$159.69? you MUST be kidding!

By pedaling emmet

It’s a good thing I’m wealthy.
When I went to pick up my battered, 20-year-old Trek 750 Multi-Track last week, I was staggered by the bill. Yes, it had been frozen solid on Manteo, and then drenched in a 1,000 mile trek (pun intended) from Spring Hill to Portland in a relentless driving rain, while perched in an automobile bike rack.
In retaliation for my shaggy treatment, the Trek decided to shift for itself, especially on the nearest hill. That will get your attention and possibly, get you killed. It needed attention, professional attention.
Poor baby.
But $159.69?
I was about to tell those entrepreneurs at Sidecountry Sports in Rockland to keep the bike. Then, I realized how long I had the bike, how much I used it and how much I misused it. The bike doctor had put the Trek on the operating table and carefully showed me the broken, rusted and worn out parts before he started.
Out of guilt for my Spring Hill and Manteo actions, I told him to go ahead.
But 159.69?
He showed me the bill with $15 for cables, $50 for a full tune (that never happened before) $2 for a shift housing, $4 for another cable, $24.95 for Shimano CASS SHI Cs-HG41 (I knew I needed that) $14.95 for chain links, $9.95 for brake pad cantilever (they squeaked) and $9.95 for new handle grips (Hey, why not?)
Naturally, I had no cash and put the bill on the first credit card that fell out of my pocket. My shock at the bill evaporated on the first ride up Cobb Road. The bike shifted when I told it to. The brakes no longer had that banshee sound and it felt like a brand new machine. I discovered anew that a 20 mile bike trip in (flat) Florida was comparable to 3.5 miles in (hilly) Maine.
Puff, puff.
Any residual shock disappeared when I got my June edition of my favorite mag, Men’s Journal. For me, MJ is the magazine of things I will never do, nor buy. But I love it just the same.
If memory serves (it rarely does) The Trek 750 cost about $400, 20 years ago. That was a major investment for me.
MJ says I am a piker.
If I were an “endurance racer” which I am not, MJ recommends The BMC Grandfondo GFO2, for a mere $2,099 (without tax). In case you didn’t know, some bikes are built for speed, some for comfort. This baby was built for both with “hair trigger responsiveness and aggressive cornering and acceleration.” That sounds a little scary for those trips on the Withlacoochee.
I have no friends. But If I did and we all went for a ride, MJ recommends the Diamondback Podium Etape for a whopping 2,300. For your money, you get “an effortless, elegant, nimble light bike that’s adept at stage races, spirited group rides and long summer days in the saddle.”
If I had $2,300 to blow on two wheels, I would not need those biking friends. Imagine leaving a $2,300 bike leaning on the Amnesia Bar in Spring Hill while you went in for a pop and a hula hoop viewing.
Whatever the opposite of the competitive type is, that’s me. But If I were a go-for-broke guy like David Grima, MH recommends the Giant TCR Composite 1, for a trifling $2,550. If I had a $2,550 bike, it would ride inside the car and I would sit on the bike rack.
For your riding pleasure, the TCR offers “a featherweight frame and a wrist-flicking responsiveness and-thanks to a huge bottom bracket (I have one of those) enough watt-wringing stiffness to tear up any path.”
Watt-wringing? That’s why I just love MJ.
I don’t know about you but I tear up no paths. Like the walking track at the Camden YMCA, I pass no one on the bike. I waddle along (walking and riding) listening to Bonnie Raitt on my head set till I feel actual sweat rising on my aging body.
Then, I stop.
$2,550 is a little rich for that. By comparison, $159.69 is a steal.