Participating in the consumer economy

Checks arrived in the mail today. I’ll deposit them on Monday. They will clear on Tuesday. And despite The Weather Channel’s forecast of partly cloudy and 47°, it will snow on Wednesday as I ride my new bike home.

Nonetheless, I walked over to Towner’s Bike Shop to put a deposit down on my new conveyance. Therein, the salesman I talked with last week finished with a customer and greeted me. He measured me and found the model we’d chosen in the right size on the sales floor. After adjusting the seat and handlbars, I once again risked head lice and donned the loaner helmet, mounted my steed and took a long ride around the parking lot to, as the salesman suggested, “go bond with it.”

It was wet. The bike does not have fenders (yet, maybe soon, maybe never.) I stayed remarkably dry. Up, down and across the hill, back and forth between the cars and through a pothole or two confirmed that this will be my ride for the next while.

The potholes barely made a dent in the 75mm of travel in the front forks, I found a relationship with the front shifter, which had given me a bit of trouble on the first ride, and the brakes work admirably in the wet. The gel saddle snuggles up to my “sit-bones” well and the seatpost suspension didn’t bottom on the potholes.

We’ll see how everything works out for a while, but I’m already considering longer cranks and larger chainrings. It’s geared for easy pedaling, which is fine, but I found myself tooling around in the highest gear wishing for more. As for the longer cranks, I think 34” inseam is all that needs be said.

That will all wait until I’ve had a few goes at Cobb’s Hill twice daily. Just walking up it on Winton Road makes me huff and puff, so the lower gearing may be just fine for the daily commute.

I put off the selection of helmet, lock and blinky lights until Wednesday. I’ll have to remember I also need chain lube, a tire gauge and tire pump. Fenders and possibly a luggage rack are off in the distance someplace, but I am considering early purchase of an odometer. I’ve also seen these interesting and—given my family medical history—potentially life-saving heart rate monitors.

Along that same line, last week I ordered my first bike accessory, the Wrist ID from Road ID. I’ve listed name, city, state, two contact numbers for my parents (US and Canada), my doc’s number and my drug allergies. The sixth line was a toss up. Either A NEG BLOOD, ORGAN DONOR or ONE DAY AT A TIME. I finally chose the latter since it seemed more optimistic.

Still sleepy

Also on Wednesday—before I pick up the bike—I’m going in for a meeting with the principal investigator of the sleep study I’m in and with the study’s “impartial contact” person about concerns I have with the study and my participation. It’s not at all what I’d hoped for. My main beef is that although the consent form says I’d be randomized into one of two non-drug treatments, I’m not seeing anything I recognize as treatment.

My weekly appointments consist of filling out questionnaires about mood, thoughts and feelings through the week, entering my sleep diary data into the computer, and getting weighed. Oh, and they give my two bus tokens. Four weeks into an eight-week treatment and I’m finally going, “Uh, when does the treatment start?”

I completely understand that the study is to test treatments and that said treatments may not be effective. But somehow, I don’t agree with the therapist that “data collection” equals “insomnia remediation therapy”.

Without question, the data collection aspects are important for assessment. But that’s all that’s happening. Filling out forms and tapping away on a Dell laptop in the presence of a PhD doesn’t meet my definition of “treatment”. And it’s hardly an issue of semantics, despite what the therapist tells me.

I’d even be cool with it if I was part of a control group. But there isn’t a control group in this study. It evaluates two different treatments.

Disappointed doesn’t begin to describe how I feel. The anger and frustration I feel towards the study are degrading the already poor quality and quantity of sleep that I get.

The only reason I haven’t already dropped-out of the study is the appalled reaction of the “impartial contact” person when I phoned. “What do you mean you’re not getting any treatment?”

I took that as a positive sign.

2 Responses to “Participating in the consumer economy”

  1. Iain Jackson Says:

    The bike does not have fenders (yet, maybe soon, maybe never.)

    If you plan to ever ever EVER ride the thing in the rain, or after the rain, or anywhere near someplace where the road might conceivably ever even once be wet, and you might actually want to be vaguely presentable after a bike ride … you NEED fenders. Unless you’re desperately fond of that lovely brown stripe up yer buttcrack on the outside of your pants. (Yes, I did learn this the hard way.)

  2. brucew Says:

    Hi Iain!

    Yeah, I know all about it. I’m deferring the decision to later. It’s a question of ambition, safety and raingear.

    I’m not sure if riding in the rain will be something I want to do. I may decide to do a nice, warm, comfy bus instead. I’m not sure if I’ll feel safe in rain in traffic on a bike, what with the reduced visibility and all—both for the drivers and for me with the rain on my glasses.

    The rest of the raingear is far more expensive than fenders and will likely make the decision. I have only a rain jacket, no pants, and it’s olive green. So we’re talking a whole, new, hi-vis rainsuit. I’d also need some sort of booties (or maybe rain spats) so I’m not squishing around the library.

    Then there’s the issue of holes the helmet. Although I found this one, the Bell Metropolis, that has an optional ($15) rain bonnet thingie that snaps over the top to keep the water out. Interestingly, it also has an optional ($25) winter kit that includes plugs for the holes and earmuffs. Not sure if my dealer has this one available, or in stock in large and red.

    If I decide not to go with fenders and the full suite of raingear and I happen to be out and get caught unexpectedly in the rain, (lake-effect showers, pop-up thunderstorms or foolishly believeing the forecast) all the buses have bike racks. This is also the fallback if I get hurt while I’m out or get a flat.