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Old 07-24-13, 08:44 AM   #1
Gerryattrick
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A tale of two miserable bike shops

At the community bike workshop yesterday we had two female students from Germany come in for help with their bikes.

They're staying in Wales for the summer and decided to cycle around the coast of Wales over a couple of weeks, like they'd done around the Scottish Highlands last year. It was a bit last minute so they bought two used bikes from a local dealer who removates & sells old bikes for a living. They were rubbish: one was a supermarket BSO mtb and the other was a reasonable old steel Claud Butler mtb, but which was in poor condition (about 70 each)

IMO the dealer should have a) told them they were not the right type of bike for the trip they have in mind, and b) made sure that the bikes were in good enough condition for the trip.

They'd been to one of a national chain of bike shops - Evans Cycles, to buy a pump, puncture outfit, bottle cage and pannier rack. They were sold them but the people at Evans said they didn't have time to fit them, and said the the cage bolts looked too rusty to undo (took me less than 20 seconds!)

The girls were told by a friend to come to our workshop for some help. There were loads of problems such as loose headset, very rusty brake cables, worn brake pads. We managed to sort most of their problems out and send them on their way (directing them to a good LBS for a few more essentials such as spare tubes and cables) but felt very bad about the treatment they'd received from two different bike companies. If they'd come to us in the first place they'd have had suitable tourers, with panniers and cages at no cost, and a 3 month guarantee.

It doesn't reflect well on the trade in general nor on the service to visitors to Wales.

I worry a bit about how they're going to get on - especially as they thought the coastal route around Wales is going to be quite flat , with most of the hills inland. They were optimistically aiming to get to the Gower Peninsula by yesterday evening, but I advised them to take the train for the first 40 miles. But I've a feeling that with their enthusiasm they'll do it, even with a few mishaps along the way. Let's hope the weather keeps up for them.

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Old 07-24-13, 08:56 AM   #2
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Old 07-24-13, 09:00 AM   #3
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i love helping tourists. it is a pay forward for all the help i've gotten as a tourist.
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Old 07-24-13, 10:01 AM   #4
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Wales? Evans Cycles? I'll be sure to avoid them when I come to visit and look up the history of my Welsh ancestors.
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Old 07-24-13, 10:03 AM   #5
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...over a couple of weeks, like they'd done around the Scottish Highlands last year.
I would have thought that last year's several week tour would have educated them enough to know what they needed. Blonde, maybe?
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Old 07-24-13, 10:05 AM   #6
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Good on you for helping them out. Pretty crappy for the shop to throw them to the wolves like that.
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Old 07-24-13, 12:07 PM   #7
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I would have thought that last year's several week tour would have educated them enough to know what they needed. Blonde, maybe?
They said they don't usually cycle other than on holiday, so definitely a bit impetuous and foolish, but what's the point of being young if you're not. I can still just about remember my time at university.

They also said they'd donate the bikes to us on their return.

And no, not the popular German stereotype, both had black hair!
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Old 07-24-13, 01:26 PM   #8
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Guess Evans went Chain-store.. only visited the London store in 1988.


FWIW, I see people out on all sorts of bikes, headed down the Oregon Coast. having a good time..

wasnt there , they may hve wanted cheap so got some as-is trade ins ..

hard to chase away all those Magnas that the seller wants to get rid of for a few bucks..
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Old 07-24-13, 01:55 PM   #9
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An unscrupulous person sold my son-in law a cheap, overweight imitation of a dual suspension mountain bike for $100. I guess the no-name piece of garbage looked like real bike. Then he asked me to "make the brakes work" for him. It was damn hard to tell him that it would cost way more to make the brakes work than the pile of crap was worth. I hope he will let me help with his next purchase.
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Old 07-24-13, 04:51 PM   #10
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I would have thought that last year's several week tour would have educated them enough to know what they needed. Blonde, maybe?
I am sort of with you on this one. Even though they might only ride on vacation, they should perhaps know better, considering bikes are a bit more common in Germany than in some other places.

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An unscrupulous person sold my son-in law a cheap, overweight imitation of a dual suspension mountain bike for $100. I guess the no-name piece of garbage looked like real bike. Then he asked me to "make the brakes work" for him. It was damn hard to tell him that it would cost way more to make the brakes work than the pile of crap was worth. I hope he will let me help with his next purchase.
Why unscrupulous? Unless it was misrepresented, and if your SiL bought it in person, he paid what he thought it was worth. Buying without knowledge is not the seller's fault.

