Friday, September 10, 2010

Nothing For The Weekend

Yesterday was nuts, the most entertaining display of joyous mayhem I have witnessed since I tried to follow Dejay Birtch down a dusty, rutted out decent at Breck. (Hey, I can't get through a day without mentioning Breck; it's my 'Nam.) I worked a bike donation for The Shop over at a Boston Housing Authority development in Roxbury. This was in conjunction with Boston Bike Czar Nicole Freedman and the Mayor's office. We actually donated less bikes than we did during the Holland School Donation, but it seemed like a much bigger deal. There were camera crews, a PA system, tons of orange-shirted volunteers, and exponentially more mayhem. At the Holland School the kids got their bikes four or five at a time, and they weren't really allowed to ride the bikes outside of their brief fitting session. At this thing the kids all got their bikes at once and they were all told to go navigate a "safety course." You ever seen Death Race 2000? Death Race has nothin' on this.

Let me explain what the hell is going on here, so...

International Bicycle Center has a program in place that encourages customers to trade in their kids bikes within two years of the purchase date for a credit of up to 50% of the value toward a new kids bike. It's an incentive for people not to go buy a rickety-kid-maiming-machine from a department store. Although it is fun when they do just that and then they come into the shop and ask to get the thing tuned up: "$65! But I only spent $100 on the whole bike!" I quote my old friend Bruce Weber on that one, "OK, then why don't you bring it back to the service department at Toys R Us." "Toys R Us has a service department?" And that's when you look at them knowingly and, if they're not as thick as day old oatmeal, they get it. "Oh."

The truly crazy part of this arrangement is that the customer can actually trade that last kids bike, the 24", toward an adult bicycle. The crazier part is that almost no one does this, we get very few 24's back. The only reason I can come up with for this is this: at that age if you give a kid a choice between a bike and an iphone, the kid will chose the iphone, hands down, every time. And why the hell not? iphones have way more apps than bicycles, pedophiles can't cyber-stalk kids via a bicycle, and no teenager has ever crashed a car into an oncoming semi, killing two of her best friends because she was texting on her bicycle. I'm going to start a politically-based bicycle advocacy group called "Phones not Bikes."

The by-product of this program is that IBC ends up with hundreds of still-very-shiny and new looking kids bikes to donate. Which is very cool.

Alright, so I just wanted to get a plug in for the baffling awesome program IBC has regarding the kids bikes. They do a lot to support my racing and they even continue to employee me in some capacity while I waltz all over the country doing whatever it is I think I'm doing. I will be waltzing (I really have no idea how to waltz or why I am using that expression at all) down to North Carolina for The Pisgah Mountain Stage Race on Monday. There will be some updates here throughout the week, but most of my energy will be devoted to the video-work for Cyclingdirt.

OK, one more semi-awesome thing. Like I said, this thing was a big deal, there was even a podium for the mayor, yes the mayor. He showed up in his black SUV with his entourage, made a long speech to a bunch of baffled and ancy six-year-olds and then opened up the microphone for me. Yes me. "Ulp." I was given enough warning that this was going to happen to allow myself to become completely nervous and freaked out. I was not, however, given enough warning to plan anything to say. Which reminds me of a funny story about public speaking and me sucking at it:

Back in Breck....

crap, I have no time to tell this story, I have to go over to Roxbury to deliver 8 more bikes and nine more helmets, it will have to wait for another day, perhaps a Monday. It involves Dicky, Peter, and Tequila (no, that is not Doug's nickname, though he does need one), Christopher Walken, and me breaking glass things that are of great value to others with my bony ass.

1 comment:

Gemma said...

It's amazing how important kids bikes have become. Fantastic article.