Gear Prudence: A friend of mine is interested in spending over $2,000 on a new road bike. While that amount is cheap for someone who’s a serious racer, I think it’s a wee too much for a guy in his 40s who is relatively new to bicycling. Part of the problem might be that I have an expensive bike from my racing days. He may think that the more expensive a bike is, the faster you go. I mentioned that bicycling doesn’t work that way but he’s insistent. Should I support this fairly expensive purchase? —Buying Reality Over Kooky Extravagance
Dear BROKE: Your friend wants to splash some cash on a bike that you’ve deemed inappropriately expensive, but GP thinks you’re missing the bigger picture. Assuming your friend is roughly your size, this is prime opportunity for you to score a righteous deal when he eventually forsakes bicycling and decides to drop beaucoup bucks on paragliding or some other midlife crisis hobby. The “used” bike will be worth far less second-hand, and your friend will be ever-so-grateful for your charity.
You presuppose that your friend is truly naive, but maybe he’s just trying to make an investment in a superior product. Perhaps a more prudent purchase will protect your pal’s pocketbook, but your buddy’s budget might befit binging. Try to lead him toward a more reasonable choice, but don’t lose sleep if you fail. It’s still better than blowing his money on a sports car. —GP
Gear Prudence: At a slow pace and giving wide berth—about six feet—I rode by another cyclist with a child in tow. I was surprised when she admonished me for not alerting her of my presence. Is she an overprotective mom or am I too sensitive? —Kindly Indicate Distance, Immediate Closeness And Loudly
Dear KIDICAL: It’s hard to determine after the fact whether the response was justified by your pass, but clearly the cycling parent thought so, and GP is inclined to give the benefit of the doubt to the person towing the precious cargo. Possessors of human children (i.e. parents) are allegedly quite attached to them, and it’s understandable that they might take offense when they perceive their progeny potentially imperiled. The advice on this is pretty simple: Pass a parent towing a child as you would were it just the child cycling by himself. If that means being abundantly cautious—even preposterously cautious—so be it. Give ample warning and even ampler space, and if it means really slowing down, just do it. Kids deserve positive cycling experiences, and even if you don’t have a child of your own, you can contribute by being polite, remaining friendly, and cutting some slack to a frayed parent out for a ride. —GP