It feels like AGES since I made an entry!
There has been a development with my bike, that being that I no longer own it!
At this point I think I should point something out. Nikki, as sad as she is (joking) has named her bike Betty, and thinks that my bike needs a name. Seeing as my shoes have cleats to clip onto the pedals, and also because the bike handles like something a hillbilly would drive, it got named Cleatus. As you all know, my bike, an Apollo Target, has had nothing but problems since day 1 (literally!), and so I was close to the end of my tether with the thing. Sunday pushed me over the edge!
Our original intention was to cycle to Bolton and back on Sunday. We set of and headed for the canal to cut out Whitebirk roundabout, which is one big ass, scary roundabout on the outskirts of Blackburn. All seemed to be going well, Nikki was keeping up, and I was testing out the new cycle glasses with a built in camera. While cycling along the canal Nikki noticed it looked as though it was frozen, so I stopped to throw a twig at it to see if it was. It was! We then set off again, or rather, Nikki set off. I noticed a strange noise emanating from the back of my bike. We spent a good 20 minutes trying to figure out what it was, thinking it was the rear mudguard catching, but had no luck in fixing it. While riding, it sounded as though the motor off a hairdryer with wheels… sorry, a moped, had been attached. We decided to head into Blackburn to see if we could get it fixed. First point of call was Blackburn Cycle and Scooter Centre, hopeful as we were that like some other shops in the town centre, it might be open on a Sunday. Alas, no it was not. So we headed to the store the bike originally came from… As Nikki asked, does anybody in Blackburn actually know what customer service is? If at Spar I was to treat people in the way we have be treated repeatedly in Blackburn, I’d have been sacked long ago! The staff were either “arsey” with us and instantly on the defensive as soon as the bike’s problems were mentioned, or the equivalent of a zombie who’d had the urge to eat flesh removed! The woman who was “serving” us was also instantly on the defensive when we said it had been to Blackburn Cycle and Scooter centre. Sorry love but I think they know a bit more about bikes than you! After a while of me having to stay silent while Nikki spoke to them, it transpired that the bike was in worse shape than we thought. The front wheel was buckled, the brakes needed replacing, and the gears were shot at. All we could do was cycle away because no mechanic (and I use that term in the loosest possible manner) could look at it until today. Now, these people are supposed to have some knowledge of how a bike works…. how is it that while cycling back up to the canal we noticed a fault that they had not, and not just a little one, it was a biggie! The back wheel was wobbling about and catching the frame as the bike moved, hence the strange moped like noise! Now neither me nor Nikki are experts about the mechanical workings of a bike, however we both know that is not meant to happen! At this point we had to be picked up by my dad as I could not cycle on the bike, and I could not walk because I would damage the cleats on my shoes.
Fast forward to Monday. I took the bike back to the Burnley store of the shop it came from (where may I add, the staff are A LOT more helpful and friendly!) wanting a refund for “Cleatus”. When I told my parents that I was going to do this the night before, they both said “Take Nikki with you, she’s better at this kind of thing than you”… Thanks! It is true, but still! lol. The manager of the store said that he could either do a refund, or a deal on a better bike. I know that two men who work there are very knowledgeable about bikes and cyclists themselves, and so I returned later that night when they were both working to get their opinions as to which bike I should get for the 650 mile trip. The correct bike for the job was selected, I had to pay a bit more towards it, minus the cost of the Apollo Target and some discount, and I now have a bike suitable for the trip. So, I introduce to you all, the Carrera Crossfire 1…
Like “Cleatus”, the Crossfire is a hybrid, although overall the Crossfire is a much better bike, and the quality of the components is clear just from looking at it. Complete with front suspension, high pressure inner tubes in the tyres, a lightweight aluminium frame, and a 21 speed gear set, I am confident that this bike will get me to France! I have now kitted it out with “Cleatus’s” pannier rack and SPD pedals, however the tyres will not allow the mudguards to be fitted. Now comes the part that clearly has Nikki stamped all over it. The Crossfire needs a name. Personally I say Crossfire, but apparently it has to go to a public vote, so please leave suggestions in the comments below.
Now that I have had a new lease of life, please help support our endeavours to aid the NSPCC by donating whatever you can at www.virginmoneygiving.com/r2rchallenge. Also, please “like” our Facebook page, www.facebook.com/r2rchallenge.