After my post last week about the ratty-ass bike from Sports Authority, another blogger accused me of being a bike snob. It seems that every time I write something about crappy bikes, someone calls me an elitist and points out that such bikes might teach their owners learn to love riding. Yeah, yeah, yeah, I know.
Coors Light teaches a lot of people to love drinking beer, and I don't know a single beer-loving bicyclist who wouldn't make fun of somebody for drinking that piss in a can.
I'm not really that much of a snob. I'm more of a critic of shitty consumer products. I don't expect everyone to ride $2,000 bicycles, but I think it's pretty stupid for consumers to be unaware that they'll get much more for their money by spending $400 in a bike shop instead of $125 at Wal-Mart.
Most people wouldn't buy a $10 clock radio from a no-name brand when they could get a Sony or Sanyo for $20, because they know they'll probably end up being late for work when the crappy product breaks. Why should a bicycle purchase get less thought or attention?
I'm glad there are cheap bikes available for people who can't afford anything better. And I admire people who pull bikes out of Dumpsters or buy them at yard sales for a few bucks and then fix them up enough to make them functional and use them every day to get to work or to run errands. Whether they do it out of passion or necessity doesn't matter—it's a cool and noble thing to do.
But to go out and buy a piece of junk because you don't know any better, or because you think a modern bicycle shouldn't cost more than what your parents paid for a bike 25 years ago? That's just dumb.