Buy the bike or buy the socks: Decisions, decisions

If you’re in Madison and walking down State Street late Saturday morning and you have even the slightest interest in bicycling, you pretty much have to stop in at the Yellow Jersey.

socksYou can tell the guy, Henry in this case, that you’re just killing time and poking around. After a few minutes, he might ask you if you’ve found anything cool, and of course you have but you’re just looking around.

“Come here,” he might say. “I’ll show you something cool.”

You follow him over to the front window, where a steel Waterford frame sits on a pair of wheels that you barely even notice and he points out that there are 11 cogs on the back.

Never done before, Henry says. It’s Campy Super Record. The bicycle weighs just a few specks of road dust over 16 pounds. It’s a 56cm. Perfect.

It’s $5,600.

“Have you ridden this?” you ask Henry.

“No,” he says. “But I stood over it once.”


A woman comes in looking for a RAGBRAI bike. “It’s just an Iowa thing,” she says. “You ride across the state of Iowa.”

Henry starts to show her some bikes for less than $5,600.

You wander around some more and find some Sock Guy socks. At the back of the rack, you find the ones that will have to substitute for now for the $5,600 Waterford. In Bianchi celeste on black, they say, “Your bike sucks.”

Your bike doesn’t suck. Other people’s bikes mostly don’t suck, either, but you can now say they do without saying a word.

You and Henry and the mechanic with the face hardware all agree that you deserve that Waterford with the Campy Super Record. Maybe for your birthday.

Your wife walks in. She doesn’t seem as convinced that you deserve it.

Coming soon: Mrs. Smith’s femurs and why Colin O’Brien was befuddled by her.

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