A tribute to Cheater Bike
April 16, 2014
I grew up riding bikes, like most American kids did back in the 70s and 80s. My first ride was a sweet Strawberry Shortcake step-through, complete with pink streamers on the handlebars. I later progressed to riding my aunt’s ten speed, then to a mountain bike in college. I loved the freedom of being on a trail on the outskirts of campus or in the woods, all on my own. But, I eventually stopped riding.
When I moved to my current home, I wanted to start riding again but was very out of shape and intimidated by the steep hills and traffic. I knew myself well enough to know that I’d give up quickly and quit.
I made one of the best decisions of my life and bought Cheater Bike.
Cheater Bike is a beautiful blue, step-through Velocity 1.5 electric-assist bike. She’s a miracle. I could actually ride up the hills and keep up well enough in traffic. I commuted to work almost every day and ran errands on the weekends. Eventually, I started trying to ride with the motor off more and did two 30-mile rides that way—no mean feat considering she’s 45 lbs!
After a year and a half, I bought a Kona Dew Plus which became my primary ride. Biking and walking had increased my fitness level a lot, and I started commuting on my new hybrid bike. At the time, this was a total of 8 miles with 800 ft of elevation gain. It was hard at first but got easier over time, and I marveled at how much I improved.
I haven’t ridden Cheater Bike since then. She sits in my garage, lonely and neglected. I put an ad on the for-sale mailing list at work and on Craigslist for 1/3 the original price(see note below), and I got no takers. I’m actually pretty sad about this. I love that bike, and as much as I would like to keep it forever and ride it occasionally, I know that someone out there would love this awesome bike and ride it all the time.
It’s actually getting a bit urgent as I just bought a fancypants new road bike, and having three bikes is getting a little ridiculous. Now that it’s spring, I’ll try to sell Cheater Bike again.
So here’s to Cheater Bike, which enabled me to regain my confidence in my biking ability. I couldn’t have done it without you.
* Someone asked me about this recently, and the truth is that I didn’t really grok at the time that my bike really was worth far less due to depreciation, and that I had probably overpaid for it. I originally bought it for $1400 (minus REI bonus reimbursement and the member sale), but it was $700 on the manufacturer’s site a few years later. $600 was too high. I didn’t realize it until someone pointed it out to me, then felt like a bit of a rube. 😉 Lesson learned: bikes depreciate like cars.