Tuesday, 27 November 2012
You might remember back in the summer the cyclist smashed the shit out of one of his fancy wheels, did himself some fairly impressive damage in the process, and spent months flumping around the place generally getting under my feet and complaining about not riding his bike. And that after some pretty extensive research (thank you Bike Rumor) and list making, we toddled off hand-in-hand on a not overly successful trip to a popular bike shop that shall remain nameless, apparently exclusively staffed by dimwits and morons (I know you know) to dictate in words of one syllable the precise items we wished to purchase.
And that smashing the shit out of a front wheel means you have to buy quite a lot of replacement wheels because of aerodynamics and physics and that (really, the cyclist can explain it so much better than me).
Well, this little trip was back in July (documented here). I got a bike of my very own (currently set up in turbo trainer in front room, where I will occasionally sacrifice style for speed for 30 minutes* when I'm not using it as a drying rack for jeans and duvet covers), and the ancillary bike kit that one requires. The cyclist picked up some replacements for the bits that had been ruined by the crash - most importantly some extremely blingy Bont shoes, and also chose some new rims to build replacement wheels on to. 18 hole front and 24 hole rear to match the hubs from the destroyed wheel and it's friend. Special tubeless rims to avoid punctures, with less rolling resistance (and basically because they're new and he reckons he needs them in his life).
*30 minutes denotes chamois time not turbo time.
And last week - last week! - the aforementioned spanky new rims finally arrived.
'But you ordered them 4 MONTHS ago! And the warehouse had them IN STOCK!'
Why yes, dear reader, you have hit the nail on the head. Here's what happened.
We put the order in at the bike shop. The bike shop put the order in to the warehouse. We paid, and took the items that were actually in the shop, and awaited a quick phone call to let us know the other bits had come in so we could pick it up. And waited. And phoned the bike shop. And were told that all our stuff had come in and we could come and get it. And went and got it.
Except there were no rims. But we would get a call on Tuesday to let us know when they would be in the shop for collection, probably later that week.
And we waited. And Tuesday came and went. And we waited. And we phoned the bike shop, but the person we needed to speak to wasn't in that day, but he would phone us on Tuesday. And we waited. And we phoned the bike shop. And we got a bit shirty. And we went to the bike shop. And the rims had been there, but they weren't there any more, they'd been sent back to the warehouse, and we'd get a phone call on Tuesday. And we waited. And we didn't go back down to the bike shop because we weren't sure we'd be able to keep our temper. And we phoned the bike shop, but the person we needed to speak to wasn't in that day but he'd definitely call us back. And we phoned the bike shop and put on a funny voice and gave a fake name, but he really wasn't there (or he was avoiding all calls in case it was us putting on a funny voice). And we waited. And eventually we rang head office and dished out a bit of a bollocking and funnily enough the rims rocked up at the office a few days later.
And here's the killer: Four months after ordering the bastarding things, one of the rims that has turned up is the 2012 version they presumably had in stock, while the other is straight from the distributer and (we assume) 2013 version. So the situation we find ourselves in is a subtle but totally crucial minor difference in the stickers which is sending the cyclist's bike OCD into apoplectic spasms of fury and frustration.
The crucial detail of bike decals, be it on the frame, wheels, stems or saddles, is absolutely an art form unto itself. Heck, there's even a reasonably large market in custom post-factory decals should a cyclist absolutely require a certain size of lettering or colour detail. And as his bike is his pride and joy, rim decals that don't match will not be happening on my cyclist's watch. Wrecking his fingernails, soaking the stickers with washing up liquid, and scraping away with various utensils, all the while muttering and swearing to get the feckers off will be happening.