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Gear Prudence: I have an exciting opportunity to move to China for work for a two-year assignment. It’ll be great for my career, and my family and I are looking forward to the experience. The only problem is that I have seven bikes and I don’t think I can bring them all with me. My partner says this is a great time to downsize and simplify, but I don’t know if I can bear to see any of my precious bikes sold. What do I do? —Tempting Opportunity Offers Me Anxiety, Need Yuan
Dear TOOMANY: Presumably you’ve already given some thought to the idea of disassembling the bikes and burying the parts about your neighborhood, assiduously mapping the location of each subterranean piece, and pre-ordering a metal detector to be delivered two years hence, but you’re right to wonder if there’s a better way. Selling bikes and simplifying is certainly an option, especially if you can reinvest the proceeds in a new dream bike when you’re once again in the position to do so. But if you can’t quite go through with it, try this: “[Name of friend with a garage], you’re my best friend in the whole world. Could you do me this one small favor?” Repeat seven times. —GP
Gear Prudence: In an effort to be more social and meet some new people, I went on a local bike shop’s group ride. Everyone there seemed to know each other already and I felt like an interloper. While I liked the ride itself (and was able to keep up) and tried to talk to different people along the way, I got a consistently chilly reception. What did I do wrong? Should I go back and try it again? —Genial Rider, Obviously Unwelcome Presence
Dear GROUP: A bike shop group ride is a great way to meet other cyclists, and D.C. benefits from a surfeit of shops with a plethora of options ranging in distance, speed, terrain, and destination (to breweries! to monuments! to parks!). But showing up for the first time at any of them can be intimidating, even for the most personable extrovert. Short of halitosis (why, oh why, must you put garlic in your coffee?), it’s likely you didn’t do anything wrong—you just caught the wrong group on a bad day. Don’t feel compelled to go back, but don’t give up on the group ride enterprise, either. Take advantage of the diversity of local offerings, as different kinds of rides will draw different kinds of bicyclists. You’ll eventually find one you jibe with in terms of riding style, destination, and level of interpersonal interaction. Soon enough, you’ll become one of those cycling snoots sneering at interlopers. Or you could be welcoming. Whatever. —GP