I’ve been meaning to get a photo of this brontosaurus statue ever since I first saw it appear in front of our local Sinclair station. (Yes, I know that kids these days are learning to call it an Apatosaurus, but it will always be Brontosaurus to me.)
It’s been a few months, but this is not in a part of town I tend to go by bike very often. Yesterday I was on foot with a luxury of time.
I would have climbed on its back and posed with it, but my only companion at the time was a dog.
I’m very sentimental about Sinclair gas stations. They bring back memories of summer road trips with my father and my sister. We went all over the western US, including a memorable trip to Utah when I was nine years old. We drove from Denver all the way to Arches National Park, passing through Dinosaur National Monument, where I got to talk to a real paleontologist working in the quarry. After that, there was no choice for us but Sinclair whenever we filled up the car for the remainder of the trip and for long after.
For years I had a stolen collection of waxy molded dinosaurs from a Sinclair Dinoland Mold-A-Rama, totems to these childhood memories. In 2008, I finally returned these coveted items to their rightful owner: my sister.
My sentimentality for Sinclair is not rational. Even as I tried to reduce my consumption of gasoline, I defaulted to Sinclair whenever I had the choice. I still do.
This is called brand loyalty, and Sinclair has me right where they want me–except when I’m on a bike.
Just a few years ago, I tried to find which gas stations I could patronize in order to boycott Saudi oil. For a moment during my research, it seemed as if Sinclair might actually be the one. As I dug deeper, I realized that was just wishful thinking.
Yesterday, while I was worshiping this idol of the petroleum religion, I had an epiphany. I realized what little I was doing to create positive bike-related memories for the kids in my life.
In fact, both of my stepchildren have managed to lose their bikes within the last several months. My parenting-book response has been to make them both take responsibility for replacing the bikes.
Bikes don’t grow on trees, Young Lady!
And reality is that they are getting along just fine without bikes. They tend to get car rides wherever they need to go, or they just don’t go anywhere.
Reflecting on this brontosaurus helped me to resolve the dilemma. Cheap, junked, fixer-upper bikes practically do grow on trees. I’m going to acquire a couple of used bikes and fix them up.
And then we’re going to make some memories that don’t result in brand loyalty to an oil company.