There will be n00bs
On every trail, path, and sidewalk; in every bike lane, shoulder, and gutter; as far as the eye can see (or not, because they don't often have lights): n00bs on full-suspension bike-shaped objects from Target, n00bs on rusty and rickety old ten-speeds, n00bs on ill-fitting low-end Trek hybrids that may or may not have been assembled correctly. Everyone who didn't get a bike in 2008 is getting a bike now.
(And to those of you who did get a bike in 2008, where the heck have you been for three years? Or did your job kerplode too, and that's why you don't bike commute anymore, either? We should form a club. A former commuter club. We'll be just like a roadie club, except we'll bring all our stuff and then critique each others' resumes.)
Yes, my friends, the n00bs are coming. Ready your chain lube guns and your magnetic LEDs, because it's going to be a long, dark, noisy summer.
I saw a n00b at Target just today. (Well, my spare helmet finally broke, and where was I going to get another one for just $12? Yes, it's CPSC certified. Somehow.) From what I could overhear, he wanted to save money by getting a bike, but there was nothing at the bike shop with more than one speed for under $500. ("And I'm like, I want to save money, not spend even more money, you dig?") So he'd come to Target.
The salesman extracted a full-squish mountain-style thing (from where I was standing, the wheels seemed to be warped already) and declared that it had "really good brakes." The customer thanked him, paused by the accessory rack just long enough to grab a $20 lock that could probably be defeated with a pair of salad tongs, and then wheeled over to the elevator, a look of unbearable smugness already starting to light up his face.
Yes, I kept my big mouth shut, I assure you. After all, I was there at a big-box retailer to buy a $12 spare helmet, and then I decided to purchase some cheap clothing made by starving third-world orphans while I was at it, so who was I to judge anyway. But I winced all the way back to the lakefront. These people are insane! And they drive!!!