After a week of mixed commuting, I was already pretty happy with my new Giant bike.
In fact by Tuesday there were only 2 things bike-related that made me UNHAPPY:
- I still didn't have a rearview mirror on my bike.
- I still had to go across town after work to get a refund for another bike I paid for and never owned.
After enjoying the air-conditioned buses and a short ride in our unusually humid late August weather, I was back at the scene of the crime...or at least the unexcusable error. I got my refund, and decided to give the shop one more chance. I explained that the shop that sold me my bike had no compatible mirrors, and I was pretty sure "This one here should work...I've had it on my last 2 bikes and it seems a pretty universal fit." Then in hope of leveraging the embarrassment of the same guy who had charged me the full purchase price of a bike I intended to put on layaway with a 20% deposit, I asked if I could get the mirror installed. I even played for sympathy, reminding him how dependent I was on a mirror for comfortable riding in traffic (left unsaid was "...you know, like the traffic I face going all the way across town because you wouldn't process my refund over the phone despite my complaints?"
I thought I had a sure thing, but the salesman returned saying the 2 service guys were totally backed up and could not possibly work me in. I know exactly how little time it takes to install this particular mirror, so I had to stifle an impulse towards "Are you F***ING KiDDING ME???" Instead I gave a polite smile and "Thanks," and headed down the street vowing to stop at every bike shop along the way until I find one to install a mirror.
The next shop on the way, a few blocks west on Adams, was one where I was recently disappointed on a bike-shopping trip by an agressively upsell-hungry salesperson. Despite that, I stopped in and explained my situation to a mellow and helpful afternoon-shift guy. He assembled the mirror of my choice, took the handlebar grip off and tested the fit, carefully carved an opening in the rubber grip end, and put everything together. After feeling like I sort of wasted his time with a $16.99 purchase, I was grateful to get surprised with a 10 percent discount.
With my traffic confidence restored by the new mirror, I made an odd choice. Despite being dressed in a black tailored skirt and blouse on a steamy afternoon, I decided to skip the buses and bike all the way home, including going back DOWN the dreaded Texas Street Hill.
So shortly I approached the ultimate test of brakes...at least for consumate brake-riders like me who are absolutely opposed to unchecked downhill velocity. Having previously turned both hands to crab claws on the hill with my old hard-to-brake Giant mountain bike 9 days ago, I was prepared for flinchy flashbacks. But the easy braking of the new bike made the hill manageable, if not fully comfortable.
After the ultimate test of brakes I then faced...the ultimate test of courage. This is where Texas Street Hill ends and Texas Street Hell begins. A nasty I-8 interchange and some bike-unfriendly lane change requirements for the westbound make this a route not for the fainthearted...and this is where the cheating occurred. I took photos facing uphill and down while waiting for a light change, then ducked across the freeway entrance to a bus stop. Once safely there, I waited for the light now BEHIND me to go red, then busted out the necessary lane-change acrobatics with nobody breathing down my neck.
Speaking of breathing, mine was up there due to combo of adrenaline and lack of conditioning. But I managed to make the trip home..even adding a stop at the local grocery store...with no further discomfort.
So my first full "road test" with the new bike was successful, though it did a little collateral damage to my wardrobe (split a seam on the lining of my skirt getting on the bike on Adams Avenue.) Now all that remains is choosing a name for the shiny blue Giant!