Right around Christmas, I started thinking about purchasing a new bike this year. During Holiday Break, Chris and I did a little preliminary browsing at the State College and Altoona Dick's Sport Goods stores, as well as a bike shop in Altoona. The sales guy at the Altoona shop gave me a lot to think about - the kind of bike I wanted and the kind of riding I'd like to do.
Back at home, I started doing some internet research. After a while, I settled on the idea of a hybrid or multi-use bike (different manufacturers call them different things). To keep my research in one place, I started a "Bikes to Consider" board on Pinterest. Among the bikes I'd earmarked for consideration was the Specialized Ariel, a multi-use bike. Someone from Specialized actually commented on my Pinterest board and engaged me in conversation about the bikes I'd pinned.
The more I looked at the bikes, the more I focused on just two - the Motobecane Jubilee Deluxe and the Specialized Ariel. The Motobecane sells for $400 and is sold by BikesDirect.com. The Specialized retails for $550 and The Bicycle Shop in State College carries Specialized bikes. While the price of the Motobecane was certainly attractive, I was really skeptical about buying a bike sight unseen and, more importantly, not test ridden.
On Thursday of this week, I called The Bicycle Shop to see if they had an Ariel in stock. They did, but it was a 2012 model. The sales guy explained that because it was last year's model, it would be 20% off of the retail price, or $440. "Well, now!" I thought. A $40 difference in price between the Motobecane and the Specialized was just enough to entice me into the store to see it in person and test ride it. $40 would buy a lot of peace of mind; $40 was worth being able to see it, ride it, and establish a good relationship with my local bike shop! Besides asking what the shop's Saturday hours would be, I asked another very important question - what color was the 2012 model? (The 2013 is blackberry and silver.) The answer? Blue! (Right on!)
Fast forward to this afternoon when Chris and I arrived at The Bicycle Shop. Ben approached us and asked if we wanted to see anything in particular. I said, "Yup. That one!" and pointed to the Ariel. He asked if I wanted to test ride it and, again, I said, "Yup!" The tires were already aired up; Ben just needed to adjust the seat height and - after handing off my purse to Chris - I was out the door. I didn't make it very far; the seat height was still too high! I couldn't touch the ground! I opened the shop door, caught Ben's attention, and said, "The seat's still too high!" He came outside, lowered it some more, and I hopped back on. "Ahhh, that's much better," I said before setting off on my 10-minute test ride through West Campus.
I absolutely loved the bike - the rapid-fire shifters, the light-weight aluminum frame, the coil-sprung fork, the 700c tires, and the riding position. As I was riding, I thought to myself, "This is so much fun! I could just keep going! I wonder how long it would take to ride up to OPP (where I work on campus) and back?!?" I decided against that. After all, I'd left Chris wandering around the shop! Instead, I returned to the store grinning from ear to ear. Chris opened the shop door so I could bring the bike back inside and I told him how much I liked it. I asked, "Can I get it?" and he replied, "I don't know, can you?!?" and smiled. I said, "I'm getting it!!!"
With that, another sales guy (whose name I didn't catch) came over to ask what I thought. I told him I absolutely loved it and that I wanted to go ahead and buy it! He took it downstairs for a check-up/set-up by the service guys (I did ask that the brakes be adjusted slightly to engage sooner). I was giddy with excitement while we waited. At one point, I grabbed Chris and said, "I'm so excited!!!"...kinda like Toby from Seinfeld.
About 10 minutes later, I was paying for my new bike! We wheeled it outside, put the back seats down in Scooby, took off the front wheel, and loaded my new blue ride into my old blue ride. When we got home, I took it for a VERY CHILLY spin around the neighborhood. And with that, I am SO OVER winter (which is probably good considering it's now spring!) and ready for warmer bike-riding weather. I'd like to get out a few times a week after work, which will be great for the Biggest Loser Challenge I'm participating in at work! And I'm already making plans to take my bike with me to the beach this summer and riding in the mornings.
So, without further ado...check out my new bike!!!
|Thanks, The Bicycle Shop!!!|
|One goes "Vroom-vroom" on its own; the other requires sound effects! :)|
|Side-by-side blue bikes...and a spousal photo-bomb!|