I ripped the band-aid off, and brought my bike to the hipster bike place around the corner, and they couldn't have been more lovely. Here's the main reason I was dreading bringing my bike in there, aside from finding hipsters who love bikes to be often annoying. I had a friend (more bf's friend) who brought his bike into this place years ago to get something fixed on it. This was back when it was under different ownership, and they told him that his bike wasn't worth fixing, and that he should just buy a new one. Nice business strategy, guys, no wonder they went out of business.
This new owner (or employee of the new owner) was perfectly delightful. Professional, considerate, asked questions. He asked me how much I paid for the bike and then said "I'm not trying to be nosy, I just want to get a sense of how much money you'll want to put into it." I'm getting some new brake pads, a new... other thing, round thing that I don't know the name of but it is very important, and possibly something else. The cost of those parts plus labor brings the grand total to $80, which brings the grand total of the bike to nearly retail price. However, I am still thrilled with my new bike--even the cost--and let me tell you why.
- The $100 I spent on the bike partially funded a young girl's dream of moving to Oregon. Certainly I'll never see this girl again, but I support new adventures and she was quite nice--good luck, you!
- The repair money is going to a local business and not to the Schwinn company (who I'm sure are nice guys), or to Target (who I love--we're both from Minnesota, after all) but Target gets plenty of my money over the course of a year. They'll survive as will Schwinn.
- I'm recycling. With a few tweaks, this bike will be good as new, and will last me many years (with proper maintenance and care).
I was already pretty stoked about my bike, and now that I have the chance to actually ride it soon, I'm even more excited (and scared because now I have to re-learn how to ride a bike).
It's interesting because when thinking about frugality and saving money, we often (myself included) just think about not spending any money at all. Certainly that's a big part of it, but I also feel really, really good about my new bike--better than I'd feel if I have just gone to Target and gotten the one I was thinking about. So it is about saving and not spending, but it's also about spending well, and that feels pretty good. After all, "happiness is not having what you want, but wanting what you have", at least I think so.