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?