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  1. #1
    Lover of Old Chrome Moly Myosmith's Avatar
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    Face Palm - Some People Just Don't Get It

    Last evening I had yet another conversation with someone who just can't grasp the concept of a bicycle as serious transportation or fitness equipment for adults. The man I was talking with is about my age and like me has had some recent heart problems. He struck up a conversation because his wife and doctor are pushing him to get into better shape and he knew that I have lost a lot of weight over the past several years and that I ride bicycle. After talking for a while we determined that he wanted something suited for mixed paved and unpaved rural roads and maybe to take to the lake on weekends. He is over six feet tall and quite overweight so he wanted something "sturdy" and was asking for suggestions for a good bike. I suggested a couple of models that sounded like what he was looking for, including the Surly Ogre, which I had seen at an LBS. He liked the sound of the ogre and asked how much they cost. Not knowing for sure, I estimated between $1,000 and $1,500.

    "WHAT? A grand for a bicycle?" he said half shocked, half scoffing. "I'm not looking for some expensive racing bike. I just want to ride around and lose a few pounds."

    We talked about entry level hybrids or CX bikes but were still in the $500 - $900 range which he still thought was "ridiculous". He wanted something for a "couple hundred bucks" and I told him he should probably consider a used bike. I got an eye roll when I told him that a good brand name bike, used, could still cost a couple hundred.

    Now before anybody brings up that not everyone can spend a lot of money on a bike, you should know that this guy has a snowmobile and a four-wheeler, each worth $5,000+, as well as a camper and a fishing boat with trailer also worth a fair bit of change. He probably has several thousand invested in hunting and fishing gear, all of which he considers reasonable. He's not going to be on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but he is not without resources.

    I pointed out that my stay in the hospital last year cost me about $2,000 a day so if staying fit kept me out of the hospital just one day in ten years, a bike would easily pay for itself. "Yeah, I suppose," he said. From his tone I assume he isn't going to be riding any time soon.

    Why is it that people can't grasp the value of a good bicycle when they will spend hundreds or thousands on any number of other items without batting an eye?
    Last edited by Myosmith; 02-06-14 at 06:25 AM.
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  2. #2
    Have bike, will travel Barrettscv's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Why is it that people can't grasp the value of a good bicycle when they will spend hundreds or thousands on any number of other items without batting an eye?
    The guy is looking for some lame excuse. Ask him how much a fatal heart attack or how much a funeral will cost his family.
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  3. #3
    Senior Member Jim from Boston's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Last evening I had yet another conversation with someone who just can't grasp the concept of a bicycle as serious transportation or fitness equipment for adults...

    Why is it that people can't grasp the value of a good bicycle when they will spend hundreds or thousands on any number of other items without batting an eye?

    Quote Originally Posted by Professor Henry Higgins
    ”Why can’t the English learn to speak?
    I had book-marked this post a few years ago, as an excellent description of American’s attitudes toward the bicycle:

    Quote Originally Posted by irwin7638 View Post
    I've found that most Americans think of bikes in three ways: children's toys, exotic toys for fitness fanatics and transportation of last resort for the impoverished and disadvantaged. It's socially acceptable for an adult to dress up like a circus acrobat with friends once a week, run around in circles as quickly as possible with no other purpose or destination, but to ride a bike somewhere for a purpose implies some sort of need and is looked upon as an act of desperation.
    It took me a couple of readings to figure out that the adults who dress up like circus acrobats and run around in circles are joggers.

  4. #4
    Senior Member rumrunn6's Avatar
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    sounds like he'll come around
    cycling is like baseball ~ it doesn't take much to make it interesting

  5. #5
    Senior Member Retro Grouch's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    Why is it that people can't grasp the value of a good bicycle when they will spend hundreds or thousands on any number of other items without batting an eye?
    Try comparing the price of bicycles to that golf clubs. I don't golf but I'm thinking the relationship should be pretty close except that you don't have to pay green fees every time you go bicycling.

    I've sometimes said that a bicycle is the ultimate affordable status symbol. Park a $30,000 bass boat and trailer in your driveway and the neighbors might not even notice. Casually drop the comment that you paid 1/10 of that, $3,000, on a bicycle that you still have to pedal and they'll think you've got money to burn. Either way you're trying to buy "fun" with money. If you think that it would take a fancy bass boat for you to have as much fun as I have bicycling, I say go for it.

