21 September 2007

Update on Evans Cycles

It's been a week now since I wrote to Evans' Cycles regarding my missing equipment & general awful service.

I received an email saying that the store was out of stock of inner tubes & how they pride themselves on customer service (Please, my sides are splitting here!). This is from a nationwide company who has a mail order section & online ordering. So it would appear there is a world wide shortage of rubber??

A shortage of Lycra I can understand!!

Perhaps they will blame El Nino or the political election crises that is currently consuming Belgium (see I keep up to date with European news!) You would think that 2 inner tubes would be posted from their central stores? or even, heaven forbid ,another shop?

When I retire I might apply to work for Evans', I have a feeling I could make it more efficient & certainly more effective.

Another classic example of the cavalier attitude they have for customer care!

19 September 2007

Departed Merit

As two of the charities I have chosen to raise money for are cancer related (Which my dear friend Chris Jefford died from) I have decided to add another side panel in respect of departed merit where I shall name the people personally close to me who have died from cancer whilst I train.

It will help me to keep focused on why I am doing the ride, especially in the winter when it's cold & wet & lying in a warm bed is the preferred option!!

13 September 2007

Don't use Evans Cycles

This is a little distraction away from my training, but I want to tell you of my personal experiences with Evans Cycles & urge you not to use them.

Wiggle are excellent & can be found at


My employer (who do not want to be named in this blog???!!!) used Evans Cycles for the ride to work scheme. This is a Government base scheme to encourage more people to cycle to work. I along with thousands of my colleagues, brought bikes through this scheme. I can't remember the full details, but we don't pay tax on the bike & Evans also give you an additional 10% off. It's an excellent scheme & I would encourage everyone, if you get the chance to take full advantage of it.

My tale of woe started when I ordered my bike on the 23rd February 2007 & some accessories which came to £1188.82, which I think you'll agree is expensive for a bike, so you would expect a decent level of service??

The way the process works is you get a voucher from your employer which you give to the shop when you order the bike. They then prepare your bike for you & the employer then takes the money for the bike our of your wages at source over 10 months. As I said I can't remember the full details, but the tax is taken off at source & it works out about 60% of the normal cost??

The shop said that they would ring me, when it was ready to be collected. After a few days I rang the shop to be told that they were waiting for a bracket to fix the rear rack on with, but this should only be a few days. Having not heard anything for a few days I rang again & was told that they bracket was still on order. I suppose that I must have called about 3 or 4 times in the next couple of weeks & was advised that the bracket would soon be in & that they would contact me.

After about a month I still had not heard anything so I rang the shop & was told that the bike had been ready for collection for weeks!! So on the 6th April I went & collected it. Another calamity none of the extras I had purchased were on the bike. So I had an hour waiting in the shop for these to be fitted. I didn't care though as I had my bike!!

I had driven to work that day, so I took my nice new shiny bike home in the car. A Cannondale Bad Boy, 29 gears & a saddle like a razor blade (See other post re me & saddles!)

The first time I rode the bike I got about 5 miles into my journey to work & the rear end just didn't feel right. I put some more air in the tyre & it seemed to be OK. Mind you the next few miles were also dead straight, but by the time I got to the city I can only describe riding it as being like on a clowns bike. I had to walk the last few miles into work as the rear wheel was that unstable.

I got one of the highly trained collision investigators to examine the bike & it was discovered that a number of the rear spokes were loose enabling the hub to almost move freely on the rear wheel within the arc of the spokes. This could could have lead to a catastrophic failure, more importantly with me on it!!

I took the bike back to the West End branch & much to the amusement of the shop assistant they repaired it.

