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.

3 comments:

cycledad said...

Hi WelshCyclist,

Oh dear your not alone (did you post on Bikeradar about this recently?). Halfords mechanics have a terrible rep. There is a Europe wide shortage of bike mechanics and so the good ones can pick and choose where they work. They dont choose halfords.

Rest assured the carrera has a good pedigree and the nexus hub once lined up is usually pretty reliable.

Keep at it though, you've made a good start. In a years time you'll have all your bugs sorted and be an expert commuter

welshcyclist said...

I certainly hope so, thanks for the encouragement cycledad

Antoine said...

I don't know the reason for all your puncture problems but I do know you have to find a local bike shop where you can trust the mechanics work and their advice (unless you learn to work on your bike yourself). It will cost more, but there's no point dealing with idiots!

- As you have had the same problem with multiple tyres I wonder if your rims have a "rim strip" or "rim tape" that is too narrow and exposing the spoke heads or is missing completely?

- The inside edge of the hole the valve stem pokes up out of can also have a sharp edge or burr and cut through tubes.

- Are your tyres inflated to the recommended pressures?

- If you are getting foreign objects like tacks or thorns on your roads coming through the tyre you can buy protective strips that fit between the tyre and tube.

I have not had a single puncture in 3 years and can highly recommend Schwalble Marathons, a German tyre (made in Asia!) designed for touring. They are not cheap but wear incredibly slowly and have a kevlar belt that increases puncture resistance. There is also a Marathon-Plus that is even tougher but with a weight penalty.