I showed up early Saturday morning for a not-to-be-named boutique bike manufacturer’s demo day. Since my JET9 was stolen three weeks ago, oh how I miss you, I have been perusing the classifieds for a replacement. I have tentatively narrowed down my choices to the following three: Niner RIP9, Santa Cruz Tallboy and Specialized Stumpjumper Expert FSR 29 all of them WAY beyond what I can currently afford. They are all burlier than my JET9 but I think, for my sole FS bike, I’d like more travel bike than the JET’s 80mm.
Back to Saturday morning: having been around a few bike demos including 4 Sea Otters where I demo at least a few bikes each weekend, I have a basic plan of attack to get some saddle time one one of the aforementioned bikes: arrive early, talk to the demo guy and start my ride at 8:00, the scheduled start time of the demo. If the bike I am looking for is being demo’d or they don’t have my size, no worries: I brought my AIR9 (locked to the car of course) so I could still grab a two hour ride with svelte Dan. This, by the way, is my suggestion for any rider looking to demo bikes at a demo day.
7:45. I arrive at the bike shop after a 35 minute drive. Dan had just arrived as well. We look around. No one else was there. No demo van, no other riders, nothing. I am nervous and pleased at the same time. Nervous as the demo van wasn’t there but pleased that we were the first ones and had first dibs on the bikes.
8:00. We stand around outside the shop. When a shop employee arrives, we are let in and the employee tells us that the demo guy is late. That was my first warning. The employee then tells me that there is a sign-up sheet for the riders but he says (which you had to call to be placed on) although he is not sure if the demo guy will use the list or just go by first come first serve. I look over the list. I’m number 3 for the bike I want to ride. Ugh. My second warning.
8:15, the demo guy shows up. He is late and a small crowd has gathered to wait for the demo bikes to unload. As he begins to unload, he glances over at the crowd, pulls out his phone and takes a picture of us and proceeds to tell us that we’re on facebook. I roll my eyes. I should have left by now as there was no way I was going to squeeze in a decent ride in under 1.5 hours but I wait hoping that I’d get the bike I wanted to ride and be off on the trails soon.
8:40, the demo guy asks how he is going to distribute the bikes. The shop employee mentions a list… I sigh. I remind myself that maybe I’m the only one who signed up and showed up for the bike… please, please, please. 10 minutes later: nope, the other two guys before me on the list are both present. Out of luck and by now it’s too late to ride. Might as well stick around, watch Dan get set up on a bike and see him off on the trail.
9:30, Dan finally gets his demo bike and starts off towards the trail while I get back in my car for the 35 minute drive back home. Wasted morning.
Demo guys: please have your bikes set up at the time the demo is scheduled to start. Some of us have other things to do on a Saturday morning. Your tardiness caused me to miss my only chance to ride all weekend.