    Considering the ages of me and my friends, I make sure they're sitting down whenever the cost of my bicycles becomes a conversation topic. I had one fellow ask me "Did it cost $1,000?" I just told him "More than that." and let it drop. Those people will never understand.
    My greatest fear is all of my kids standing around my coffin and talking about "how sensible" dad was.

  6. #6
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    When I first started riding it took me a bit to get used to the sticker shock. When you are used to paying toy prices from a xmart it is a bit to adjust to. After I rode more and tried out better equipment and clothing the value in said items was more apparent.

  7. #7
    Senior Member Lanovran's Avatar
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    With bikes, like so many other kinds of things, you get what you pay for. Here in the US especially, you can try comparing it to cars. What quality of car can you get for $1,000 vs. $15,000 vs. $30,000? Now extrapolate that principle to the quality of bikes worth $100 vs. $1,000 vs. $5,000. It seems pretty simple to someone like me who rides bikes, works on bikes, sells bikes, etc., but it's sadly an enigma to those who are new to the world of "bikes beyond Wal-Mart." I mean, I've had customers drive up to my shop and get out of their $50k Audis and fancy cars, only to walk in and scoff at a $1,200 price tag on a mid/entry-level road bike. I don't get how they always seem so surprised.

  8. #8
    Senior Member no motor?'s Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by DataJunkie View Post
    When I first started riding it took me a bit to get used to the sticker shock. When you are used to paying toy prices from a xmart it is a bit to adjust to. After I rode more and tried out better equipment and clothing the value in said items was more apparent.
    I think that's the same for a lot of us, especially the ones who quit bicycling when they learned how to drive and we find the prices had gone up since we quit riding a bicycle that was likely a gift.

  9. #9
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Well, lets face it the price difference between that bike you buy for your kid at Walmart and the entry level bike at an LBS is pretty large.

  10. #10
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    Quite a few people have been conditioned to think that bicycles are something you buy at Walmart for $100.

  11. #11
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Quite a few people have been conditioned to think that bicycles are something you buy at Walmart for $100.
    Exactly. Then you tell them an "entry level" bike is ten times that amount. There is a market for those bikes between the entry level LBS bike and the Walmart bike and that's where the online vendors like bikesdirect make a killing. For some people a bike is a consumable product. The whole bike not just the tires, tubes, and brake pads.

  12. #12
    Humvee of bikes =Worksman Nightshade's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post

    "WHAT? A grand for a bicycle?" he said half shocked, half scoffing. "I'm not looking for some expensive racing bike. I just want to ride around and lose a few pounds."


    Now before anybody brings up that not everyone can spend a lot of money on a bike, you should know that this guy has a snowmobile and a four-wheeler, each worth $5,000+, as well as a camper and a fishing boat with trailer also worth a fair bit of change. He probably has several thousand invested in hunting and fishing gear, all of which he considers reasonable. He's not going to be on Lifestyles of the Rich and Famous, but he is not without resources.


    Why is it that people can't grasp the value of a good bicycle when they will spend hundreds or thousands on any number of other items without batting an eye?
    Many people have very narrow paradigms about value vs money since they never learned how to gage the life value of what they own.

    They have been so brainwashed by modern marketing they never think to try anything outside of their box.
    My preferred bicycle brand is.......WORKSMAN CYCLES
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  13. #13
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    Quote Originally Posted by rumrunn6 View Post
    sounds like he'll come around
    I'm thinking not. All of the "toys" and activities that the OP posted about his friend frequently are connected with considerable beer drinking. My wife and I know people who go hunting and frequently the only thing they bagged was a hang-over. As we bike along the rivers here in Pittsburgh, I can't help but notice that many boaters seem to be imbibing along the way. That would be like having a tallboy beer can in your water bottle cage.

    Quote Originally Posted by Lanovran View Post
    I mean, I've had customers drive up to my shop and get out of their $50k Audis and fancy cars, only to walk in and scoff at a $1,200 price tag on a mid/entry-level road bike. I don't get how they always seem so surprised.
    Uninformed shoppers. How can anyone walk into a specialized shop and not have done at least a rudimentary amount of research on the internet to gain at least a baseline knowledge of the product?

  14. #14
    7-speed doomsday prepper ThermionicScott's Avatar
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    Sounds like he just doesn't want to ride bikes, especially since he's being told that he "should." I think the only way to sell it is the "fun" angle. If that doesn't take, I'd let the issue drop.
    Quote Originally Posted by chandltp View Post
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  15. #15
    Senior Member RPK79's Avatar
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    I hope he doesn't start. That way more bike riding for me!

