The Bicycle

I’ve never bought anything from anyone who would go to such lengths to make a customer happy.
I’d been thinking of getting a bicycle for quite a while. I almost did in 2020, but heard that everybody was buying bicycles and there was a shortage.
Last year I got a physical checkup, and the doctor told me my blood pressure was high, so I bought an automatic blood pressure checker and looked up high blood pressure on the internet. You couldn’t do that when I was young.
The only cause that fit me was lack of exercise. So right after my birthday this year, I bought a bicycle from Ace Bike shop. Since I had just turned seventy, I decided on an electric bike in case I got too tired to pedal home. I went to the closest shop to my house, Ace, on MacArthur.
It turned out my blood pressure is only high when my arthritis is excruciating.
I bought a Del Sol electric, and that may be the Cadillac of bicycles. It was really expensive, $2300. I took a test ride and bought it, but as you can’t ride a bike and drive a car at the same time it was a few days before I could pick it up, but I took the battery charger and manual home.
Almost everything about it was alien to me, except the bicycle part. I wound up pedaling all the way home despite having read the poor excuse for a manual. I knew that holding a lever on the handlebar down would make it go without pedaling, but not that the higher the displayed number, the faster you could go; there’s an adjustment in the handlebar. It would take a few rides to learn it well.
It would take a couple of weeks to know I’d bought a lemon.
The next day I rode it to Felber’s. A couple of guys were sitting outside. “Lose your license?”
“Huh? No, why?”
“Where’s your car?”
“In my driveway.”
“Why aren’t you driving it?”
“Five dollars a gallon!”
I locked it up and went inside for a beer. When it was done, I went outside to ride the bike home.
It wouldn’t turn on. So I had to pedal it home. Now, this wasn’t like the ten speeds I rode decades ago, this was a heavy bike with fat tires. It really wore me out riding it home!
The next day it still was dead, so I pedaled it all the way to Ace. I got the sales fellow, and it lit right up for him. Of course, there was no way for him to diagnose it, since it was working fine. I thought of an old story about a TV repairman from back when such men existed, who was called for a dead TV. When he got there, it worked fine. He got another call about the same TV a week later, and again, it worked fine.
The third time he brought a picture of himself and left it inside the set, which never malfunctioned again until years later when the picture tube wore out. True? I don’t have any idea, but here it seemed the same thing was happening. I rode it home, not yet having discovered that you need to have it set to five to get it to go faster than ten miles per hour without pedaling, or that it simply wasn’t working like it was designed to.
I thought its cutting out while using the motor for movement was normal. It actually got up to twenty once. When I got home I put it on the charger, went inside, and turned on the air conditioner.
The next afternoon I got it out, and it wouldn’t come on. Damn, it worked yesterday, at least after I pedaled to the bike shop. Vibration going over the railroad track and bumps? I jiggled its cables, pressed the button-and it came on. I rode it to Felber’s for a beer. Nobody was there, so I drank one beer and went out and unlocked the bike. It wouldn’t wake up, even after jiggling the cables.
It decided to work the next day. I started riding it to to Track Shack, because I need photos of freight trains vandalized with graffiti for the cover of my second volume of Random Scribblings. Halfway there the motor quit, and the display gave an error number. I took it home and looked it up in the “troubleshooting” part of its manual, which said to take it to the dealer without riding it, so I called Ace.
They said they would try to come out and pick it up. A few days later they did, and the day after called and told me it was working. They said they had to google it, and reset everything. By then I’d told them an exchange would be warranted, and I was getting quite annoyed, but rode it home anyway.
Three days later it quit again, with the same error code.
They took it to the shop, and had trouble contacting Del Sol. They finally called me and said they sent it back to the factory and that I could come in and pick up any bike.
I picked one up that was $300 less. An Aventon, and it was a hell of a lot better bike than the Del Sol, even if the Del Sol hadn’t been a lemon. This one had a headlight, tail light, brake lights, and shock absorbers on the front fork!
I had Ace install a mirror and front and rear baskets, which all look like they were factory-installed.
There was another problem; the manual said it should do 28 mph and if it didn’t, to take it to the shop. There, they told me that I had to install its app, so I did.
Getting the app installed wasn’t easy, and I’ve been dealing with computers since 1982. That, however, wasn’t Ace’s fault, that’s on Aventon. But I finally got it installed, and you can set its top speed in the app, so I did.
It still wouldn’t go faster than 20 using the motor, so I called them. By now, they were surely sick of this pesky old man who kept bugging them, but they didn’t show it, and stayed polite. However, they said that it would only do 28 with full electricity plus pedaling.
I thanked them and hung up, but I didn’t believe them. So I googled, and discovered that there’s a federal regulation that mandated a governor on electric bicycles, and are not allowed to go over 20 on electricity alone! Now I need to bitch out my elected representatives, as well as the Secretary of Transportation. It’s a brain-dead stupid rule; there is no such rule about gasoline mopeds, its rule is that the engine can’t be bigger than 50 CC and faster than 31 mph.
Why is a gasoline moped allowed to do 30, but an electric one only 20? Oil industry bribes to legislators, or is Secretary Buttigieg on the take? Are oil companies bribing him? He and my elected representatives will be getting some emails... Or more likely, Trump’s transportation secretary Elaine Chao, since the Republican Party is the Party of Big Oil, the party of climate change skeptics, the party of billionaires, no longer the party of Lincoln but now the party of Trump, the president who engineered a failed attempt to hold onto power despite the vote.
But, the fellow at Ace was correct. The maximum speed without pedaling is 20. I recommend that shop, they have good people.

No, We're Not Entering a Recession!
Free Books!
The 1619 project
A little advice for a Terrorist War Criminal
Waking Up Is Hard to Do
1984 China
The Robots
Marijuana Myths
A Gift from God?
Last year's stories and articles

Share on Facebook

You can read or download my books for free here. No ads, no login, just free books.