Don't I feel like a jerk...
I did something today that I don't normally do. I gave in to an outdated social bias and really lost out.
After a hectic, trying morning at work, I hit up the two closest thrift shops during my lunch break. The first one yielded a beautiful vintage Underwood typewriter, fully functional and in excellent shape... unfortunately, there was no price tag, and none of the nearby staff could give me an idea of what it cost. Rather than wait around for the one person who could help me, I left the typewriter there and headed for the next shop.
The second shop yielded a couple of possibilities, a Videophone of recent vintage, and a portable AM/FM radio which could also tune Weatheradio and CB stations, too.
I passed up the Videophone when, upon looking it up on Google, found it didn't have VOIP capabilities. I passed up the radio when I noticed the battery compartment was badly corroded, and I didn't want another repair project.
I was getting ready to leave when a large, elderly lady walked in front of me, forcing me to take a detour down the Aisle of Discarded Consumer Goods. Sandwiched between a decrepit microwave cart and several tattered suitcases, I spotted a bicycle tire.
It looked to be a 27" wheel, which is the same size as my road bike, so I figured I'd give it a look. Moving aside decades-old Samsonites and well-travelled canvas carry-on bags, I was pleasantly surprised to find the bike wheel was attached to an old road bike!
There were no badges on the bike, and any decals it may once have sported had long since worn off. It was in decent shape for its age (mid-70s-ish), but could have used a new freewheel and chainset. New cables would help, too... all of which could be had inexpensively. The bike was about my size, too!
Expecting an exorbitant price tag, I was floored when I saw the price: $9.99! I grabbed the bike and started wheeling it to the checkout. I'd barely freed the bike when my heart sank...
It was a women's bike.
I hurriedly put it back where I found it and left.
As I drove off, I started making all sorts of excuses as to why I didn't buy it. Too much work, could've bought it for the missus but Jillian's not interested in cycling, I already have three bikes, no room in the SUV...
It's still bothering me. I mean, is it really that weird for a guy to ride a women's bike? Were women's bikes really women's bikes?! In a world where we accept pretty much everything for fear of being branded an intolerant bigot, would anyone even say anything?
Isn't a bike just a bike? Wasn't I being a little insecure?
As it turns out, yes. And I feel foolish.
Unfortunately, by the time I returned to the store, someone else bought the bike. It's really too bad, it looked like it would have been a decent ride and, as a few guys mentioned in the forum post I linked above, I wouldn't have to worry about damaging my "junk"... which is fine by me.
(note that I'm not a participant in that particular thread. I go by the name Vaclav on bikeforums)