Wednesday, March 2, 2016
It is "Senior Day" today... at Joann's Fabrics and Fry's grocery store. And, SGGABD... Senior Guy Gets A Bike Day.
We got up with a plan: Joan wants to try some small projects, then maybe try her hand a making a quilt. She has been waiting for Senior Day at Joann's Fabrics. The plan did not include me walking behind saying, "Yes, that looks nice, Dear." I dropped her off and went to the mall. To do what seniors do at the mall: walk. It is a warm day here in the desert, and comfortably climate controlled in the mall.
After an hour of walking, I got back in the car and headed for Joan and Joann's. I could not believe the crowd of senior women waiting to get fabric cut. They have a number dispenser, like at a big city deli. When I found Joan, I discovered she had number 99... and they were just calling number 80.
I don't think this place was this busy at Christmas time. Senior Day at Joann's is a big deal. You get some percent off your entire purchase. Just for having lived this long. Apparently, this is more popular than Denny's or Outback (show your AARP card)...
There were three employees cutting fabric. You may have to look close in that photo above... there are scads of people waiting for their number to be called.
Joan had another plan: "How busy was it at the check out counters in front?"
"Real busy," I replied.
"OK, you take this cart full of stuff and go get in line. I will get this fabric cut and meet you up front."
We have done similar plans as this before... the timing rarely works out. I was a pretty popular guy in the check out line when I let several people go in front of me, while I scanned the aisles for the Blonde. I let out a big sigh when I finally saw her. I didn't know it, but there was a "hand off"... "I got a deal on these scissors - here, you take back these other two." Which would have been a good plan, if I had any idea where the scissors are actually located. I got more walking in as I ran "a grid" of the aisles, eventually finding the "large scissors department."
Timing was once again good, as Joan was just walking away from the check out counter when I got back to the front of the store.
Next stop, lunch. I like lunch. But, I was ready for the next stop: New Bike Day. I actually paid for the bike yesterday. No, not another scoot. This is the e-bike (electric bicycle) model I looked at in Palm Springs.
The only dealer listed for this area is the multi-brand motorcycle dealer I don't like. I checked with them when we were shopping for scooters, and they had to play the "bull-shit fees game" to jack up the price. When they finally came down in price, there were still $800 higher than the place we wound up buying... without the "back and forth" price game.
I probably had a bit of a chip on my shoulder when I went in. The salesman and his "trainee" were very pleasant. They realized right away that I probably knew more about e-bikes than they do... after all, they are a motorcycle dealer. I imagine the only reason they have these e-bikes is because the manufacturer also makes quads and pit-bikes.
They had two e-bikes on the floor, neither of which was the folding bike I was interested in. The salesman said, "Let me check our inventory." He disappeared for a few minutes, we visited with the young lady who was training (she also works in the parts department, so she knows the business). When he came back, he said, "The computer says we have two on order that should be in today. If you have a couple minutes, I'll go check what has just come off the truck to see if they are in that shipment."
He came back a couple minutes later and said, "Yes, we have two of them, both red." He shot me an inflated price. I let him know what I could get it for, delivered, from the dealer in California. "Let me see if we can match that price. If we can, will you do the deal right now?"
Good close. "Yes, but I have some other stuff to do. You know my price. Call me if you can sell it to me, out the door, no bull-shit fees, for that price."
I have done my research; I wasn't trying to beat them up on the price, but sure wasn't going to pay over $350 more for the same bike. He called me about an hour later, matched the price, and we went back and paid for it, with a pick up today (the bike needed to be assembled).
We were there 15 minutes early (as usual). It was the salesman's day off (we knew that ahead of time), so the young lady trainee took us back to the bike. She pointed out a small nick in the paint... I said, "Deals off! Nahhhhh - just kidding! It's a trail bike that is going to get hauled around. No problem."
She gave us the keys, the charger, a tool kit, and the "manual." I have manual in quotes because I downloaded it from the internet last night. The bike is made in China, and the manual was obviously done by someone who doesn't speak English as a first language. Nor second or third. I had the gist of it.
We rolled the bike out to the Malibu, hoping it would fold enough to fit in the gigantic trunk. We should have been hoping it would fold. We strugged with it for a couple minutes... in the hot Arizona sun. Someone from the dealership noticed and asked if we needed a hand. "Yep. We can't seem to get it folded."
It is a secret that isn't in the manual. But, Joan figured out what needed to be lifted just before someone from the dealership came out. We had to take the handlebars out of the stem to get it to fit in the trunk. They are 20" tires, but they are wide and thick; the frame is substantial...
Compared to a typical folding bike, this is a beast. "How does it ride?" you ask. Thanks for asking. Very comfortable. There is a bit of suspension in the seat post. The bigger tires have some flex, so it is a relatively cushy ride.
Joan offered to go to Fry's for "Senior Day," leaving me to play with the bike. Not sure she will pass for a senior without me along, but I was excited to ride the bike.
The pedal assist is interesting - seems that, while it does ease the effort some, it also allows you to go faster with the same effort. With the twist throttle, you simply go, without pedaling. Not sure how accurate the speedometer is, but I got it to a high of 20.3 mph on the level.
When Joan got back from the store, I asked if she wanted to give the bike a try... "Absolutely!" I gave her 30 seconds worth of lessons on how to use the pedal assist and the throttle, and she was off...
We may have to get a second e-bike. She likes it. She did say, "At about 20 mph, the pedals weren't adding anything to the movement."
"You may have to slow down, then, so you can feel the pressure on the pedals." ;-)
I think this will be a lot of fun. Even more fun if we get a second one. I think we can find some room...