There have been pluses in the past week, but overall I'm not very happy about the way things have gone. My shift pattern /roster dictated that I'd be off work from last Wednesday, with no overtime available, and I'd booked Monday(tomorrow) and Tuesday as annual leave, I have to use it up or lose it, so I was looking forward to riding my Subway 8, every morning until I return to work next Thursday, back to my normal commute. It hasn't worked out that way.
Tuesday morning on my way home, after my nightshift, the internal hub gears of the Nexus 8, on the Subway, started feeling ropey/rough/not right, and then came back to normal again. When I got home I lifted the backwheel, and went through the gears and they seemed fine, so I checked my tyres for glass, oiled the chain etc., ready for my next day's ride.
Early Wednesday morning I set out for a local round trip, up to Pontneathvaughan, back through Glynneath, in and around Cwmgwrach, down to Resolven before heading home. The gears started giving me problems again about 3 miles to go, very rough, slipping, locking until I had to settle for 5th gear for the rest of the ride. At home I tried messing around with them, with no effect, and so resigned myself to the fact, I'd have to take the bike to Halfords, under my Bikecare Plan.
I took it in on Thursday, Elizabeth and I were going shopping, anyway, and for a walk around Llansamlet lake, in Swansea, very close to the Halfords store where I bought the Subway 8 and Bikecare plan. Dropping off the bike, I explained to the lad, on the bike repair counter, the problems with the gears, and also agreed, on his suggestion, that the bike was due for its annual service, yes I've had the Subway for a year now. Hasn't that year slipped by so quickly? He asked me when I would like the bike back I said Saturday, he told me that should be O.K., but that he wouldn't be able to start on it until 11.00 a.m., next morning. We agreed that if there was a problem with me picking the bike up on Saturday, then they(Halfords) would ring me, and I gave him both my home and mobile telephone numbers.
Friday came, and when I hadn't heard anything from Halfords, I thought to myself I would be able to pick up the Subway next day, and be set for a ride on Sunday morning, however experience with Halfords told me to ring them, to make sure. So I rang Halfords late in the afternoon, Russell, the manager, tried to put me through to the repairs department, but couldn't get a reply, so asked me to hang on while he went over to check, which I did. When he came back on the phone, he told me the lads behind that counter were busy dealing with customers, he wasn't able to talk to them, but saw my Subway 8 on the workstand, so yes it should be O.K., for me to pick the bike up, about lunchtime Saturday.
Sadly though Saturday morning Daniel, one of Halford's bike mechanics, rang me to say they had begun stripping the Nexus 8 gears, had found water inside, and that the bike wouldn't be ready until late afternoon. Disappointed, but relieved I would still have the bike for the next morning's ride I carried on with my Saturday. A bit of home decorating under the guidance of Elizabeth, then after lunch I went to watch my middle son, Conor play football, in the local park, for Glynneath. At 30 he's decided to play again, after a couple of years off?
Halfway through the 2nd half of the game, my son's team were losing 4-1, at that stage, Daniel rang me again, on my mobile, basically saying they couldn't continue repairing the gears, as they didn't have the relevent manual, that inside the gears were very rusty, and they would have to consult with their manager, Russell, on Monday, as to how they would proceed. I reminded Daniel that they had renewed the entire backwheel, including a new Nexus 8 hub only 6 months ago, and that I shouldn't be expected to pay for a new one. He simply replied he would need to consult with his manager, yet again Halfords had let me down.
It's staggering to find that Halfords sold me the Carrera Subway 8, which is their own brand, alongside their Bikecare plan, and are completely unable to service the agreement, neither having the trained staff capable of doing the work, nor the manuals to work with. An incredulous situation, don't you think? I certainly do, consequently I sent an email to Halfords customer services department last night so they should be contacting me Monday morning.
Meanwhile, and not for the first, second, or third time, I'm off the road because of Halfords incompetence. When I took out the Bikecare plan, I thought I had a bargain, free labour, maintenance, and servicing, just pay for any parts used. At £29.95 for a 3 year agreement, what a bargain! Everything isn't as it seems though, and I feel badly let down.
I checked out the price of servicing the Subway at Tredz, a bike shop round the corner from Halford, £60 plus parts!! I simply can't afford that.
All I seem to do is moan about poor Halfords customer service, on this blog, I'm sorry folks, but there's more to come, but with a happy ending this time. You will remember back 6-7 months ago I had a horrendous time with punctures, 8 in 10 days at one stage, in fact that's when Halfords changed my entire backwheel, hub and all, because all the punctures were being caused internally, and they could not pinpoint what was the cause. The tyres I was using were Continental Safety System, which are gauranteed against puncture for 12 months or a replacement tyre and inner tube provided free of charge, well the company, sorry, agents, in this part of the world, for Continental Tyres which is a German manufacturer, only provided one set of replacements.
When I complained to the agents about this, they replied that they only provided one replacement set per tyre bought, if punctured, so I wrote and complained to Continental's base in Germany. As a result I took delivery of 2 new sets of tyre and inner tubes, last Wednesday, so thankyou Continental Tyres. They sent me the reflex tour version of the Continental Safety system, one of which has been on my front wheel for the past 6 months, and I'm very pleased with.
So there are companies, out there, with a conscience. Will it prove the same with Hafords? That's very debatable at the moment, I've complained in the past to their customer services department before, about their poor service under the Bikecare plan, only to be told they were "sorry I had found it necessary to complain, that they took such complaints very seriously, and would work with their staff to ensure an exceptable standard of service would be provided, and if I wanted refund on the cost of the Bikecare plan, just to return the pack." As far as I'm concerned they were admitting they can't provide that service, why else offer a refund? By accepting that offer, it would only let them off the hook, scot-free, no way.
The ball is firmly in Halfords court for the moment, all I can do is await developments, but I'll keep you up to date, as best I can, as the story continues to unfold.
Going on now to some other good news, while I was at Tredz, checking out bike service charges, I had a look around at bicycle gear and clothing, bearing in mind I will be commuting through the winter. I've been in the shop before, they've a great range of bikes, but now I've seen a Rohloff hub for the first time, rather than on the internet, it was on a commuting bike, over £2000, so way out of my reach, no harm in dreaming though. Still I was looking for a bargain to do with clothing, and I found, in the sale section for shoes, a pair of Shimano cycling shoes, down from £40 to £12. I tried them on, perfect fit.
From now on I'll have proper stiff soled cycling shoes when I cycle, they've got cleats as well, but you have adapt them, so they can stay as they are, for now, or until I decide to fix my shoes to the pedals. Not something I fancy really, but hopefully these shoes will stop the outer toes on my feet, particularly my left, from suffering numbness towards the end of my commute home. I think its caused by my toes curling around the pedals, let's hope that will be the end of that discomfort.
A really long post this, and not a photo to be seen, sorry about that. Talk to you again soon.