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Old 05-08-11, 09:49 AM   #1
NOS88
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With tears in her eyes, she was trying so hard.

Coming upon the base of the last hill before getting home. I spotted a young woman off to the side standing over her bike with head down. So, I pop over and ask if she is OK. She looks up with tears running down her face and says, "I can't get my new bike to shift." Yep, she's got a brand new Madone 5.9 with the chain on the large chain ring. I don't care who you are, you're not likely to make it up this hill with the chain on the large chain ring. It tops out at 17%. I dismount and ask if I can help. She shows me what's wrong, as she pushes both left side brifter levers to the right at the same time. "See, it won't shift." I show her the right way to shift onto the smaller chain ring by pushing just the smaller lever. Turns out she bought the bike yesterday, and when she asked about shifting, they said, "It's easy, just push the levers." Now I notice that both her knees are bleeding. She's started up the hill two times, run out of steam, not been able to unclip, and joined club Tombay. Each time, she returned to the bottom of the hill to try again! You got to love the tenacious spirit. OK, she's now in the correct gear, and I lead the climb up the hill. At the top, she's grinning from ear to ear. Made my day.
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Old 05-08-11, 09:54 AM   #2
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You made her day also.
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Old 05-08-11, 10:05 AM   #3
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Chalk one up for the good guys.
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Old 05-08-11, 10:10 AM   #4
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You did a cool thing man. It shows that the cycling spirit is alive and what jerks the people were where she bought the bike. If I were her, I'd think twice about going back to where she bought the bike and seek out another LBS that will help out and not just assume.
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Old 05-08-11, 10:16 AM   #5
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Good story.
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Old 05-08-11, 10:16 AM   #6
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Awesome. You earned 100 Good Karma Points. Too bad the shop didn't take 5 minutes to better explain how to use her bike. After all, she did drop a few bucks on it.
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Old 05-08-11, 10:45 AM   #7
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Awesome. You earned 100 Good Karma Points. Too bad the shop didn't take 5 minutes to better explain how to use her bike. After all, she did drop a few bucks on it.
Get her phone number? Just kidding.

I sold a road bike to a neat lady who had never ridden one before. It was her idea (I was leaning her toward a hybrid), but we did the test ride together to show her how everything worked.

She's back home now, in Japan. Last I heard from her, she did a charity ride for the earthquake victims. Way to go.
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Old 05-08-11, 11:06 AM   #8
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Living proof that chivalry is not dead. Nor should it be....

Good on you....
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Old 05-08-11, 11:17 AM   #9
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I made the same guilty mistake yesterday- Someone who has ridden before and I loaned him one of my bikes. 10 miles to the cafe and on the way back I decided to check if the bike was right for him. Asked him to go into granny and it wouldn't. "See" he said- "I push the lever and nothing happens" Same reason- pushing both at the same time.

Now this is someone who does not have his own bike but has borrowed his Father-in-Laws spare one. I assumed that he knew enough to ride the bike- but F-i-Ls Bike- Downtube shifters.

But I reckon Phone number would be the minimum requirement- Then you can invite her on a ride to help her in her future problems. And invite her to join the 50 + if she is eligible or as a mascot if young enough.
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Old 05-08-11, 11:34 AM   #10
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You da man!
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Old 05-08-11, 11:41 AM   #11
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Sweet. Kudos. You got yourself a big dose of (good) karma. We should all be real nice to you, for a few hours anyway.
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Old 05-08-11, 11:47 AM   #12
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Wait, she spent FOUR THOUSAND dollars on a bike and doesn't know how the shifters work?
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Old 05-08-11, 12:07 PM   #13
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Uh it sounds like whoever sold her the bike assumed that she knew how considering that she was spending $4K. Most people who spend that kind of money are experienced cyclists who are probably on their 3rd or 4th road bike before they spend that kind of money.