  16. #16
    Life is good RonH's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Barrettscv View Post
    The guy is looking for some lame excuse. Ask him how much a fatal heart attack or how much a funeral will cost his family.
    +1
    When someone gives me a similar lame excuse, I just ask him or her what his or her health is worth.
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  17. #17
    Senior Member
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    Quote Originally Posted by njkayaker View Post
    Quite a few people have been conditioned to think that bicycles are something you buy at Walmart for $100.
    I've noticed Costco has been selling cars for a few years now. Wonder what will happen to the automobile manufacturers when Walmart starts selling them? Will the typical reaction to a $50,000 SUV then be similar to the current reaction to a $1,500 bicycle now?

  18. #18
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    Quote Originally Posted by pdlamb View Post
    I've noticed Costco has been selling cars for a few years now. Wonder what will happen to the automobile manufacturers when Walmart starts selling them? Will the typical reaction to a $50,000 SUV then be similar to the current reaction to a $1,500 bicycle now?
    It's not likely that Walmart (or Costco) will be able to sell cars that are 1/10 or 1/5 of a normal car price. If the price is 10% less than the normal price, I'd be surprised.

    Costco doesn't exactly "sell" cars anyway (as far as I understand). They negotiate a price (and get some cut as a service fee) with the actual company selling the car.
    Last edited by njkayaker; 02-06-14 at 03:12 PM.

  19. #19
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    You did give him the perfect excuse to not get into bike riding. It's what he was looking for. bk

  20. #20
    rugged individualist wphamilton's Avatar
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    $1500 is kind of high-end for an entry-level first bike, IMO. Show him some cheaper alternatives, he might accept 500 or 600 price tag.

  21. #21
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    Quote Originally Posted by wphamilton View Post
    $1500 is kind of high-end for an entry-level first bike, IMO. Show him some cheaper alternatives, he might accept 500 or 600 price tag.
    There are plenty of decent hybrids in that range. Would it be a lifetime bike? Probably not, but it would be of sufficient quality to see if he's going to stick with it. Performance Bikes have some flat bar road bikes (Fuji and GT) is that range.

  22. #22
    SuperGimp TrojanHorse's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Myosmith View Post
    I pointed out that my stay in the hospital last year cost me about $2,000 a day so if staying fit kept me out of the hospital just one day in ten years, a bike would easily pay for itself.
    If he's just looking for fitness (and we know he's really not) running shoes are WAY more cost effective. Most people that dawdle around the lake on their bike aren't really exercising anyway, they're just not sitting on their couch.

  23. #23
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    He is FAR better off with a $89 WalMart bike than any other choice.


    He will not use anything that he buys for more that 3 weeks, so he may as well save the $ and put it towards insurance premiums/deductibles.


    That said... to say that $1000 is needed for a "decent entry level bike" is as ridiculous a statement as saying $90 will get you a good bike.

    http://bikesdirect.com

    I challenge you to find a bike that costs over $450 that will do sufficiently "more" for 95% of all riders. We "cyclists" are as guilty of thinking we need "good stuff", as normal people are of thinking $100 is "good enough".

    We look at bikes, and see we can come close to having the best the world has to offer. We don't do the same things with our homes/cars/jobs/furniture/etc.

    A $400 bike will do EVERYTHING a $4000 bike will do (get you from here to there in comfort or in a hurry). Beyond the $400 mark, you're rationalizing your "wants", not your "needs".


    I get it... If I dress well for a winter ride, I have more than $500 spent in clothing! But I am riding down the same road as the guy in workboots and a Carhart jacket, who is just on his way to work.
    Last edited by BikeAnon; 02-06-14 at 07:18 PM.

  24. #24
    PatronSaintOfDiscBrakes dynaryder's Avatar
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    Next time ask how much a decent set of golf clubs go for. Then ask if you can use them for anything other than golfing.

    Bicycles can be used for exercise and transportation.

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  25. #25
    will stop for donuts BenPS's Avatar
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    ^agreed. Working at a shop taught me a lot about people: One is everyone thinking bikes are for children, and have no concept that bikes could cost over $200, and two is that no matter what bike they get, they will say their butt hurts, and they won't ride it after a few weeks. Obviously not everyone -- but there is that certain type of person

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