I’m Just A Girl… and My Biking Adventure Began With Running My Mouth Off in a Bike Shop…

I haven’t owned a bicycle since I was 11 years old. I always wanted to inline skate instead of bike, and kept up with my biking family just fine on my rollerblades. When my kids started biking, I chose to run beside them rather than ride a bike of my own. I wanted the strenuous cardio workout and the runner’s high that went with it. I still want the strenuous cardio workout… however, someone hit my car during my last pregnancy and it’s left me in chronic pain… so — 20 years after owning my last bicycle, I’m putting away my inline skates and running shoes (temporarily, I hope) and trusting that biking will be a less painful way to exercise while I continue trying to heal.

Naturally, the first step in this new plan was a trip to the bike shop. My husband, who also didn’t own a bike for many years, recently got a mountain bike and baby trailer to pull our two youngest children around in. Our eventual goal is to live in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado (though we’re in relatively flat Iowa at the moment) so I wanted a mountain bike as well.

I had picked out two mountain bikes that were really comfortable, and — as a bonus — they each had some type of blue (my favorite color) on them. The bicycle salesmen had a different idea about what kind of bike I should purchase, though. He led me away from the mountain bikes and over to the road bikes and hybrids. Then he told me that I would want something more efficient and easier to pedal than a mountain bike.

Huh? The whole point of this bike would be to get a workout. Why would I want an easier to pedal bike? Another minute of conversation revealed he had decided that, because of the size difference between my husband and I…

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…I wouldn’t be able to keep up with him… as he biked while pulling a trailer carrying two children in it.

Telling the salesman that I would be fine on a mountain bike, I turned away from the road bike he held out to me. He responded by telling me that my husband would have to repeatedly slow down to wait for me and biking just wouldn’t be as much fun for him… he again steered me toward what he called the “more efficient” bikes. I did not want a road or hybrid bike. I wanted a mountain bike. The salesman continued to tell me that I wouldn’t keep up with my husband if I got a mountain bike (and yes, the salesman knew my husband was pulling a trailer with two kids in it).

“I can kick my husband’s butt in snowboarding, distance running, and rollerblading, so I’m pretty sure I can keep up with him as he bikes pulling two toddlers in a trailer,” I blurted out. Oops. That didn’t sound the nicest. But geez! If I wanted a mountain bike, I wanted a mountain bike!

I know the salesman thought he was helping and that my petite frame could never keep up with my 6’4″ husband (he was wrong). It’s not that my husband isn’t athletic. He’s very athletic. But I’m very athletic, too. Defending my athleticism in order to be deemed worthy to purchase a mountain bike was trying my patience!

(My husband was on the other side of the store chasing our toddler daughter while this was going on, so he didn’t hear my ‘I can kick my husband’s butt’ remark. I think he gets an email every time I post something on my blog, though. Sorry, honey! I had to defend my athletic honor. I admit you can kick my butt at football and basketball!)

No Doubt┬ástarted playing in my head…

‘Cause I’m just a girl, little ‘ol me

Don’t let me out of your sight

I’m just a girl, all pretty and petite

So don’t let me have any rights

Oh…I’ve had it up to here!

I ignored the salesman’s recommendation and got the bike I wanted. I’m really happy with it. Except I’ve got to slow down to wait for my husband all the time, which makes biking just not as fun of an experience for me — just kidding!!! We ride side by side on the bike path with him pulling the trailer. (Although, the first day, I did indignantly peddle as furiously as I could and got way ahead. Had to show that bicycle salesman who was not there! This time Rihanna’s Shut Up and Drive was playing in my head. I was very tired afterward, and most people would wonder why I needed to show a person who was not there that I could do it. It makes sense in my head.)

It’s been a week since we were at the bike shop, and we’ve been taking a bike ride together with our kids every afternoon. I miss running and skating, but I have to admit, biking is a really nice way to exercise and spend time with your significant other!

5 comments on “I’m Just A Girl… and My Biking Adventure Began With Running My Mouth Off in a Bike Shop…
  1. nunya says:

    Please, stay in your state and out of mine.

  2. Jackson Hole says:

    I’m starting to think you make things up for your blog.. No salesperson at any bike shop anywhere would try to turn you from a mountain bike into a road bike based on the ease of peddling. Mountain bikes have a much lower gear ratio and three chain rings to make peddling easier in steeper terrain (hence the term “granny gear”). While also an option on both road and comfort bikes, they usually don’t come with a third chain ring. Also, mountain bikes are waaaaaay easier to maneuver, especially on pavement.

  3. Allyn York says:

    i’m in my second career now (software), but my first career was bikes.
    over the course of a decade+ i worked as a messenger, a mechanic, doing bike sales, and ultimately managing a shop.
    with that as a background, i’ve had a lot of people ask me “what is the ‘best’ bike”
    there is not a singular answer to that question, but the most succinct answer that i can give that applies to everyone is, “the bike that fits *you*”
    it seems to me that this salesperson lost sight of that … yes, i’m sure that he knows a lot about bikes and has been involved with them for many years. but what he did is replaced his idea of what would suit you vs what you articulated that you were looking for… what would fit/suit you.
    a good salesperson (in bikes, or any other field) is there partially to give feedback/advice based on their specialized knowledge. but they also need to listen!
    and if, their ability to listen to a customer (or anyone else) is impaired by overt and/or institutionalized sexism… well then, they need to spend some time examining and changing their attitudes.

  4. coleslawed says:

    the bike salesman was probably trying to get you on a bike that fit the terrain you would likely be biking on, which it sounds like are paved trails/bike paths. A road bike or hybrid is the type of bike you want in those situations. You really only want to be pedaling a mountain bike if you are actually riding your bike off-road, as mountain bike tires are simply not as efficient at rolling on paved surfaces. Try one, you’ll be amazed at how much easier riding your bike becomes. This is what the salesman was trying to get across by telling you they would be easier to pedal.

    • Jam says:

      Coleslawed, you’re missing the point. The sales guy kept saying she should get a hybrid/road so as to *not annoy her husband* by being slow – which is rude and patronizing. She likely understands the difference between the bikes, it’s a pretty simple concept. Even if she’s riding some paved trails now she might want a bike that can handle mountain terrain, so she doesn’t have to buy another bike to go off road. Her husband has a mntn bike, so they probably wanna ride them together…

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