I’m afraid I'm becoming a bike snob. Now those that know me may scoff at this assertion considering the bikes I ride. Most of them are not so much bikes as collections of used parts that roll. I'm far from the "gruppo" category, as most of my componentry spans manufacturers, countries, nay generations. My flagship bike, the Cannondale, was constructed from a used frame that doesn't fit me very well, but that I got a good deal on. Of course, the Santana tandem is an exception, but I can keep my record unblemished by claiming that this is Susan's bike. Mrs. D. is the Cadiilac side of the family, while I belong to the Volkswagen side. Anyway, my choice of bikes is governed largely by serendipity, but I do have my standards.
I realized I was becoming a snob while looking around the bike cage where I work. Actually, the bike cage is more like a bike museum. At any point in time the place is full of bikes, but you can tell the ones that haven't been ridden by the fine layer of dust on them (as opposed to the fine layer of dirt on the ones that are ridden). I suspect they belong to Cambridge apartment dwellers who decide there's no room for bikes in their cramped quarters. At my other job with an outdoor bike rack, this was not a problem, as any bike left overnight would have disappeared or be stripped and up on blocks by morning. Here they have an annual purge, but the dead bikes keep coming back.
The bike that is the subject of my snobbery is a Huffy "Cross Trainer". I'm not exactly sure what sport this would serve as a cross-trainer for, but we'll leave the subject of marketing for another time. This was one of the dust collectors, so that was a mark against it to begin with. I noticed that the seat was about a foot lower than the handlebars. Good track position if you're going backwards. Maybe it belonged to one of those little old ladies who drive around and can barely see over the steering wheel (Cyclist menace #43).
The brakes were cheapo stamped steel. They looked like if you got going much above five mph, you would need a football field to stop. Don't even think about rain. Of course, there are those of us who would say brakes are for beginners, anyway, but this definitely looked like a beginner bike. It was however fitted out with a gel seat. This may be a sad commentary on the bike industry when safety takes a back seat (no pun intended) to comfort.
On the other hand one interesting bike on the rack was a Raleigh International. This is really a blast from the past. Now, I've heard of people converting mountain bikes by putting drop handlebars on them, but I've never seen it the other way around. This bike has a mountain bike stem and bars. The bars are very narrow, presumably to fit through spaces in traffic two millimeters wider than the rider's body (better not eat that second order of fries).