Bike Shopping: REI

My last stop of the weekend bike shopping was REI. I knew REI had Bicycling Magazine’s top commuter bike editor’s choice for 2006 and 2007, the Novara Transfer, and I wanted to check it out. Unfortunately, I picked a bad day, as Saturday was the next-to-last day of their Anniversary Sale, and the place was packed. I lingered around the bike area for no less than 20 minutes, waiting for someone to help me, and never got anyone’s attention. One guy was helping a buyer get a bike ready for a test ride and never got freed up to help me. The other guy was helping some idiot pick out a bike, and he literally was asking if it came in other colors, and was “test riding” by spinning the wheel in the air and braking it. Jeebus. I did get the chance to look at the Transfer, and while it does come well-outfitted with a rack, lights, and fenders, it seemed too bulky and heavy to be a good commuter for me. They also had some better candidates like the Buzz line and the Radonee, but getting to the right level of bike for me was reaching into the $750-900 price range.
I probably won’t be back to REI for my shopping, since their sale is now over and the prices are 15% more than they were this weekend. Plus, the store isn’t particularly close to my house, so I have to make a special trip to go out there.