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A glimpse of Bicycle Hell

Old 11-15-04, 10:30 PM
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I went to Wal-Mart this afternoon to get a doorbell button... which they didn't have... for my house. As I was leaving, I looked up and saw cheap bikes by the hundreds hanging from the ceiling. There were so many bikes that I had to search for a few minutes just to find the actual bicycle department.

When I reached the bike department (a.k.a. ground zero), I noticed that the hanging bikes reached out for at least a hundred feet in every direction. There were little pink tyke bikes... flashy red pseudo-mountain bikes... adult choppers... and absolutely no road bikes at all.

Ladies and gentlemen, I have see bicycle hell. It is not pretty! Now, I am afraid to go to sleep.

Wait... what's that sound??? They're coming to get me... aieeeeeeeeeee!

Last edited by suntreader; 11-15-04 at 10:38 PM.
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Old 11-15-04, 10:33 PM
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It hurts to read it.
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Old 11-15-04, 10:43 PM
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I kind of liken it to bicycle empowerment... the more, the merrier. Anyone wanting a road bike isn't shopping at Walmart (hopefully) but if some kids and families get hooked on riding Magnas, so be it. I seem to remember Schwinn being pretty proletariat back in the day, and Montgomery Ward bikes flew equally well. It ain't hell, it just ain't pretty.
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Old 11-15-04, 10:49 PM
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Originally Posted by Bekologist
It ain't hell, it just ain't pretty.
You're probably right. I just hope all those bikes have been properly assembled.
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Old 11-15-04, 11:02 PM
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Originally Posted by suntreader
I just hope all those bikes have been properly assembled.


It also hurts to ride it
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Old 11-15-04, 11:09 PM
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My dad and I used to ride department store bikes in the bare hills in southern California--before they all turned into housing developments for miles. It was a ton of fun. I don't recall any problems, surprisingly. The funny thing is, my dad's bike got stolen due to someone else's mistake (long story), and they replaced it with a nice used CroMo Trek hardtail with shimano everything... :-)

Anyway, I now think dept store bikes suck and are a terrible value, considering you can get a MUCH nicer used bike. But for me they got me to love riding.
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Old 11-15-04, 11:13 PM
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Road bike at walmart? I can't remember ever seeing one. Maybe 20 years ago? Ever? Kids don't ride road bikes. Retired couples don't ride road bikes. Well, some of each do, but not those who buy walmart bikes.

It surprises me that walmart still sells 27 inch tires and tubes.
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Old 11-16-04, 12:39 AM
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It's simulaneously horrifying and nice. We are all probably at least a little snobby about bikes in general, but hey - at least people can get bikes to ride for cheap, even if they aren't particularly high quality.
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Old 11-16-04, 12:52 AM
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The part that bugs me about dept store bikes now that I know more: they try to emulate the latest fad, no matter what, instead of trying to make a simple functional bike. I'd much rather buy an old-school 10 speed for $100, rather than a full-suspension with some frightening flimsy looking centerpull brakes, and what I can only assume are steel rims (they appear come pre rusted).
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Old 11-16-04, 06:34 AM
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Originally Posted by Fugazi Dave
It's simulaneously horrifying and nice. We are all probably at least a little snobby about bikes in general, but hey - at least people can get bikes to ride for cheap, even if they aren't particularly high quality.
Eureka, I think you've got it

Actually, I think you hit on something there. The average shlub isn't worried about the drivetrain, etc. They're worried about having a bike. I see a heck of a lot more Magna's and Huffy's than I do Trek's and Specialized.
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Old 11-16-04, 06:42 PM
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Honestly, thank God you don't see road bikes in there. Imagine what kind of abomination those would be? Now THAT would be bicycle hell.
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Old 11-16-04, 06:52 PM
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I'm surprised Next or Magna haven't come up with a road bike the call The Lance or something. Maybe it's because the average citizen couldn't care less about the Tour de France or who wins it multiple times (or so their marketing dept. tells them).
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Old 11-16-04, 07:34 PM
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Originally Posted by Avalanche325
Honestly, thank God you don't see road bikes in there. Imagine what kind of abomination those would be? Now THAT would be bicycle hell.
Now that I think about it, you're absolutely right. I don't think I'd want to ride downhill on a road bike that cost $100 new. I guess the original intent of my comment was along the lines of what "moxfyre" said... that the cheap bikes are really designed to emulate the current fad.

