Bike rental: $45. Memorizing your credit-card number: expensive!

Location: Fruita, Colorado

Activity: Mountain biking, and falling in love with a rental.

Cruising down Kessel Run on the "rental" bike.

Cruising down Kessel Run on the "rental" bike.

The day after wrecking my husband’s bike, I walk into Over the Edge Sports bike shop in Fruita to pick up my rental, thinking I’ll be renting some crappy old hard tail. No. There it is, a Rocky Mountain full suspension with disc brakes. It’s all shiny and cute and most importantly dark green with pretty maple leaves painted on the frame. Immediately I fall in love with it, almost like my crush on Christian Slater in Robin Hood Prince of Thieves. Honestly I don’t know much about mountain bikes, I just know when something looks pretty and rides smooth.

When my husband, Jared, and I pull up in the parking lot on 18 road, I’m feeling the magic. I feel like a member of the Homecoming Court riding on some pimpin’ convertible. I stroll up to our bike posse and most everyone in the group starts making comments like, “A Rocky Mountain, that’s what they gave you? That’s a great bike.” Me, “Yeah, really? I think its pretty.”

We head to the trail, and after flying over the handlebars the day before, I’m feeling a bit nervous. As I’m riding up Prime Cut, I notice that when I shift gears there’s not the usual bumping and grinding I’m used to on the old bike. Being the novice biker, of course I hit rocks dead on, instead of avoiding them. Yet this spunky new bike is bringing back my confidence. We reach the top of the trail and head down Kessel Run. I feel like I’m flying; my bike loves me, I love it. This trail is one of those you want to do over and over again because of the ups and downs off the sides of the ravine and zig zags over the little hills. We finish the ride and the hard core riders head off to Zippity-Do-Da while the beginners ride up the dirt road to hit Joe’s Ridge. As we round the corner and spot the hill in front of us, I begin laughing. There is no way I’m riding down THAT hill. I want to live, I don’t want to break anything, so I walk my bike down a few steep spots. Then, because we loved it so much, we did the bottom of Kessel Run again.

Once the ride is over, it’s time for me to take the bike back to the rental shop. I hop in the car with my girlfriend, Arikka, and we drive back to town. After I figure out how to put the tire back on the bike (looks easy but isn’t), I say a sad goodbye to my pretty bike. This is where the trouble begins.

Salesman: “How’d you like the bike?”

Me: “It was great. I really like it. I wish I could buy it.”

Salesman: “You can.”

Me: “Really? How much?”

Salesman: “$1200. Oh and of course we’d apply your rental fee to it.”

Me: “I’ll buy it. Except I don’t have my Discover Card with me. But I do have my card number memorized and I know the expiration. Is that okay?”

Salesman: “No problem. That would be fine.”

As I’m standing there being rung up at the register, I think, “how am I going to pay off this bike?” Oh-well I’ll worry about that later. For now I’ve got a pretty new bike that loves me. We pull into camp with the bike still on the roof and my friend Mason asks, “Callista how much was your rental?” Me, “$45, well actually $1245.”

I go find Jared and we’re walking toward the Pathfinder and he sees I still have the bike on the roof rack.

Jared: “Callista, it’s almost 6 p.m. Don’t you need to get the bike back to the shop?”

Me: “Nope, I bought it.”

Jared: “No you didn’t. You’re kidding.”

Me: “No I’m not. I bought it.”

Jared: “Nooooo. Seriously? Callista, you can’t afford that.”

Me: “Yep it’s mine. And I put it on my Discover Card.”

This is basically how every conversation went that night with each member of the group. My husband wasn’t mad I bought a bike. I think he’s just bummed I got a nicer bike than he does, plus it’s green, one of his favorite colors.

Lesson: Renting a bike is a lot of fun. But memorizing your credit card number can lead to a very expensive camping trip.

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