Saturday, April 21, 2007

Bike Envy

I’m getting another severe case of object-envy. “Object envy” is when I start thinking that if I just buy this one cool thing I can turn my life around. This week, it’s a bike. The above bike actually.

I have a bike that I actually found on the side of the road four years ago with a sign saying “free.” It wasn’t bad so I grabbed it and I bought a new seat, a helmet and paid $40 for a tune-up. Problem is that in four years I’ve ridden it maybe a dozen times. If that much.

I’ve just never been very comfortable on a bike. Some of it is that I’m afraid of cars. Some of it is that I have a problem with balance. I actually fell off my bike once because I was unable to “jump” off the seat in time to keep myself from tipping over. Today I learned why that happened: my bike is too big for me. It’s not a matter of adjustment of the seat, it’s just the wrong size.

It wasn’t until I was at the bike store that I realized that being on a bike didn’t have to mean that my wrists should hurt (another issue, after 10 minutes of riding I’m putting a lot of stress on my wrists because the handlebars aren’t really very adjustable). That bike is like riding a chopper. It’s awesome. I started to think “hey maybe I would like biking if I was riding this.” (I don’t even have a bike rack for my car at the moment).

But the above bike is $460. There are slightly cheaper models, but after taxes and paying a bike shop to put it together it’s still going to be close to $375-$400. And considering I haven’t used my bike more than 2-3 times a year it’s hard to justifying spending that much on the theory I might do it more with better equipment.

I get this way about things sometimes. Last item I got really crazy it was about a set of kitchen chairs. I finally got them (at a good price) and I do love them. I do sit at my kitchen table more than I used to. But did it change my life? No, of course not.

Living in a materialistic society that encourages you to think you can buy your way to happiness sometimes makes it hard to decipher when you can buy something to make an improvement on your life. There are always things I want to buy because they just give me pleasure. Sometimes they are cheap, like a salt/sugar rimmer for cocktails ($8). Sometimes they are expensive like my iPod Nano ($230). It's the concept of "buying this makes me cool." Whether its technology or a better-looking rug.

It’s easy to glorify exercise purchases. It’s easy to think “if I just buy (this exercise-related purchase) it will make me healthier and justify its expense.” But if it’s just a case of object-envy I’m not sure that a bike is anything different then the chairs I bought. After all, they’re both places to park my ass.

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