My friend Trisha is on the brink of moving to California. In the process, she’s buying a bike and asked her Facebook friends for a bike suggestion. The suggestions were predictable- buy a Trek, Specialized, Cannondale… whatever. Many recommended going to a bike shop to get fitted.
I recommended a Huffy from Walmart.
Was I serious? A bike from Walmart?!?
Here’s my rationale:
1. You save money. The bike will cost a fraction of the cost of even a used higher quality bike. For a hobo that values experiences over ‘stuff’, that savings is important.
2. Less chance of it getting stolen. Thieves aren’t idiots. They steal things of value.
3. The crappy Walmart assemblers probably won’t adjust it right. I worked in a bike shop for seven years. Learning to adjust derailleurs, brakes, and spokes is an invaluable skill to develop. It’s not rocket surgery and is something anyone is capable of accomplishing. What better way to learn than out of necessity?
4. Self-handicapping is a great way to learn. I’ve talked to a lot of novice golfers (or runners, kayakers… whatever) that spend a small fortune on high end clubs the size of their head but still sort of suck. They’re replacing the skills of their sport with gear that essentially hides their lack of ability. They would have been better served buying a crappy set of wooden clubs and ancient irons that would have forced them to improve their skill set, then go for the high end equipment. Shortcuts have become the American way.
5. Going the shitty route breaks us of our need to buy approval. Our consumerist culture teaches us to gain the approval of others by purchasing goods and services. We like expensive cars, big houses, name brand coffee, expensive wines, clothing with designer brands, etc. because it symbolizes our success. Unfortunately it’s a cycle that leads us to buy shit we don’t need, go into debt to buy the shit, work more to keep paying the bills, and stick with a shitty job we don’t like because we can’t afford to quit. When people ask us how we managed to break free to travel and have cool adventures, breaking this cycle was #1 on the list. Nothing helps break that cycle than tooling around on a hot pink Huffy.
There you have it- five reasons to buy the Huffy. Unfortunately most will read the list and automatically build counter-arguments to each point. We are, after all, rationalizing creatures.
In Other News
Today is the official release date of The Barefoot Running Book! If you’re looking for holiday or birthday presents for all your friends and relatives, run out to the local bookstore and pick up all the copies in stock!