|I know what bike Dan Gilbert would ride.|
He also pulled out some other Jamis road bikes that had carbon forks and were way outside of my budget. But, since they could accomodate racks and fenders, I guess theoretically they could work as commuters. I don't think he was trying to upsell, but he was just mostly excited about these bikes and since I was wearing tights and a biking jersey, maybe he thought, I would be excited by the idea of a carbon fork and racing geometry.
I decided to take the Surly Cross Check for a test ride. The Cross Check is basically an everything bike- a steel frame Cyclocross style bike that can fit a rear rack, fenders, and wire tides for a sort of gravel path ride or could be stripped down to thinner tires and be used for more of a road style bike. My only reticence about the Cross Check was due to the bar end shifters. Rather than being integrated with the brake levels, bar end shifts (behold my descriptive powers) come out of the end of the bar. I suppose this makes them moderately inconvenient. Apparently, though, they're easily replaceable so if "for example, you're in the middle of South America," according to my salesman, they could be easily fixed and replaced. I would have to be rather off-course on my daily ride to find myself in the middle of South America, though I suppose if I accidentally biked off a bridge and fell onto a barge heading to Baltimore and was accidentally mixed in with its cargo (Obama merchandise maybe) that was loaded onto a container ship bound for Uruguay, then yeah, it would be convenient to have this kind of shifter because invariably the result of the plummet from the bridge would have caused some damage.
Anyway, he pulled the pedals off my bike and put them on the Cross Check. The Cross Check was a little too small, but still rideable. It was a robin's egg blue, but it also comes in black. My test ride consisted of a few times up and down a few city blocks. At first, I couldn't quite figure the bar end shifters, like which way they went vis-a-vis the gearing. But I go used to it relatively quickly and actually enjoyed them- having brakes and gears so close together makes me kinda antsy, like I should always be shifting gears, which is totally unnecessary. The steel frame really smoothed out the ride and my ride home on my Trek felt bumpy and jarring, though that might have just been I street. I sorta fell in love with the Cross Check in a way that, looking back, I just didn't with the Bianchi. It might just be too many episodes of Top Gear, but I'm just not entirely convinced about the mechanical durability of anything Italian. Surly is from the good ol' USA (Minnesota, so it's still blue America- inshallah) and in a pique of patriotism, I decided that it was the bike for me. It ticked all the boxes and more than anything else, it just felt right.
Next step was calling the wife. She didn't pick up. I tried again. Nope. I checked my email. From a half hour earlier, there was an email that read something like SO HUNGRY. This was supposed to be a quicker trip, that culminated in my bringing home lunch, and I was (selfishly) running later than I expected. This was an account of the salesperson's thoroughness, which I my mind, would be something that she would appreciate. The quality of customer service in DC is so bad. Anyway, I told them at the bike store that I would call them after I got home. I restarted my phone because sometimes the phone loses the ability to make calls mysteriously and I was finally able to reach her. Here's my synopsis of the conversation with creative licenses taken. DISCLAIMER: All conversations recorded in this blog are based on my general understanding of them (and their subtext) rather than an accurate reflection of what was actually said.
ME- Hi. I'm at the bike store. I love this bike
ME: Yeah, I think it's the right bike. I'm trying to decide if I should get it.
HER: Don't care. Sandwich.
ME: Yeah, I'll get some sandwiches on the way home, but should I get the bike now or call them later or...
HER: Don't care. Sandwiches. Please. So hungry.
ME: Yeah, I could get sandwiches or I could get the makings of sandwiches. You know, buy a man a sandwich, give him lunch for a day. Buy a many sandwich ingredients, then feed him lunch for multiple days.
HER (clearly losing patience with my overall asininity): Don't care. Get bike. Come home. Bring sandwiches.
ME: Yeah, bike. Woo hoo! Sandwiches later. Love. Sorry. Love.
So, I went back into the store and I ordered the bike. Not the robin's egg blue (which just earned a disappointed scoff from my wife, who did get her sandwich but like a good ninety minutes after the initial plaintive email), but the black. Here's a picture: