1/30/11

Pining for a New Bike: Bianchi Volpe edition

On weekends I go to bike shops because I'm generally pining for a new bike. I have two bikes currently and would definitely sell one to justify (ex post) the purchase of another bike. Having three bikes seems obscene in a way that having two doesn't. One of my bikes is my daily commuter- a Trek hyrbrid, that's a pretty much do-it-all kind of bike. I've had it for about a year and a half. It has fenders, a rack, and SPD-SL pedals. I use it Monday through Friday and it covers the 7 miles each way to work admirably. But I'm looking for a bike that I can take for longer rides and I'm just not convinced that this bike is as comfortable for distances greater than my normal commute. This need, of course, exists in an alternate universe, where I'm a different version of myself who regularly takes longer rides. When I went to look at the Volpe and explained that I wanted to take longer rides, he was like "cross country or like to Baltimore?" and I was like "Yeah, Baltimore. Like to Baltimore." Now, do I have any plans to ride to Baltimore? Do I have a good reason to ride to Baltimore? No on both accounts. But do I live close enough to Baltimore that someone of my age, relative skill level and inclination could reasonably make it there? Sure do, and that was apparently good enough for me to bluff the bike shop guy (and myself, I guess) into thinking that I need a bike that can not only get me to work but could also get me to Baltimore.
And I believe that the Volpe fits the bill. It's basically a great bike and I liked taking it for a test ride (in jeans and Chucks and about three quarters of a mile up Lee Highway.) And another one of it's biggest selling points is that its there and that I could ride it- the other bike I've been pining for exists to me only on the internet, the Salsa Casseroll. I go back and forth on the name of this bike. Having a bike named after both a delicious tomato-based condiment and a baked dish popular in the 70s probably has some cachet and some alt-hipster cred, but the main reason I would want the Casseroll is simply because it's a great bike with great features and looks like it would be a near-perfect commuter/trip to Baltimore bike. But it's not here and I can't take it for a test ride, to say nothing about biking it off the lot (out of the shop) today. Plus, when I went to the local bike shop that is the listed dealer of Salsas in the DC area, the guys there seemed more interested in selling me a Surly Long Haul Trucker, another highly functional but ridiculously named bike. LHTs, as they are referred to on bike message boards, are beloved, but I just don't think it's the bike for me.
So, I ultimately think that I'll go with the Volpe. I'll sell my Trek to defray some of the cost and to make sure that I hold myself to some modicum of reasonableness by not having three bikes (that's more bikes than legs.) I begged off from buying the Volpe today by explaining to the bearded salesman, not the Russian/Ukrainian salesman, that I needed to call my wife since this would be my third bike purchase in 18 months. He didn't try to pressure me exactly, but he suggested that I tell her that I could run errands using this bike. Big mistake. He should have just said, buy the damn bike so your wife doesn't have to hear you keep talking about bikes and dragging her to bike shops on weekends when she'd much rather be doing anything else (though she is very patient with me and I love her for that). I did call her, but she didn't pick up and that was ok. I'm sure she would have been obliging and told me to get it, but I'm not really sure that today was the right day anyway. It's hard to be rational about this purchase, but I'd rather not make a mistake since it's both a significant financial and emotional investment.

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