A few weeks ago I thought about buying a bike. This is a big step for a (former) runner, to contemplate crossing the threshold from self-propelled to seated. So with a little more excitement than I'd care to admit, a buddy and I walked through the doors of a well credentialed bike emporium.
First priority: helmet.
A young guy came to offer his help and was indeed helpful in narrowing down the selection. I do wish that some of the groovy kids designs, with watermelons and fun things, were made in boot head sizes for adults. Heavy sigh. White and very practical helmet it is.
Second priority: knicks. When I first went out riding, I underestimated just how sore my lady bits could possibly get after just an hour in the saddle. I thought maybe I'd "toughen up" as time went by. Not so much. And walking like I've ridden a horse for 40 days and 40 nights isn't really my thing. As practical as this purchase would seem, I just couldn't bring myself to wear lyrca with what's effectively a built-in nappy. Sore bits for me. Hurrah!
Then I saw the bikes. Rows and rows and rows of bikes. Very helpful young guy must have been on a break, because BAM - intense older guy came in for the crush and destroy mission. Now, I'm sure he's a really top bloke. Obviously very passionate about his bikes. He's a historian after all. Rode the first version of some race that means nothing to me. Described the way wheels are made, and frames are shaped, and handlebars are angled, and..... WHOA dude.
I literally started to hyperventilate. This guy was seriously intense. I could feel my credit card shrivelling up in my wallet. It was a full-on sales assult.
When we were driving away in fits of laughter, it occurred to me that I'd heard so much about him, his passion and which bike he'd recommend for me, but at no time did he ask me what I want it for, what type of a rider I am, or even my budget.
I fled because I felt that I was being sold to. I hate that.
The funny thing is, if helpful young guy served me, it's possible I would have ridden out of there with a $1,000 bike. If someone is trying to "sell" you something, rather than listening to the problem you're trying to solve (and mine was the fact that I can't run anymore but still want to be mobile and part of my tribe's training) there's very little chance you'll make a confident purchase.
Lessons come where and when you least expect them. If your ears and heart are open.