Cheap Shoes

I bought a pair of knobby bike tires yesterday for $16 bucks each.  I need them to ride the trails.  Other tires at the same shop were selling for $30, $40, and even $60.  Will I regret buying the $16 tires, made in Taiwan?  Perhaps.  Will they ride or wear noticeably worse than the more expensive tires?  I will probably never know, because I doubt that I’ll ever pay much more than $20 each for bike tires.

          I also scoped out the bike trailhead at Franke Park this evening.  A man was working on his bike in the parking lot as I drove through.  I parked the car and walked up to him, asking how he was doing.

          “Just fine,” he said.  I could tell that he was doing very well.  He looked happy and deeply engrossed in whatever it was that he was doing to his bike.  He was dressed in full biking gear, including colorful jersey, helmet, gloves, and other sporty stuff.  He also looked as if he had quite a few miles on him.  He appeared to be somewhere between 50 and 60.  So, based on observation, I expected him to be knowledgeable.  I told him I was interested in trying out the trails at the park.  He recommended them highly, telling me that he is one of eight fellows who maintain the trails.  He also said that there are signs along the trails to help riders (and hikers) find their ways through the trail system.  He invited me to come to the trailhead on Mondays at 6:30 pm for organized rides.  People familiar with the trails willingly help less experienced riders become acquainted with the trail system.  I told him I would definitely show up.  I thanked him for his assistance and left, then met and briefly chatted with another biker.  This guy was quite a bit younger than the first fellow, but was much larger and heavier.  He appeared to be happy, too.  Trail biking seems to be good for the spirit, regardless of age or size.  If I speak to him next Monday, I might ask him about his philosophy on tires.

          My purchase of the economy bike tires, as does many other purchases I make based upon practical and budgetary considerations, brings to mind experiences with my father, himself a practical and, one might say, thrifty man.

          When I was a young fellow of about 14, my dad told me that I should never buy a pair of expensive shoes.  He said that if I did, my feet would become accustomed to the comfort and I’d have to buy expensive shoes all the time.  I remember his advice very well, and also remember that I didn’t quite agree with his philosophy at the time.  I was often self-conscious about my shoes because they were inexpensive and weren’t quite as stylish as the shoes of my peers.  I guess my feet did OK without expensive shoes though, because my feet are in pretty good shape after years of running, basketball, baseball, football, walking, jumping, and bike riding.  I really didn’t need expensive shoes.  If I shocked any of my friends and acquaintances by my cheesy shoes, none of them ever said a word about it, and none of them, as far as I know, shunned me for wearing them.  I wonder how much money I’ve saved over the years buying cheaper shoes.  It must be over a hundred bucks.  Just guessing, though.  Now I’m also saving money by buying cheap bike tires.  Man, the savings just keep adding up.

          If I get a flat on my first ride with the new tires, I might have to reassess my inherited philosophy.

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