The plan was to meet at 11 AM get the bike, grab some lunch and possibly go for a ride. You need to understand though that Dad is NEVER on time for anything. In fact, it is quite normal for him to show up 1-2 hours late and that is on a good day! So knowing this, I was not pressed to be there by 11 sharp! I got there at 11:30. Dad showed up 45 minutes later!
The tech guy goes and gets my bike. Brings it out. Looks at me. Looks at the bike and says, “How tall are you?” Of course his tone of voice is one that says he has a pretty good idea already and doesn’t REALLY need to ask this question but does anyway. I tell him 5’7″. He shakes his head and says, there is NO WAY this bike is going to fit you!
What?! Well, I got fitted at a store in GR. It should be right! What size did my dad buy? Well, this is a 48 cm frame.
WHAT!?! That can’t be right. I told him I needed a 51-52 cm. After the first hour long conversation with dad about why borrowing a bike from him won’t work I could not imagine that he would have knowingly bought a bike too small for me. He is too particular for that. Too anal is probably a better way to describe him.
The guy checks the paperwork. Yep, it is correct.
I call dad. WHERE ARE YOU? I told him about the bike and whatnot. He confirms he did buy a 48 cm bike. He thought it would work, because it looked bigger than another 48 cm bike in the store. Sigh. This is my father. While he is still on his way, I ask the sales guy if there are any other bikes in the other Michigan stores in this model.
Nope. The thing is that this is a closeout sale. They are getting rid of all 2009 bikes so they can bring in the 2010 bikes. So there is not even a chance of any coming in either. So, we begin looking at other options. Dad gets there and begins telling the guy (Chris) all about me and how I am swimming and running and now biking and all sorts of stuff my dad really knows very little about. He is making me out to sound like I am going to be doing an Ironman next year! Chris can look at me and know that is not true! So I interrupt. I figure this is ok to do, since ultimately the bike is for me, it has to fit me and my needs and be able to work for my immediate and long term goals, of which I know those best.
I explain. I am a newbie. I don’t know what I am doing. My goal next year is to COMPLETE without dying a few sprint level tri’s. The following year would be to COMPLETE without dying a few Olympic distance triathlons. I wanted a bike that will work for that and be able to grow with me should I want to take this fascination I have further, understanding that at the price point dad is paying, if I get serious the bike will need to be replaced at some point. But for now, I am NOT setting to break any records other than my own PR’s which would be going from slowest to slow!
Chris says, “Well with THAT info, I have a great bike, in fact, I don’t know who sold you THAT bike, but knowing this info, I would not recommend that one anyway. The drop bars on that are great, but can be really tiring on your back if you are not used to riding and if you are not all about shaving time off yet, you don’t really need that hand position. He pulls down this black bike with flat handle bars. It looks kind of like a mountain bike, but with the skinny road tires. It didn’t look like a sleek road bike. But, I gotta hear Chris out. He explains that once I get to the point of wanting to care about my time, I can switch out the handle bars or I can add a pair of tri-bars to the front and get the same aerodynamic position that comes from those two things. This will help it to grow with me for a while before needing to replace it completely.
I took the bike out. It flew! It was so fun! So effortless! It would work.
So we are getting the bike. Now comes the crazy adventures.
So I had brought my own helmet into the store when I knew I would be test riding the bike. The guy takes one look at it and says, “That will need to be replaced.”
He explains that helmets need to be replaced every 3 years or so. Something about the foam hardening and the way it breaks on impact and its ability to protect your noggin over time.
OK, so we need a helmet.
Dad wants a white helmet with these reflector things on it, for safety.
Now I am not opposed to safety. But if I gotta look like a dork with a helmet on my head, I want one that is the least dorky possible. Which means no additional reflectors! I picked out a black/silver helmet to go with my BLACK bike. Dad didn’t like that. He tried to tell me that black attracts the heat and it will be that much hotter on my head. He then tried to get the salesman to buy into that theory and get him to convince me that the white one was the way to go.
I give this guy credit. He knew who was paying and he had to please that person, but he also could understand my perspective as an ADULT rider. He very carefully told my dad that the helmet is gonna be hot no matter what, but did not state any opinion about the added reflectors. Good man! But let’s check out the clearance table first before we decide. I found a cool looking red and black one. My first choice would have been green and black, but they didn’t have it. Red it was. Dad finally relented because at least red was more visible than a little strip of silver on all black!
