“Brandon, when are you getting your bike?” my co-worker, Andrea asked for the umpteenth time while sitting in our cubicles. I repeatedly told her that I’d get one, day after day, but continued to stall. I did not know why there existed a span of about ten years between now and the last time I rode a bicycle, but the continued pressure to get out on some of the many trails Cadillac has to offer was immense. Not only did I want to get a lot of exercise in and have an alternative way to commute to work; but I wanted to be a part of the “riding” culture that consumes a majority of the city during the summer and fall months.
I eagerly awaited my trip to McLain Cycle and Fitness, conveniently located downtown. After work, Andrea and I made our way over. Upon entering the shop, one where fat, mountain, road, and children’s bikes littered the sales floor among other components and accessories, we were greeted by a warm and kind sales person who was more than willing to direct me away from the 26-inch wheelers (apparently, I wasn’t a kid anymore). At first, a neon blue and yellow, aluminum behemoth caught my eye, but the colors were ultimately too bold for my tastes. I came across a black and red (more black than red), 29-inch specialized mountain bike, and I’d be lying if I said I wasn’t enamored by its beauty. “I’d like to see this one,” I said, the sales person carefully dismounting it from the upper wall. “You know you can try it out in the back lot, right?” he asked. Is this a car dealership? I thought for a moment. I walked the bike out, traversing bumps, cracked gravel, and random stretches of grass. This is the one. I walked back and asked to be rung up. Before making any payment, however, I was sized for the bike (with a few laughs, of course), given a few free accessories, enrolled in the store’s rewards program, and enthused by a friendly conversation between Andrea, myself, and the sales guy. I’m a part of the club now! McLain’s went above and beyond in terms of customer service, and made me feel ready for the months of riding ahead and quite possibly, another entertaining conversation.
Somehow, I still find the wherewithal to get up and take a ride through the apparently glorious White Pine trail, or enjoy the roller coasters of nature that are the Cadillac Pathways, even though my calves tell me, “No!” But, I find the welcoming nature of a bike shop and its sales persons extremely valuable for a town in which I both work and live. I find professional advisement for riding, with some humor added, and as the fall brings much colder weather, a somewhat major aspect to wanting to be here. Hopefully, I get as much time in as possible before the white blanket of snow arrives from the sky and encourage as many people that don’t bike to do so as well.