well, yes, but this one was for Mary-Claire. I just took her back to school (Hollins University in Virginia) and we decided to get her a bike to give her a bit more mobility around campus.
I had hoped to get her something from an independent bike shop, on the principles that the quality would be better and the service more knowledgeable, and in the desire to stick it to the (Corporate) Man. Sadly (unlike the Bayou City) none of the Roanoke LBS' were open on Sunday, the only day we had to shop. Come on Guys, if you're going to survive in the teeth of competition from the Big Box stores you're going to have to get up on Sunday mornings.
I was starting to think we would have to hit Wally-World, but then we spotted a branch of Dick's Sporting goods near our hotel. A quick check on the Tubes showed that they carried decent-looking bikes, so off we went. I'd never heard of this chain before, even though there is apparently one in Houston. It turned out to be a slightly down-market version of Sport Authority/Academy, but they had a few bikes that tickled MC's fancy. She rode this little beauty (Diamondback Vital) around the store and liked it, although the seat/handlebar set-up felt a bit odd. Our sales guy/mechanic raised the saddle and it all fell into place for her. We added a kick-stand (despite grumblings from me!), bottle rack and a combination lock, then added a helmet (in a matching shade of blue, natch), a pump and a water bottle and she was good to go.
I discussed maintenance options with the Dick's guy. I don't expect her to maintain the bike (I don't maintain mine, other than cleaning and lube, after all) but I thought she should be able to do basic stuff, like repair a flat. He convinced me to throw down $50 on a 3-year maintenance plan, which will allow her to bring the bike back for basic repairs and adjustments at no charge. I don't normally like these deals and never buy them, but this one made sense. Of course, she'll need to get the bike back to the store but she will probably be able to sweet-talk a friend with a car into giving her a lift.
Happy riding, MC!