25 April 2008

Arse of bicyle maintenance part II: born-again bike

I had planned it carefully, or so I thought: two weeks before the Coast to Coast, I would take my 20-month old bike to its birthplace (the Biking Factory Shop in Prestwich) to have its maker put it through a complete and thorough service - a refit, an overhaul - ready for the big weekend. I even rang the shop to check what time they opened (and noticed it wasn't the usual gentleman who answered, but thought "what the heck!").

Alas, it was not to be. Said gentleman was not in, but a kind but hapless-looking stranger who explained that the shop owner and chief bike mechanic was in hospital (nothing too serious, I hope) and no repairs or maintenance could take place for two weeks or so.

So, plan B then. I took the bike to the Bicycle Boutique - they had helped me recently with something, for free - and I've used them before. I went through my list - full service, handlebar 'grips' (dunno what they're called - the 'horns' useful for comfort in long rides), spares for the journey, etc.

The chap rang me later - the bill was a staggering £126.50!!! I said yes, after consulting with HQ. It is exactly as much as I paid for the bike, less than two years ago! But... why waste a good frame, plus don't have time to find another bike, plus loyalty, etc etc. Not the best month to suffer this waking bill, but there we go - after all, it is my daily form of transport so I must offset it against what I'd pay in, say, petrol, or tram fares.

Coast to Coast? It'd better be good...

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