5 March 2016

Hafiz Adewuyi

You won't believe what costs the same as a beat-down car

A few weeks back, while I was on sick leave, I took out an hour from my ample free time to go visit Cycle Hub Plus (don't tell my boss); a bike store in Ikoyi, Lagos. Getting a proper bicycle is something I've wanted to do for quite a while, biking being one of my very few interests. So, months ago, I approached a fellow church member whom I'd been able to recognize as an avid biker.

She was happy to refer me to Cycle hub plus, although with a clause that it's usually best to go to a proper bike store abroad, as they do provide custom bike-fitting services. Her recommendations as per bikes was to look out for either:

- Road bikes or;
- Hybrids, which is like a combo. of road and mountain bikes. 

Those two types are the best for our naija roads, she had explained. It briefly played on my mind to consider asking her what my budget should be, but I quickly dumped the thought; of course, for egoistic reasons.

Okay. So, my journey to the store was very short (Lekki to Ikoyi). One bus and a rather long trek; cos' I didn't want to pay keke man for a ten-minute walking distance, seeing as I had all the free time in the world on my hands. You know what else was short? My time in the bike store.

On entering the store, my conversation with the storekeeper (after greetings) went something like this:

          Hafiz: Do you have any road-bikes in stock that would fit me?

Storekeeper: Sure; over there (points to a large black bicycle mounted South-east of where I'm standing)

          Hafiz: Oh cool (turns around and moves closer to the bike. He notices a 400,000 NGN price tag on this road bike)

At this point, my eyes might have widened as the thought that one could get a manageable - howbeit, overused - car at the same price crossed my mind. Yes, the store is in IKOYI and a fair degree of costliness than I am used to is something I had anticipated. But definitely not by this astounding factor! The most expensive bicycle I've bought till date cost me 24000 NGN, even though it didn't last one month before disintegrating.

          Hafiz: (Turns to the storekeeper) Are there any other road-bikes that are not this expensive?

Storekeeper: No. In fact, that's the only one we have in stock for now. Although, you can take a look at these other (hybrid) bikes (pointing to the area just in front of me).

 I take a look at the said hybrid bikes and it turns out the lowest of them cost 230,000 NGN. Egbe! At this point, it dawned heavily on me how I was in the last place I should be shopping for a bike. Or even anything for that matter. With humility, I acknowledged to the storekeeper how I would need a significant pay raise to even be able to consider investing in any of the bikes they carry.

Just before I walked out, the storekeeper gave me an important piece of information before I left the store: We carry only 'Specialized' bikes. My efforts at finding out how reasonable the quoted prices were did not yield fruit. There are no prices on the website of the supplier.

One thing I've not been able to reconcile though is why a bicycle would be so expensive. My exact thoughts are: "Even a keke marwa that has an engine does not cost nearly as much as this bleeping road-bike". Well, until I figure that out, my biking dreams can take a rest. Except of course, I'm ready to go cheapskate as usual.

Hmm. Crowdfunding? You're absolutely welcome friends.

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