Wednesday, February 04, 2009


Big Dog returned The Hulk to X-Mart. Finally.

As soon as we arrived on the island, we started looking for bikes. It's the only way to get around Honolulu with its hellish parking situation and over-stressed traffic. On previous visits, we had borrowed N's bikes but the last time we were here, BD got the bike he was using stolen. ("Oh, yeah. Like, I invited the thieves to help themselves? Like, I was in any way negligent and invited the theft?")

I found a woman who was trying to sell her mountain bike online right away and Big Dog bought his at X-Mart. Mine was $20 with a flat rear tire. Both bikes were manufactured by the same company, in a Chinese factory (by what kind of labor, I don't even want to imagine.) But after my local bike shop fixed and tweaked my bike, it wasn't bad at all. Sure, as a road bike rider, it was terribly heavy, but for just riding around town, it was fine. Big Dog took a liking to it immediately.

"It fits me better," he insisted. It didn't fit him better at all. The frame was too small. But he liked the big cushy seat, the higher handle bars and of course, the weight, though he kept saying the two bikes were virtually the same. (They weren't.)

But he always complained about my riding faster than him, so I decided maybe I could use the handicap of a few extra pounds and we traded bikes.

This X-Mart bike was The Incredible Hulk. And its gears and brakes were too wimpy for its massive weight. Was it also the weight that distorted the wheels? The tires were definitely misshapen, but it looked like the rims were, too. Serious bikers talk about these X-Mart bikes in disdain: "They're sold for $90 and not even worth that!" In some ways they are right. A novice cyclist would quickly get discouraged with a bike like The Hulk. It has the amazing ability to turn any level road into uphill riding. Perfect training tool for speed cyclists!

Big Dog was happy riding my bike, smoothly tooling along Waikiki, riding on sidewalks AND center lanes with equal aplomb. The Hulk just made me mad. For a few days, though, I put up with it. It seemed like a better choice to ride this crappy bike that made me mad than to have to live with a Mad Dog. Only for a few days. After that, I didn't care if Big Dog was in a grouchy mood all day from trying to ride The Hulk. I just had to get away from it.

Big Dog bravely rode The Hulk for about a week, but he finally admitted there were serious problems with this bike. The salesman at X-Mart told him to bring it in and they'll tighten the brakes and try to adjust the spokes but as he wheeled the bike into the store, an attendant asked if he was returning it.

Return? He never thought he had that option, but now that it was in front of him... He couldn't get rid of it fast enough.

And so, The Hulk returned to its cave, to wait for its next victim.

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