I've been to Evans Cycles in London, too. It wasn't the friendliest bike shop experience I've had, but it was far from the worst.

It might also be useful to get the story from the dealer and Evans Cycles before condemning them entirely, though.

Last edited by Rowan; 07-24-13 at 07:44 PM.
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Old 07-24-13, 05:57 PM   #11
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An unscrupulous person sold my son-in law a cheap, overweight imitation of a dual suspension mountain bike for $100.
sounds like it was a Wall Mart Bike.. * YGWYPF still is in effect ..
A proper dual suspension mountain bikes are over 10X that price.

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Old 07-24-13, 07:27 PM   #12
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It was way worse, it was a used and abused Walmart bike. Some moron drilled a hole in the frame to mount a kickstand, put a 7 speed cassette on an 8 speed bike, and put a 700x25 road bike tube in the front tire. It was a complete disaster. All 50 pounds of it.
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Old 07-24-13, 07:47 PM   #13
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One can take pride in his or her work, and rest at night knowing he or she did his or her very best - or not.
Pretty much this. I build Walmart crap all day, and I make SURE it's as good as it's gonna get before it leaves my workstand. I also know that things will show up in the first couple weeks' use; I just wish these clowns would give me a chance to fix 'em before they just return them (for example, for a flat tire THEY caused!). It MIGHT, in the example I cited, cost them the price of a tube, but labor is free, as are replacement parts for 90 days, unless they really TRASH the thing.
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Old 07-24-13, 08:12 PM   #14
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It was way worse, it was a used and abused Walmart bike. Some moron drilled a hole in the frame to mount a kickstand, put a 7 speed cassette on an 8 speed bike, and put a 700x25 road bike tube in the front tire. It was a complete disaster. All 50 pounds of it.
It does lead to the question: Why did your son-in-law buy it?
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Old 07-24-13, 09:09 PM   #15
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I have a friend who pretty much trusts everyone. Sometimes he gets taken advantage of. His view is that it will eventually all work out. He says he'd rather be trusting and foolish than cynical. He's 82 years old and happy. It may not be entirely youth at play with these young women. Perhaps they just believe, as does my friend, that it will all work itself out.
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Old 07-25-13, 11:40 AM   #16
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It does lead to the question: Why did your son-in-law buy it?
He thought it was a real bike. Knowledge is power.
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Old 07-25-13, 12:18 PM   #17
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I am sort of with you on this one. Even though they might only ride on vacation, they should perhaps know better, considering bikes are a bit more common in Germany than in some other places.

I've been to Evans Cycles in London, too. It wasn't the friendliest bike shop experience I've had, but it was far from the worst.

It might also be useful to get the story from the dealer and Evans Cycles before condemning them entirely, though.

You're right of course. They were complete idiots who should know more about bikes and therefore deserved poor service and being sold unsuitable bikes. That'll teach them.

I didn't say Evans Cycles are the worst store in the UK (I too have bought stuff from them and never mentioned the London store in my post btw), just that the customer service was poor on this occasion. I apologise for not detailing the girls' experience in the shop in full, boring detail and for not inviting Evans and the used bike dealer to give rebuttal evidence. Lesson learned!

Bloody tourists!!
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Old 07-25-13, 04:16 PM   #18
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You're right of course. They were complete idiots who should know more about bikes and therefore deserved poor service and being sold unsuitable bikes. That'll teach them.

I didn't say Evans Cycles are the worst store in the UK (I too have bought stuff from them and never mentioned the London store in my post btw), just that the customer service was poor on this occasion. I apologise for not detailing the girls' experience in the shop in full, boring detail and for not inviting Evans and the used bike dealer to give rebuttal evidence. Lesson learned!

Bloody tourists!!
Why the aggro? Golly gosh, old son, take a chill pill.

Try to remember that there are two sides to every story. You've presented one in a fashion that condemns several, including one by name, without an opportunity for reply.

By the way, when did "Buyer Beware" go out of fashion?
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Old 07-25-13, 05:26 PM   #19
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Great Story Gerryattrick, Good read..... Osco Nods, understands..
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