Tuesday, 2 September 2008

The continuing tale of woe.

I feel so embarassed about, what seems to be, my continuing tale of woe, it seems every time I post to this blog of mine, something has gone wrong with my Subway 8 and my efforts to commute. Either I am the victim of hopeless bike maintenance, from Halfords, my local bike shop, or just the unluckiest cyclist in the world.

Well what has gone wrong this time ? I hear you all say, with a yawn, you too must be getting bored with my endless bicycle problems.

Today I was looking forward to picking up my Subway from Halfords, after the replacement of the faulty inner tube, ( leeking valve ). I rang, to make sure it was ready, and was told "..er..I was just going to have a look at it....", I told them again what was required, a new tube, and a replacement spoke, and between us agreed a time, after 2 p.m., when I could pick it up. Sadly, when I arrived the bike was still in pieces, and not finished, but someone, at least, was working on it, and told me it would be ready in 10 minutes. I went outside, put the bike rack on the car, and had to wait another 30 minutes.

Finally it was ready, I told the " mechanic ", who had been working on my bike, that I'd take it for a spin around the car park, remembering only too well, what had happened last time I'd picked it up from there. As soon as I began to pedal it was obvious something was wrong, the pedals seemed to be dragging, not moving smoothly, my immediate thought was, oh no, not again! Miserably, I took the bike back in to the " mechanic ", and showed him, his reply was staggering. He said he'd have a look, but it might have to wait until......"...THE MECHANIC CAME IN ON THURSDAY..!!!!!! ".

Flabbergasted, I simply said to him, I hadn't the time to wait, while he, yet again tried to sort my bike out, that I would ring in the morning. Since returning home I've sent a very long email to Halfords, explaining the dreadful year I've had under their totally useless " Bikecare Plan ", and incompetent service. Getting it all off my chest, however, does not solve my problem, i.e., not having my bike to commute, it's so "..*^%$£*+.." frustrating. I'm constantly back to square one, no two-wheeled transport for my commuting.

This type of thing has happened far too many times in the year I've had the Subway 8, I am completely exasperated with Halfords, and need them to do something big to put things right....

So far I've only received an automatic email reply from their customer services office, stating they will reply within 7 days, the clock is ticking.

Sorry again for this tale of woe.

Monday, 1 September 2008

Back in the LBS!!!

Just dropped my Subway back to Halfords, back tyre flat, by the sound of it a faulty valve, am I sick and tired of punctures, they have continuously taken a whole lot of the enjoyment out of my cycling. The tyres I've used i.e., the Continental Safety System, are supposed to be guaranteed against puncture for a year, or a replacement plus inner tube provided free. Now since I took delivery of the Subway, I've used SportContact, Contact and now CityContact, had at least a dozen punctures in the Sport version, 15+ in the Contact version, and now one, within a week, in the City version ???? The punctures mainly hit the back wheel, but the front was involved too often also, yet though all these versions carry the same guarantee, only the Contact version attracted free replacements, and then only once?

What is going on? When a supposedly respectable company like Continental Tyres, can fail to back up it's advertised guarantee?

Consequently, I've written to the company's head office, in Germany, asking that very question, we'll see what they have to say.

Meanwhile, as this blog reveals, over the past year, cycling on the Subway 8, I have been left stranded far too often, and unable to cycle for weeks overall, enough to make a lesser dedicated cyclist give up the ghost, and return to using the car to commute. Considering the added disincentive of this dreadful summer weather we've been subjected to these last few weeks, it's amazing I still want to be out there on my bike. That's where " I'm nuts ", comes into the equation, I suppose, because you'd have to be nuts, wouldn't you, to still crave the cycling experience against all this adversity stacked against me, and causing such frustration to me.

What's it they say ? The only way is up ?

All I want is a few months of puncture free cycling, not much to ask, when you consider Mark Beaumont cycled 18,000 miles around the world, only had 10 punctures. What's that ? An average of 1,800 miles per puncture. I can only dream, or is it simply that the roads, cyclepaths and towpaths of Neath Port Talbot are, in fact tougher than any of the streets, roads etc., that the rest of the world has to offer ?

Could be that I live in the toughest cycling country in the world, well if you go by Continental Tyre standards anyway. It will be very interesting to read their reply.

By the way, I'm sat here with no bike, and guess what--- it's raining!!!