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Gear Prudence: I’m moving into a new studio apartment and bringing my beloved bicycle. The building has a bike room, but I’ve always kept my bike in my apartment. Space is really cramped in the new place, though, so it seems silly not to use the bike room since it’s there. Is it really safe though? How do I know? —Basically, I Keep Everything Really Organized. Options Matter.
Dear BIKEROOM: A bike room is one of those amenities that sounds great on the tour, but rarely lives up to expectations. Either it’s tucked away in some inconvenient sub-basement or it’s already full of barely used bikes, dutifully deposited on move-in day only to be abandoned for the length of the lease (or beyond). But let’s suppose you’re in a building with a bike room that’s reasonably accessible and has sufficient space. Scope it out. Can anyone with a building key access it, or is it restricted to those with registered bikes? Are there security cameras? Are the bikes inside locked to racks, or just sitting there? And while you’re poking around, check out the quality of the bikes inside. If people with nicer (or more expensive) bikes trust it, so can you. And if they’re wrong, their bikes will be more appealing to thieves anyway, so you should be good. —GP
Gear Prudence: Before Christmas, I told my husband that I wanted to buy him a new bike. We went to the bike shop and he showed me his top choices. He said any of the three bikes he showed me would be an “amazing gift.” Christmas morning, his new bike is under the tree and I can tell he doesn’t love it. He pretended that he did, but I could see it in his eyes. What the hell happened? Why isn’t he happy about the stupid bike that he picked out? —Faker. Indignant Companion Knows Letdown Expression
Dear FICKLE: The only thing you did wrong was to try and make a cyclist happy. It simply cannot be done. (Probably something to do with sitting on such a narrow seat.) Really, there’s no way to know when or how this whole situation metaphorically careened off the road. Maybe when you went to the shop he did have a strong preference between the three bikes but was afraid to say so because he wanted to let you choose the gift. Or maybe he only realized his true preference when confronted with the “wrong” bike. Or maybe in the intervening few weeks, a brand new bike was released that’s now his favorite. Tell him that you’d be OK if he returned it and that you’d rather he have a bike he loves than a gift that neither of you are happy about. Or tell him he’s a jerk for putting you through this whole charade. Or both. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.