Four Lessons Learned From Buying the Second Best Bicycle

December 19, 2018

I was ready to buy my Phantom, but they were sold out. The clerk said they he only had the Green Hornet in stock.  I was disappointed, but the Hornet wasn’t bad either, never mind that it was second best. I gave the clerk a $5.00 bill and agreed to pay $2 every Saturday until the note was paid. The money came out of my paper route. I had my first taste of credit, got the bike and paid two dollars every week forever it seemed.

As time went by I enjoyed riding the bike but, I never loved it. My heart was set on owning a Phantom, and I settled for a Hornet. I wanted the best bike, and I chose the second best bike because I was unwilling to wait for a new shipment of Phantoms to arrive. The Hornet also cost a little less than the best thing, but the savings were soon forgotten.

I learned four valuable lessons from buying the second best bicycle. Lesson 1. Have patience. Had I waited a couple of weeks for the new shipment of bikes to arrive I would have gotten the bike I wanted. Lesson 2. If what you want costs a little more, don’t settle for a little saving. Price is quickly forgotten. Value has a long shelf life. Lesson 3. I know now, looking back the “fastness” or speed of the bike was the result of how much energy I expended peddling. Phantoms and Hornets had a chain-driven sprocket with one speed— no derailleur offering multi gears. You peddled slowly, and you moved slowly, you peddled fast you moved fast. The same is true of life today. Lesson 4. Anything worth having is worth working for. I sometimes got tired delivering my newspapers, but I knew come Saturday, I had to have two dollars for the man at Western Auto.

I am sorry for kids today who don’t take the opportunity to earn money to buy a bicycle. But I am sorrier still for those kids who have a bike and did not earn money to pay for it.  They will never know the joy of patience and the excitement of paying off a “note.”

Unable to make the connection between effort and results; cause and effect; between sweat and reward, they only know getting, never giving. Whenever I feel myself being impatient, as I sometimes do, I remember the words of John Quincy Adams, “Patience and perseverance have a magical effect before which difficulties disappear, and obstacles vanish.”

I peddle on.