And now I’m going to die

Giant box! 55-pound giant box!

My first look inside the box and HOLY CRAP THOSE WHEELS:

The contents of the box, removed and placed next to the box. I give Mongoose an A for packaging, as someone who became an aficionado of that little aspect of the universe while selling furniture.

If you thought this was a wheel for a motorcycle, it would not be the dumbest mistake you had ever made. Seriously, I knew what I was buying and I was still not prepared:

Several of the reviews from professional Bike People suggested that the Mongoose Dolomite would be a good bike if you replaced about half a dozen parts. The one place where I took that seriously was the seat. On the left, a seat for my ample ass. On the right, the stock seat. I think this was a good call:

The red on the new seat doesn’t quite match the red on the bike, which is a terrible disappointment. (Not really.) I decided to put everything on finger-tight first, going very, very slowly and trying to make sue I knew what I was doing at any given time. Note that putting a front tire with disc brakes into the fork on a 50-pound bike is… kinda tricky! But I think it’s okay.

And, finally: a bike.

Another positive development: the helmet (which also showed up today) fits, and I even got lucky enough to find one that had that red streak, which matches the bike pretty nicely. It is difficult to convey just how beefy this thing looks in person; the pictures don’t do the sheer size of the tires justice. It’s freakin’ gorgeous, though. I will probably not be riding it today, as I do have several things to do before that happens:

  • Figure out what the proper tire pressure is and inflate the tires. Note that this will require an electric pump, as these tires laugh at piddly little hand pumps.
  • The seat is in the lowest possible spot, which means that the rear reflector is actually obscured by the tire if you’re directly behind the bike. I should probably get some actual lights. This isn’t a serious priority right now, though, as my night riding is going to be minimal for a while and I may end up adjusting the seat once I get more used to getting on and off the bike.
  • I do not especially trust the gearshift, which was another thing people were griping about; it feels kind of flimsy, and it was changing gears while I was tightening the handle in place. I may end up taking this to a bike place and asking them to specifically check out the brakes, the gearshift, and the derailleur.
  • I need to learn how to pronounce “derailleur.” I think it’s just de-rail-er, but it looks like you’re supposed to say it fancy-like.
  • Also I have literally never ridden a bike where shifting gears was even an option and I need to figure out how to do that.

And then, after I do all that, I can put the bike in the garage and never ride it, because terror! We’re set for the summer!

In which I am real, real dumb and make dumb decisions like a dumb guy

It is known: I am a giant fat guy. I’m five feet ten inches tall and somewhat– I’m honestly not sure how much– north of 300 pounds. Every so often I get tired of being a giant fat guy and try to do something about it, with varying degrees of success, and generally a few months after trying whatever that was I end up fatter than I was when I started, which, frankly, is the main reason I haven’t tried to be less fat in a while.

But, Jesus, this quarantine is too fucking much. I’m barely leaving the house, because disease, and I’m getting zero exercise. I have never been much of a snacker, believe it or not; my issue is that I’ve never been a regular exerciser and I eat a lot at meals, but other than empty calories from pop I’ve not been a guy to eat a lot of sweets or snacks between meals.

I cannot run, and I will never be able to. My knees and legs are all fucked up, and even if I wanted to take up running it would be a terrible idea. I really enjoy swimming, but that would require a gym membership, which is, well, impossible right now, and the last time I tried the only place I could get into didn’t end up working out very well.

So … a bike? My wife and son have bikes. I could ride on a bike with my wife and my son! That would be a thing, right? Pay no attention to the fact that I haven’t been on a bike since I was, like, ten— I learned how to ride, mostly because my brother wanted to and I couldn’t yet and as the older brother I couldn’t allow him to know how to do something I didn’t know how to do– and I’m pretty sure once I knew how to ride on a bike I stopped doing it and that was the end of that. They say you can’t forget how; I don’t believe them.

Turns out that bikes that guys my size can ride can be really fucking expensive, and I fell down a hell of a rabbit hole today trying to order one. An anecdote, if you don’t mind: I drive a Kia Soul. I very much like my Kia Soul, which does everything I ask of it and is missing exactly zero features that I would like for a car I’m driving to have. However, if you read reviews of the Kia Soul from Car People, it will not do well, because car people are Car People and they frankly have vastly higher standards than I do for their cars.

Compounding this is that it turns out that bikes are a rather popular purchase right now, because it turns out I’m not the only person who is noticing that they are rather more gelatinous than they were in mid-March, so they’re sold out everywhere. And when you look at non-Amazon reviews of bikes I can both afford and find, they tend to be from Bike People, and I would like the Bike People to just tell me if the bike is a Kia or not so that I can move on with my life. I called an actual bike shop and talked to a dude for a bit, and he was super helpful but he also said that all of their lower-end bikes were sold and that the one he’d try to steer me towards given my circumstances was going to be a $1200 bike.

Which, no. I just spent just south of $400 on that giant red thing up there, because it’s getting good enough reviews from non-bike people that I think it’ll be okay. (The price aspect is interesting. All of the reviews that mentioned the price mentioned prices considerably lower than I can actually find this or any similar bike for anywhere.).

But, yeah. The Bike People? Jesus. All of the YouTube reviews of it from Bike People are basically “yes, this is technically a bicycle, but only if you replace these seventeen components of it immediately, and then take it apart and dip it in fairy dust and put it back together, then perhaps you could ride it a mile or two if circumstances required it,” and I’m like dude I’m probably going to abandon this idea in a month anyway I’m not spending $1200 on a lark.

Just tell me if it’s a Kia.

I will admit that I also ordered a new seat for it, on the spot, because … well, yeah, that all makes sense, and I want the seat to be as comfortable as possible, and it was $35 so fuck it. The seat will be here on Saturday. The bike … well …

Two different bikes gave me that nonsense upon being put in my shopping cart. I assume it’ll be closer to now than later; if it hasn’t shipped in a week I’ll just cancel it and move on with my life. I know Amazon is kind of slammed with coronavirus stuff right now, but if it’s in stock I’m pretty sure it’ll be here before fucking October.

I look forward to the odyssey it will require to get a bike helmet that will fit my enormous head. I can’t buy hats in stores, y’all. This will be fun.

5:46 PM, Friday, May 15: 1,439,231 confirmed cases and 87,184 Americans dead.