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Gear Prudence: I have a serious problem. My friend is doing a triathlon for the first time, and while she’s great at running and swimming, she doesn’t have a bike. She doesn’t want to buy one either and instead has asked me if she could borrow my bike. In principle, I have no objection, but I just bought it and I am very, very wary about lending it to her. If anything happened to it, I’d be devastated. But I want to be a good friend. Help! —Lacking Empathy, Need Direction
Dear LEND: This is a tricky one, and GP is inclined to follow the sage advice of Polonius, who despite being wise was stabbed while behind an arras, which is very much suboptimal.
Not wanting to lend a brand new bike is very understandable—its newness makes it even more precious and preciousness is easy to covet. But, really, what’s the worst that could happen? Could she ride it into some body of water? Could she crash it into a bunch of other hapless triathletes and scrape the frame and destroy the components? Could it be stolen from the transition area by George Clooney et al. in the lamest Oceans reboot yet? Yes, all of these things are possible and, actually, quite likely. Don’t lend it. Tell her that you’re using the bike that weekend. She’ll find another. It’ll be fine. —GP
Gear Prudence: I’m a bike commuter and I have one water-bottle cage on my bike. For most of the year, I use it to transport my coffee mug. But it’s summer now and I’m often parched. Should I swap out my morning coffee for some ice cold water in a water bottle? Or is hot coffee the way to go even in the heat? —Too Hot, I Require Some Tap
Dear THIRST: The easy advice here is to tell you to split the difference and fill your mug with iced coffee, thereby achieving the caffeination you demand and the quenching you need. But GP doesn’t take the easy way out. The solution here is to equip your bike so that it can do both. Add a coffee cup holder to your handlebars and use your bottle cage for the water. Alternate drinks as needed. No bike commuter should choose between coffee and water (both are excellent drinks, with distinct, but vital purposes on the bike commute—especially in the summer), and you can forestall the Sophie’s choice by being slightly more ingenious and spending just the slightest bit of coin. There are many models of coffee cup holder, and you can consult your local bike shop for one that works best for your bike and your style. Once you get used to being able to access both beverages, you’ll never want to do without either. It’s totally worth it. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who tweets @sharrowsDC. Got a question about bicycling? Email firstname.lastname@example.org.