Helmet is settled. On to lights. He insisted I have flashing lights on my bike. Knowing him, I was envisioning a giant spotlight illuminating my rear end as well as one off the front. Thank God for the sales guy who showed us some very effective and small lights for front and back. They flash if I want them to, but stay steady if I don’t. Now that I have them, I kind of want a red tail light that will flash to the tune of “Baby Got Back!” HA!
At this point, I am thinking this is all that is necessary. Dad however is still set on a horn. At this point I hung my head and groaned. I looked up at the sales guy from behind dad and just shook my head. NO! Dad proceeds to talk about all the benefits of horns. He then turns to me and says, “I am sure all your biking buddies would agree with me Kim!” HA! I can see Coach now with a horn on his bike as he speeds down the road at 20 mph! Especially the kind dad wants me to get. The fog horn…for boats…on my bike! So not cool! But cool factor is NOT going to convince dad I don’t need one. So I told a sort of lie. I told him Coach said I didn’t need a horn and it wouldn’t benefit me in the triathlons to have one. The truth is, when I told Coach the day before dad was talking about a horn and what kind, he busted out laughing! I think that reaction gives me latitude to assume what he might have said.
The sales guy was wonderful. He began to talk about how your voice is the best thing to use. Dad argued with him. The sales guy won him over with the fact that to honk the horn, my hand would have to come off the handle bar to honk it, which is not safe to do in a situation where you need full control of your wheel should you need to maneuver quickly. Dad relented. I could have kissed this sales man right then and there!
Moving on. Jerseys. Now I know that there is no article of clothing in this store that is going to fit me at this point. Not yet. But dad is not picking up on my hints about this in front of the sales guy, although I think the sales guy is and is trying to be polite about it, by not encouraging dad in this regard. Dad points out a screaming yellow jersey. For safety and visibility he says. No dad. Again I am not opposed to safety. But I don’t want to have to get to the point of trying this thing on in the middle of the store to prove to him that it doesn’t fit. I insist I neither want nor need a screaming yellow jersey. He relents.
Padded shorts/shammies-OK, I know, I need these. I also know, my pair of these are NOT going to be found in this store. Dad is not clued in to my signals still, but again the sales guy is. Dad wants to see what they have in the shammy liners that you wear under regular clothes. I notice, there is nothing to fit me, of course. Dad is asking how they work and whatnot. The sales guy is explaining but not pushing a sale. He knows. I am certain of it. Dad keeps pushing. Finally I just know, I am going to have to say something about pushing clothing for me in this store. So I did. I told him that while I recognize the need for this item, it is not going to be found for me in this store, that I will have to go online for it. He wants to know why. Seriously? The sales guy, (again I could kiss him) walked away at this point since he realized this could get embarrassing for me. I finally spelled it out for dad and while he still looked like he didn’t quite get it, he relented.
Cyclometer- Well, if we are not getting you clothes then you certainly need one of these! Nope, I don’t. Not yet. Ok, my dad is also a gadget guy in addition to a “sale” guy. So, at this point, while he wants to get me one, it is also feeding the monster within him to buy it because it is a cool gadget and on sale. I am also quite certain that while it would be cool, it is not going to be the thing I need most of all…and frankly he has already spent a lot of money on me. He keeps insisting. The sales guy is picking up my vibe and again not actively encouraging the sale. Finally, I said, “Look, if you just want to spend the money, then give it to me and I will go online and buy the padded shorts, because frankly of all the things I would want or need, those are on my top priority list.” Hmm…Suddenly he didn’t want to spend the money. He wanted to justify buying a cool gadget! Ha! I know my dad!
By now, I have been in the store for 3 hours. Chris, the tech guy has already put on my lights, and oh the cage and water bottle that were picked out. We are almost done. I think. Throughout the day, I am taking little breaks…just walking away from my dad for a bit. Patience with him is not my strong suit. 3 hours in a store with him is a bit much. Breaks were necessary. Fortunately, Coach was willing to text back and forth with me, and to see the humor with me…So I am now waiting at the front counter. I am done. Whatever else he wants to look at and consider, he can do on his own.
Oh wait…nope…he passed the gloves. Of course I would need gloves right! I thought this was a purely safety item and was nixing it right away. No. I do not need another item. Especially ones that have all sorts of protective stuff on them and just look like they would be hot! Note- now that I have ridden a little bit, I now see the need and practicality of gloves and they have moved up on the priority list…as well as the clipless pedals (which by the way is dumb because they actually have clips to snap your shoes in to!) that I also refused!
And that my friends is how I came to get a road bike!