Thursday, 23 July 2009

Bad Luck

If I believed in bad luck (which I don't, but "Lots of bad things happening coincidentally in a relatively short time period" just doesn't sound right) then I would think I was having a run of it at the moment. It seems every time I try to make my bike run better by cleaning it lovingly, or replacing worn parts with shiny new bits, something goes wrong.

I'm doing a 100mile bike ride for charity in (eep!!) just over 3 weeks. Ideally I would be riding my bike lots and generally training for a long ride. Unfortunately, my bike is now in pieces. First my chain went, this was soon replaced and all was well for a little while. Then I realised there was a scary patch of corrosion under the crown of the forks. I took it to the bike shop, one guy said it was probably because I was a student (I'm not a student, even if I was a student, are students particularly corrosive?), another one said "It'll probably be fine, just keep an eye on it". Gee thanks, actually I like my smile the way it is, my teeth might not be perfect but I'd rather they stay where they are rather than get scattered across the road due to fork-fail.

So, I thought well, if I'm replacing my forks I might as well replace my brakes too and brake and gear cables since they're all getting a bit corroded and old from 2winters of commuting on salted roads. Local bike shops didn't stock what I needed but handily there are a plethora of online shops happy to help. I ordered the bits I needed and waited in anticipation. The parcel arrived and looked suspiciously long... That would be because they had included some MTB bars I hadn't ordered. One piece of cable outer was missing, and so were the brakes. Bother.

Interestingly, on the invoice, underneath where it said "7 items", the packer had put "5items". Well yes, that's how many you packed. Unfortunately I did actually want 7items. Otherwise I wouldn't have ordered them.

I read through the online FAQ and wasn't entirely sure what to do (they have instructions for when you've ordered the wrong thing, ordered the wrong size, or if the thing you've ordered is broken - unfortunately they don't have instructions for what to do when they've sent you completely the wrong component) so I phoned the helpline. I was told that as the cable outer was missing, he could just send me some, but that as I wanted to swap the bars for brakes I would have to return the bars before they could send out the brakes. I thought this was a little odd but given how many times I'd had to give him the order number and explain what I was missing I was losing the will to complain.

I've sent back the bars (that I didn't order) and am now waiting on the brakes (that I have ordered and paid for). I should have got these a week ago but now it's looking like it'll be next week before they arrive, and then I'll have to find time to fix my bike up. By which time it will be less than 3weeks to the charity audax. Bugger.

In future I'd be very tempted to say nothing about the bars and just point out they hadn't sent me some of the things on the order. It looks like the whole thing would have been sorted much quicker and easier this way. And I wouldn't have had to pay postage to send their bars back!

Tuesday, 7 July 2009


I went to the doctors yesterday to get a prescription. My appointment was booked for 5.40pm but I actually got seen at 6pm. This is not overly surprising, I once had an appointment at 9am and they were already running more than 20minutes late! Anyway, I got out of the appointment just after 6 to find that there was one more person waiting to be seen, and no receptionists... So anyway, I unlocked my bike and tried to walk out the big, automatic front doors. Except they were locked... Tried ringing the bell at reception... No answer, obviously receptionists don't care if they lock patients in as long as they get to go home promptly.

Eventually a cleaner appeared and let me out a back door. This involved going through a door marked "Staff members only" down a corridor not really wide enough for me and a bike, and out a fire exit.

It's the doctor I felt most sorry for, surely it's not appropriate to be locked in a surgery with a steadily reducing number of patients?