I had a few minor things go wrong with the bike, I have had to reattach the water bottle cage & the pulse monitor & tighten a few bolts. (These I would imagine would have be picked up at the first free service I was never offered)

I then was riding to work & got a puncture, which for those of you who cycle will know that this is a regular event. Not to worry when I brought the bike I also got some spare inner tubes for such an occasion. Guess what the ones that I was sold were the wrong fitting for the bike. (Mind you if they had of fitted the pump I was sold would not have fitted them anyway!) It was at this stage that I emailed Evans' customer service people & received an apologetic phone call offering me the free service that all new customers get?? This was news to me. She said that she had spoken to the store manager & how horrified he was that I had been sold wrong parts & not offered the service. He would ring me the next day to arrange the service. Needless to say he didn't call so I again emailed Evans customer service & received a call the following afternoon from the shop.

I arranged to take the bike into be serviced & it's fair to say that the person I spoke to was unable to comprehend why I was there. She couldn't understand what was wrong with the inner tubes, so in the end I just walked out. I again emailed the customer service department telling them of my disgust, but they didn't even had the courtesy to reply. I also told them that I would pay & have the bike serviced myself as I did not feel confident in their staff.

I contacted the department of my employer who can not be named (Voldermort!) & they have been in touch with their contact at Evans. He sent me a nice email two weeks ago, saying how sorry he was to hear of my problems & to rectify this he was making sure the relevant branch was to send me the manual for my bike & as a gesture of good will some inner tubes for my bike. (No offer of this free service at another branch I see & I'm not sure why sending the correct items that I have already paid for is a gesture of goodwill, more an apology for their incompetence)

Guess what, it hasn't arrived after 2 weeks, so I have again emailed the customer service people!

I require from Evans Cycles the following

1) The manual for my bike

2) The replacement inner-tubes I am still waiting for

What do you think my chances are ???

Well I got home today & the manual has arrived, but (I don't believe this) the shop has run out of inner tubes, but will send me some later (Second only to the phrases, The cheques in the post or Trust me I'm a policeman!!. There is a third phrase that you should never trust, but my mother reads this & it's rude!! - email me on pc.clare@gmail.com if you want to know)

You make up your own mind about Evans Cycles, I have chatted to a few people who have had similar problems. I was thinking of approaching them for sponsorship for the ride (not money, things like tyres etc, but I don't think I'll bother)

Oh yes, I should soon be in 'Police Review' as they are keen to follow the ride. They are doing an article on me & the training.

I am contemplating doing a trial ride in around May time form Belfast to Dublin. It's about 105/110 miles. This is on hold at the moment as I don't know what or where I will be working until they announce the promotion placements in a few weeks.

8 September 2007

A festival of Lycra!

Well I haven't manage to either get to the gym today or go out on my bike. Not to worry thinking ahead to the icy cold winter months I have got myself a home trainer, which I am racking up a few miles on with the bike which I intend to use for the ride. This may come as a surprise to my avid reader (Mark & family in France - check out their blog as they start a new life in France at www.youster.blogspot.com) that the saddle on this bike is made of poison ivy & brillo pads!!

Anyway the moment all of you have been waiting for:


I wasn't quick enough off the bike to grab the camera from Carol

Who ever thought that lycra could stretch that much!

Glad that was over, worst 30 seconds of my life!!

Tell me what you think of this blog & any questions you have please email me at pc.clare@gmail.com

First goal reached!

I've reached my first of many goals today by being below 19 stone, which means I have lost my first stone. I know its not much on the great scheme of things, but it's the first of many hurdles I have to pass.

I am concentrating on losing weight before Christmas manly & will increase my fitness & endurance in the New Year. I am aiming to be around 15 st by this time. I don't want to lose too much weight as I'll not be as efficient with the enforcer at work!!

5 September 2007

Back in the Saddle

My chap was convicted at court, so I now have more time on my hands to concentrate on my training & not spending the evenings running around for last minute statements & enquiries.

I have decided that the saddle is a medieaval torture device & I must have been a wizard in a previous life?? The device below is call "The Pear" & I think apart from making your eyes water is made from the same material as my saddle!

On a serious note, my training is now officially back on track. Alcohol is the devils wee-wee & chocolate is straight from the bowels of hell. I am determined to be below 19 stone on Sunday when I do my weekly weigh in. The only consolation is that I look FANTASTIC in Lycra. I am lucky that it suits me & not everyone can say that!!