buying a bike and tossed in a water bottle.
This was 180-degrees different from the old guy trying to make a quick sale.
I popped it into my minivan, drove home and gave it an introduction to the neighborhood.
And discovered… I am totally, utterly, completely out of shape. That’s not a criticism of the bike, which performed better than almost everything I’d ever owned in the past, including the racing bike I loved so much as a kid. Almost no obvious change when you shift gears, but suddenly you have more power. Very smooth and stable. And I even hit a few hills without needing to stand up (like I needed to with my older bikes).
But it was fun, even though I could get rid of my “biker legs” for almost an hour (trying to cycle when you walk).
I can’t wait to get out again tomorrow.