Note: This blog contains some DRAMA and HYSTERIA.
A year ago, my friend Sarah let me borrow her mountain bike. I only rode it for three to five minutes, but during those three to five minutes I popped wheelies, skidded out, and learned that a mountain biking life was the life for me. When the three to five minutes were up, I gave Sarah her bike back, shook her hand, and vowed to buy one of my own.
I spent the next two weeks researching bikes and telling everyone I met that I was going to get one. Truly everyone. When my work computer broke and an I.T. man—a man I’d never spoken to before—came to fix it, I asked him about mountain bikes.
“I.T. people like doing fun activities, right?” I asked. “You ever done the fun activity of mountain biking before? I did it for a few minutes the other day. I’m into it.”
The I.T. man had mountain biked before, and he endorsed it as a fun activity, too. Ready to commit, I went to a bike shop the next day and tested out a couple. The day after, I forced Curtis to come with me to the bike shop to check out my favorite—a Haro with 27-inch wheels. Day after that, I forced my friend Josh—a biking sort of man—to go and check it out. Day after that, I made my purchase.
The bike shop people were damn fine at what they did, and they upsold the eff out of me. When I first started thinking about getting a bike, I looked at bikes on Craigslist listed for $200 or less. By the time the bike shop people were done with me, I had dropped more than half a G on one. Yet like the tires on my expensive ass new mountain bike, I was pumped up. Pumped up, at least, until the bike shop people made me sign a waiver.
“All right, we just need you to read this, initial here, here, and here, sign here, and you’ll be all set,” a bike shop person said.
“Pass it heah now,” I said, taking the waiver from him and beginning to read it over. “Let’s see … ‘When you fall down, it’s not our fault.’ I could fall down on this thing, you say?” I asked the bike man. “I do not care for falling.”
I kept reading. “‘We recommend you wear a helmet, so you don’t hurt your head when you fall down.’ Again with the falling! Bike man, are you saying that I will fall while biking down mountains on this mountain bike?”
He nodded. The rest of the waiver read much of the same way: You are going to get hurt, and we are not responsible. I’d already paid for the bike, so I sighed, signed the waiver, and wheeled it out. It was the most immediate case of buyer’s remorse I’ve ever had. I instantly regretted my purchase and hated the bike.
Still, I knew I had to give it a chance. (Actually, I called the bike shop and asked about their return policy. When I learned they didn’t have one, I was forced to give it a chance.) I took the bike to some trails near my house. It was a little bit fun, but mostly it was tiring and scary. Later that day, I listed it on Craigslist.
I found a buyer in Massachusetts. We did a trade—$400 and his older mountain bike for my new Haro. I figured it was a good deal, and I’d still have a mountain bike. Remember, I told everyone about it. It’d be embarrassing to admit defeat that quickly. It took at least a month or two more for that—to admit defeat
HERE’S WHERE THE DRAMA STARTS
Remember just a few moments ago when I told you about mountain biking on the trails near my house? And how it was a little bit fun, but mostly it was tiring and scary? Well, with the mountain bike I got from the Craigslist man, I decided to give trail riding another chance. Seemed like a good way to get exercise for myself and for my dog, Dizzy.
On October 26, 2014, I took Dizzy to those trails. I let him off his leash and rode my bike alongside. We faced adversity. I texted the story of this adversity to my friend the same evening it happened. I’m going to include those texts here, so the raw emotion is as strong as it was that October day.
I’ve since sold the second mountain bike, too.
(But I just bought another one for one million dollars because I CAN’T HELP MYSELF.)