For example, mountain bikes are really popular in the USA right now, so the inexpensive bikes are designed to look like mountain bikes. However, we all know that they're not mtb's and that you'd probably get hurt if you took one on a serious trail ride.

The real irony of selling quasi-mtb's in Myrtle Beach is that our area is absolutely flat and paved. As you know, large-tread tires take a lot of effort to push down the street (compared to road bikes). We have a large immigrant community here and most of them get around on bikes of that type. I pass them every day and they're always grunting and groaning under the strain. If they had a basic road bike with narrow wheels... even a single speed... life would be a lot easier for them.
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Old 11-16-04, 07:50 PM
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Back in the day you could get a "10-speed" or (ooooh!) "12-speed" in places like Target. My mother got me a Columbia 12-speed in the 80's that made me hate all road bikes for a decade plus. Damn thing couldn't take a jump or dirt trails worth a poop, tho I bent the fork way outta line trying. Useless.
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Old 11-16-04, 07:50 PM
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Wal-Mart IS hell. You were just in one of hell's department.
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Old 11-16-04, 09:20 PM
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[QUOTE=suntreader]

Ladies and gentlemen, I have see bicycle hell. It is not pretty! Now, I am afraid to go to sleep.

QUOTE]

The question for me is.... what in the Hell were ya doing in a Walmart?
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Old 11-16-04, 09:36 PM
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Lol.. A tenspeed. I remember those days. In fact, it was pronounced in one word: tenspeed, with the accent on the ten.

Wow.

That seems like ages ago.
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Old 11-16-04, 09:42 PM
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Originally Posted by Grampy™
The question for me is.... what in the Hell were ya doing in a Walmart?
Like I said... I was trying to find a doorbell button. They didn't have it. That's how the whole thing started.

In their defense, my next door neighbor is a Wal-Mart manager. We went to high school together. He's a really good guy.
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Old 11-16-04, 09:50 PM
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Originally Posted by vincenzosi
Lol.. A tenspeed. I remember those days. In fact, it was pronounced in one word: tenspeed, with the accent on the ten.
I still have my first "tenspeed." It's not my main bike, but I still enjoy riding it at least once a week. Twenty-two years and counting.

Let's see... at an original purchase price of $110... that amortizes at $5 per year. Not bad for a bike that has never let me down.
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Old 11-16-04, 09:56 PM
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Originally Posted by vincenzosi
Lol.. A tenspeed. I remember those days. In fact, it was pronounced in one word: tenspeed, with the accent on the ten.

Wow.

That seems like ages ago.
IIRC, back in the days when all bikes were made by the "Big Three": Huffy, Murray, and Schwinn.
(Though my first was a Rollfast)
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Old 11-17-04, 08:07 AM
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I remember, twenty years ago, I made my first (and only) trip to a Walmart. A friend in Kansas took me to see it. "This place is really catching on around here. Do you think they will spread back East?"

"No", I replied. Who the hell is going to drive way out in the middle of nowhere to shop at a place that is too big to easily find anything in, just to save a few pennies?"

Boy, was I wrong. Should have bought stock in it.

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Old 11-17-04, 10:51 PM
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Originally Posted by BeeTL
Exactly. Kind of like not seeing the forest for the trees. I have been considering starting a rant in Foo or Politics on WalMart because they are in the press again.

WalMart is the most dominant and efficient force in the movement to outsource manufacturing jobs to China. With the changes in global economics, I'm not sure if that's ultimately good or bad in the long term. In the short term, MANY MANY Americans will lose (HAVE LOST) their jobs. Something to think about next time you shop at the big W.

Here's an interesting link:

http://www.globalprovince.com/walmart.htm

Hey don't diss the Chinese. They're subsidizing your budget deficit and indirectly the Iraq war. What would you do without them?

Speaking of Chinese, A Flying Pigeon one speed bike would make as much sense as a cheap pseudo mountain bike for most casual riders. They are heavy and ugly, but road worthy, comfortable and indestructible and you can carry huge loads on them. Just don't try and ride up a hill.

Last edited by skookum; 11-17-04 at 10:52 PM. Reason: spelling
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Old 11-18-04, 10:29 AM
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Originally Posted by suntreader
You're probably right. I just hope all those bikes have been properly assembled.
Rest Assuredly...They Are Not!
RT
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Old 11-18-04, 12:23 PM
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A co-worker told me yesterday that he heard the CEO of Walmart is an avid cyclist. If that's true, that adds some irony to this thread.
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Old 11-18-04, 12:29 PM
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Only if he doesn't ride what he sells :-)
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