I've heard all sorts of stories about people who spend that kind of money and don't have a clue about cycling.
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Old 05-08-11, 12:10 PM   #14
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Nicely played, NOS88, nicely played. Did you also show her the FD trim feature, or will that be lesson #2 the next time you encounter her?
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Old 05-08-11, 12:13 PM   #15
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What a great story! Made my day too.
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Old 05-08-11, 12:15 PM   #16
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That reminds me of that lady I helped last year, when she laid her bike down. She couldn't push it and was wondering why. Her brake caliper was jammed against the wheel. Anyhow great job, you made her day.
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Old 05-08-11, 12:19 PM   #17
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Now why do I never encounter damsels in distress?
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Old 05-08-11, 12:25 PM   #18
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Wait, she spent FOUR THOUSAND dollars on a bike and doesn't know how the shifters work?
Happens in every field. I've known people who drop five grand on a camera body and more on pro-grade lenses and haven't got the first idea of how to use it. Sadly some people think that spending money is the way to get ahead, and if they spent more than you did then their gear is better than yours and therefore they are better than you. Not all have that "better than you" mentality, but I'll bet this damsel in distress had a lot of cash to burn and figured she might as well buy a nice bike as a regular bike. Still pretty shabby that the shop that sold it didn't check how much she knew about what she was buying.
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Old 05-08-11, 12:27 PM   #19
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Good on you! Just the kind of thing we need way more of. Everybody is somebody's hero. On that day you were hers.

Those who try to excuse the shop for not completely checking her out on the bike controls need a reality test. There is No Excuse for not going through each and every control and operation of a new piece of machinery with the new owner. If the new owner already knows all then the checkout can be very brief. If not, it may take some time. That the bike was expensive has no bearing on the issue. The shop dropped the ball big time.

As for her buying something expensive without knowing how to use it: Don't be so quick to judge and by judging put blame on her. That may have been a comfortable ride for her and the shop took advantage of her lack of knowledge to not suggest something a bit more economical. We don't know. What we do know is that a few minutes of Good Samaritan brought joy to her and that she had no more troubles. Too bad the people who made the profit off her didn't do that and really earn their money.

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Old 05-08-11, 12:35 PM   #20
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I've never used brifters, either, and would probably try to use her technique to shift and also wind up crying at the bottom of a steep hill.
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Old 05-08-11, 12:37 PM   #21
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Now why do I never encounter damsels in distress?
Reminds me of the other day in one of my local parks... lovely park, about 2500 acres with a few trails and quiet roads. One of the roads is reserved for parks vehicles, pedestrians and cyclists so it's great to ride. Anyway, I encounted an older lady pushing her bike along a section that was completely flat, so I slowed to see if she was OK. Turned out she cycled to the park and walked around the park to enjoy the views (there are some punishing hills in the park, which she didn't like to do) and then cycled home. So she was perfectly OK, but appreciated the check.

Unfortunately not really a damsel in distress, she was easily old enough to be my mother. But there ya go...
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Old 05-08-11, 01:16 PM   #22
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That was so nice of you NOS88! I'm sure she will enjoy that bike - if she has the spirit to keep trying that hill, even after falling down, she'll be riding $4k worth soon enough.

When I saw the title of this thread I first thought it was going to be about coming across a woman who had been left in the dust by her SO after he asked her to go for a ride with him, then he went roaring off down the trail, or road, leaving her alone. Then he wonders why she does not love riding!

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Old 05-08-11, 01:34 PM   #23
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I'm wondering if her bike shop even did a fit for her when she bought it. When I got my road bike, the LBS set it up on a trainer and did a quick fit for me and had me check out the shifting since I had never used brifters.
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Old 05-08-11, 03:07 PM   #24
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Good job, NOS88! That's the way to help a fellow cyclist. I feel bad for the young lady--here, she's spent considerable bucks on a bike that she can't ride correctly. If it is really as she described--that her LBS basically just shoved her out the door with virtually no instruction--I hope she has a big, burly boyfriend she can sic on 'em.
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Old 05-08-11, 03:12 PM   #25
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That was very kind. You are the kind of person who should be in a bike shop! Did you tell about BF's??
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