Sunday, April 02, 2006

Brighter days

I managed to forget the whole time-change thing Saturday night, so I was a little bummed to realize Sunday morning that I got up an hour later than I thought. But then something cool happened: When I climbed on the indoor trainer for a 90-minute spin, my bike’s computer was showing the correct time for the first time since last fall. Cool.

Anchorage is still a sloppy mess. An inch or two of snow Saturday night didn’t help. But by mid-day, with the sun blazing and the temperature shooting up, I was loving the sound of water flowing through gutters and downspouts. I leave this week for a few days in Juneau, Haines and Sitka, and I’m hoping to come back to halfway decent riding conditions if the weather stays good.

Spring fever’s busting out in people who haven’t touched a bike all winter. You can see it in the handful of people pedaling around with muddy stripes up their backs.

When I stopped by Costco this afternoon, I watched a little boy excitedly choosing a new bike helmet. A few minutes later, I saw him and his parents again as the dad held the rear wheel of a new bike a few inches off the ground and tried to get the wheel to turn. They were already near the cash registers before they noticed the problem. The piece-of-crap bike was assembled so poorly that the brake pads were clamped down on the rim.

I resisted the temptation to say something, even though I wanted to encourage them to go to a real shop for a decent bike. They didn't exactly look affluent. The kid was probably lucky to end up with a new bike at all. It didn't seem right to butt in. Who wants a perfect stranger telling them they chose a bad product? Maybe it was a big family moment for all of them. Maybe that bike was the most they could afford and they didn't need some know-it-all snob making them feel bad about it.

And the happy kid knew he was only a few feet away from the registers—the promised land that would make the bike his. To have his parents put it back and leave without a bike would have broken his heart.

The dad looked like a guy who works with his hands. He looked like he was already working the problem, trying to figure out what it was so he could fix it. I hope so.

Because his little boy had a serious buzz on over his new stuff.

And that kind of buzz should last all summer.


Shawn Kielty said...

Or a lifetime.

Michelle said...

Good post, reminded me of when I got my kid her 1st bike, it was a big family moment with a cheap bike, but a great memory. She immediately ripped off the pink and purple streamers from the bars and took off. I've been trying to keep up ever since :)