It's back! Picked up old blackie (name is a joke, it's my new bike) from the bike shop Thursday.
It was a slightly odd experience. Audrey and I walked to the shop, and I started to ride home--but on my way out of the parking lot, I noticed the brakes were practically dysfunctional. I immediately went back and they nicely and quickly tightened the brakes, all the while assuring me that they had not touched them.
Maybe, but the brakes seemed very loose.
They also informed me that I ride in the wrong gear and that means that I'm too hard on the bike. But I rode my previous bikes for many years, primarily in first gear, without causing any damage that I know of.
Well, OK, I'll start in 4th gear from now on.
On the plus side, although the mirror needed gluing and the cool P-51 model Cate gave me officially is gone (broken propeller), it's nice to have the black beast back. The cost was very modest, mostly just a chain lube, as most of the repair job was covered under warranty, and that's probably worth any price difference you would ever get from buying a bike at Wal-Mart. So shop your local bike shop.
Now? Home, James!