Monday, April 30, 2012

Meijer and the mountain bike noob

here's a headline you'll never see on TMZ.

"Bear Grylls weds "24 Hours of Moab" Champ TraciNell!"

first, I've seen what Bear puts in his mouth--my lips aren't going anywhere near that. and two: I'm not... proficient at riding a bike. no, seriously.

twenty years ago,* I happily rode a mountain bike to and from work on my favorite sidewalk. but then... (cue shudders of anguish from the horror!) tragedy struck. before I could scream out "BOB'S YOUR UNCLE!" (for my British pals) I was tumbling/flying/collecting gashes, scrapes, gravel embedded in flesh, blood, my body splayed unladylike under a parked Honda Civic, with a broken fingernail!!

that's right. I couldn't even navigate a 36" wide, flat, not-a-crack-in-site sidewalk! this has been a huge embarrassment/trial for me in my life. you wouldn't believe the discrimination against non-bike riders (in China), and the disdainful looks from the Camelbak-wearing cool clique at parties. sheesh, give a traumatized girl a break.

so with tanked self-esteem, and party invitations scarce, I accepted that I was a loser.

until I went to Meijer...

it's Christmas time, I'm in the DVD area looking for some last minute stocking stuffers, but all that's left are all 17 seasons of Barney (that plushie reptile creeps me out) and Chevy Chase's Vacation sequels--the bad ones (I didn't need to qualify that).

"I would like to look at your mountain bikes, if you please."

this statement from behind me, gives me pause. I look up to double check that I am still inside Meijer and haven't somehow been transported to REI (my fellow Star Trek geeks are working very hard on transporter tech, it could happen).

"my grandson wants one for Christmas to take back to college."

I nonchalantly turn to see who uttered such ridiculous words inside a Meijer--even I know there's no way a mountain bike would be caught dead in the superstore.

bingo. elderly gentleman, cart filled with water bottles, lycra shorts with butt padding, a book about mountain biking, fingerless gloves, and a helmet... for skateboarding.

my eyes travel from soon-to-be-despised grandpa's cart, to the man himself, flinging a leg over the bike a Meijer associate pulled out for him. it's a black jobber with orange flames, the lightning-bolt fonted words "HOT-WIRE" emblazoned across the frame, in multiple places.

klaxon alarms sound off in my head, the hair on my neck stands on end. no, not from the HOT-WIRE, but from Meijer crazy grandpa just a few yards in front of me. my hand lets Christmas electrocuted Chevy Chase drop back into the economy DVD bin, then grabs hold of my cart.

"don't spook the crazy," I whisper. "DON'T spook the crazy." I slooowwly back up my cart, as I watch grandpa's Dr. Scholl's loafer connect with the pedal.

and he's off! gaining speed, presumably to get in a proper test drive. I've reached a safe distance when grandpa and I both realize-- he has no idea the HOT-WIRE is equipped with hand brakes.

a blur of brown faux leather back pedals impotently. it's no good, impact is inevitable! for the love of humanity, someone stop him! I'm horror struck, flash backing to my own accident (on a real mountain bike).


several minutes later, and a corrugated DVD box/bin clean up, grandpa is at the u-scan across from me, lifting the HOT-WIRE high enough for the scanner to read the tag dangling from the frame. yep, never occurred to him to remove the tag and scan that instead of birthing a Christmas hernia.

what a noob.

*I have since gotten "back in the saddle," but I only ride on neighborhood streets, no sidewalks, and I'm always on alert for Honda Civics. I know they're out to get me.


  1. This is hilarious! Meijer really is a superstore isn't it!?

  2. It's all true, I have no idea what I would do without it. :)

  3. As a veteran of three mountain bike crashes, I gave up biking, owing to having used up three of my lives in quick succession. Writers should not bike and chew gum at the same time. You will be judged later in life for your words and not your scares and bruises.

  4. Amen, Michael. Amen.