I have refrained from commenting on the Boston Marathon Bombing for two reasons. First is that I have to give something like that 72 hours before I’ll comment. Generally speaking, I was so pissed that my comments wouldn’t contribute anything of value. The event really hit me hard so commenting would not have been wise. Truth be told I still can’t detach myself enough, I’m still too angry so I’ll remain (semi) silent, for now.
The second reason is that it’s been normal for quite some time for the media, as a whole, to run off at the mouth, generally quite stupidly (I’m working on another post to illustrate my meaning here). I’m not a dipshit so I’ll keep my keyboard quiet until we learn something of value.
My heart breaks for the families that will have to overcome untold challenges to get back to a normal life after this.
To the perpetrator(s): Land of the Free, Home of the Brave, bitch(es).
My wife and I went out for our first ride together since we picked up her Specialized Secteur road bike, yesterday afternoon. As you can see, the clouds were a little ominous but it was warm enough (a t-shirt and my cycling jacket were a touch much) and the rain held off until we got back – that made four riding days in a row and I couldn’t be happier, it’s about time. We’re expecting some serious storms later on today so it’s a toss up whether I’ll get out or not. Tomorrow afternoon looks promising (though windy – 30 mph!) and Saturday and Sunday will definitely be ride days. The ten day forecast looks a little chillier than normal (50’s as opposed to the normal 60’s) but that’s nothing I can’t live with. The photo below was taken as we were heading west with the wind at our backs – at 22 mph… We had a great ride and I’m looking forward to many more.
I’ve had an interesting back-and-forth with a guy who goes by the nickname Saltyvelo over the last couple of days about a quick post I wrote the other day in which I expressed interest in purchasing a Specialized Venge at my local bike shop as soon as I had the cash (about $3,300). He left a comment recommending a Motobecane instead, stating that he could pick one up for less than half the price that I’d pay for the bike I wanted. Now my nose works pretty well so I can smell something fishy when I get close enough… I made the point that I would be getting more bike than he would (they have to skimp somewhere). He responded with a link to “Bikes Direct” that did indeed show a full carbon Motobecane with Ultegra shifters and derailleurs (FSA Crank and the cassette “may differ”) for $1,600.
The Venge, on the other hand, comes with the Ultegra Cassette (to match the shifters and derailleurs) and the exact same crank (only in my size, 172.5 mm, not 175). So you’ve got two bikes, the Venge at $3,300 and the Moto at $1,600… I know Specialized is a little more expensive, let’s face it, someone has to pay for all of the free stuff the pros ride on and Specialized is everywhere in pro cycling while Motobecane isn’t… Still, $1,700? Specialized is pretty competitive, we should only be talking about a couple or a few hundred dollars – so I checked out Motobecane USA’s website… Sure enough, that bike, while it does have an Ultegra Crankset, the list price is only $100 less than the Venge… Something strikes me as fishy. Fortunately Saltyvelo sent a link to the sale at Bikes Direct (dot) com – and that particular bike is only available in 51cm and 56cm sizes – with the straight top tube I would need a 58. So what gives? If I had to guess, Bikes Direct gets the overstocked bikes (odd sizes, last years models etc.) and sells them at a discount. Now, if you really know what you’re getting into you can figure your way around all of the sizing pitfalls (crank arm length, stem length etc.) but I don’t necessarily fall under that category. In addition, Bikes Direct will ship the bike to you in pieces. When you get it you have to put the thing together, run the cables, adjust the derailleurs, brakes, put the bars together, the whole works… When I get my Venge, I’ll have my wife drop me off at the shop, I’ll put the pedals on, adjust the saddle and I’ll ride it home. Also, if there’s anything I don’t like about the setup I can have the shop adjust it whereas I’d have to do all of that myself with the online bought bike.
So I put the question to you: If money wasn’t an object, because for me it won’t be, which would you prefer? The bike you want put together for you which will benefit your local shop (I am now friends and ride with the owner), or a bike you could probably live with and savings that equate to about six bucks a month spread out over the life of the bike… *The photo below is from Bikes Direct of a comparable carbon bike that they had the proper size in stock – it’s $200 more than the recommended LeChampion.
For me, it’s a no brainer. At my age this will be one of the last bikes I buy. I don’t want to have to look at my bike sitting in its corner of the spare bedroom and wish that I’d gotten the one I wanted – and I want to know that I did my part to support my friend and a local business at the same time – it’s worth no headaches.
I’m not saying that going the online route is wrong, it’s just not what I want to do.