Why You Should Never Let Me Borrow Your Bike

Note: Ryan’s back with another guest post today….consider it a PSA to bike owners in the area.

Paul has written a couple of posts for me over on my Porsche enthusiast blog called PorschePerfect. Interestingly enough, the title of his three post series was “Why you shouldn’t leave your Porsche with me”. Well, I’m returning the favor with a post about why you shouldn’t leave your bike with me. Here’s my tale…

We were in Vancouver, BC recently, visiting a friend while on a little family summer vacation. At the end of a bike ride we had just taken, we were at the bike rental shop, a good 20 or so minutes away from our hotel. We had planned on driving to a suspension bridge outside of Vancouver after the ride.

Our friend, and tour guide who lives in Vancouver, came up with the idea of me riding her bike back to the hotel to grab my car while she and the rest of my family waited. Of course, in some strange way, this made sense to me since we’d save on a taxi ride back and it’d probably be quicker. Two problems: 1. I’m a fairly big guy; and 2. She has a GIRL’S bike that fits, well, a GIRL, and a pink helmet.The combo of those two things makes for a heck of a site in downtown anywhere.

I’m game though, get my bearings and set off. I’ll admit, I was a little more than nervous riding in a major metropolitan area, which I’ve never done on a bike…EVER. She tells me to just ride on the sidewalks. No one else is doing that, and of course, I get yelled at by some dude working for a different bike rental shop about 3 minutes into the ride.

I get over that, get off the sidewalk, and things seem to be going well….for about 4 blocks until I have to start cranking to go up a hill. Traffic is whizzing by. I’m dang nervous, feeling like I’m going to be the subject of one of those horrific bike accident stories at any moment. I know I look ridiculous with my too small girl’s bike and pink helmet that won’t even buckle. I’m just praying to the bike gods of Vancouver that I can make it back to the hotel in one piece.

As I start to crank on the bike, I literally make one solid move on the pedals and something snaps. I’m all of a sudden going nowhere fast with the pedals just spinning freely. I look down and pieces start falling off the bike (did I mention I’m not much of a bike guy?). I’m on the street, downtown Vancouver traffic careening by, and in the middle of an intersection, feeling WAY out of place with a bike that won’t go.

Somehow I manage to get off the bike, back onto the sidewalk, and onto my cell phone to call my friend to tell her I broke her bike. I have to say it was one of the more humbling experiences of my life. And of course I felt terrible about breaking her bike, even though the bike mechanic at a little shop across from the rental place where I started this little adventure basically said, “It’s a cheap piece of crap. What do you expect?”

I pushed the bike back, caught a taxi to the hotel, and picked up the car. The moral of the story? Beats me, but I know I shouldn’t be riding other people’s cheap department store bikes!