Guilty pleasure

There’s a fat-tire bike on its way with my name on it — but I have mixed feelings about this development.

You’ve probably started seeing fat bikes around town. They’re basically mountain bikes with oversized tires — think monster truck compared to a regular pickup — roll over mud, snow, and just about anything else you can think of, even a line of junk cars, I’d bet.

I’ve wanted to get in on the fat bike craze for a couple years, but they are pricey machines, to say the least. So I’ve been trying to save up, hanging on to gift cards and birthday checks, preparing lunch at home instead of buying it, and even cutting way back on my other gear purchases. It has been more than a year since I’ve added to my collection of Lycra.

Despite my best laid plans, I’ve never quite been able to stash away enough to pull the trigger on a big purchase. But this year, when talk started of the permanent fund dividend amount getting pretty close to he cost of a bike, I saw an opportunity. Normally, my PFD check goes toward a spring break family vacation, but that’s not in the plans this year. I figured that would free up some funds for my fat-tire bike fund.

Apparently, I was wrong. When I made my pitch, it was received by my wife with a polite but firm no, and an explanation that we needed to pay off some bills (it was an expensive summer, with a major car repair and a major dog repair).

I was disappointed, but I figured I could squirrel away at least part of my dividend, and with a birthday coming up, maybe I’d be in good position to make my pitch in another couple of months.

That didn’t stop me from dropping fat-tire bike hints left and right. While it worked for Ralphie and his Red Rider BB gun in “A Christmas Story,” it probably wasn’t a good strategy for me as I’m pretty sure it got on my wife’s nerves. And to be honest, the consistent “we have to pay bills” response was starting to annoy me, especially when we were finding other things to spend our disposable income on.

Things came to a head when my wife asked me to pick out a new comforter and sheet set. I assume I’m a typical guy as I don’t really care if the bedding all matches, but I gave a pretty snotty reply along the lines of not wanting to spend money on things I don’t want if I can’t spend money on things I do want.

My wife’s response was not what I expected — she told me to go ahead and order the bike. But before I was able to get over my shock, I also got a lecture.

Apparently, my wife had been planning to get a fat bike for me for that upcoming birthday. She’d been arranging for other family members to chip in, researching models, even looking around for one that would work for me. She finished off the lecture by letting me know, in no uncertain terms, that I’d spoiled it for everyone. The phrase “if it makes you happy” was in there, delivered in a tone that ensures I know not everyone is happy.

So yes, when the bike arrives and I take it out for a ride, I will feel a little guilty. But I’m pretty sure I will enjoy riding it, anyway.

I guess that’s why they call it a guilty pleasure.

Reach Clarion editor Will Morrow at

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