Enthusiasm is bloody annoying.

To still find cycling enjoyable after a month or so with the 25-quid-third-hand-out-of-the-Friday-Ad job I got a month or so ago, I figure I’m really enthusiastic about the whole thing. Why? Because what, as I’ve read since, would inevitably happen after getting what was once an Argos/Halfords special offer, has more or less happened and is continuing to happen. Let me explain.

What I really wanted for my 21st was a car. However, living in the real world where cars, insurance, tax and all the rest are becoming increasingly exprensive, I figured I’d go back to riding a bike. What my dad really wanted to get me for my 21st was a scooter-moped type thing. However not being inbred, halfwitted, and ready to start a family with anything that moved, I politely declined and insisted on a bike. He duly obliged and I found a cheap-and-cheerful £25 job in the Friday Ad, nothing more expensive as he was adamant it would be nicked. And that’s when I regretted getting it.

Let’s list the problems I’ve had with it: At the time of purchase I could only select two out of eighteen gears as the rear derailer had seized up and the front wouldn’t select the large gear, the front brake didn’t work all that well, and the brake pads were heavily worn. Cue the first unnecessary expense: new brake pads. A little WD-40 cured the rear derailer, and a twist of a screw sort of fixed the front, although it’s still temperamental in selecting the largest gear. Take the bike off road a couple of times, as is the norm for the mountain bike sort, and I get a puncture. I figure my off-roading will be minimal, cue my second unnecessary expense: a set of slick, road-going tyres. In fitting these tyres I manage to, for want of a better phrase, bugger up both brakes. The front is fixable but the rear is not, cue my third unnecessary expense: a new rear brake, with new front brake and two new levers and a new set of brake cables while I’m there. However now I find I physically can’t remove the rear brakes due to a rounded-out allen bolt that some idiot at some point has attacked with an allen key that was too small. And that brings me up to the fourth unnecessary imminent expense: paying a professional to remove the brake for me.

Of course there are things I have purchased that were or are necessary; a helmet, a lock, lights, gloves, panniers (bags) and rack, a repair kit, and a pump. But these were all things I would have purchased regardless of the bike. But the other, unnecessary things have turned a £25 initial expense into a £70 ongoing repair, plus whatever the professional charges to remove the rear brake, and a figure which will doubtlessly increase as more things go wrong.

Why are these unnecessary expenses? Because they could have been saved by getting a decent new or second hand bike in the first place. Yes, it might cost more than the £25 spent for this one, but would I need to spend any money fixing it up within the first month? No. Would I have more choice at the point of purchase and consequently be able to get the right type and size for my needs? Yes. And would I find cycling more enjoyable as a whole? Most certainly.

In my first month or so with this bike-shaped object, I must have spent as much time riding it as fixing it, thinking about how to or how much it will be to fix it, or wondering what that strange noise it is making is.

Like I said, I must have some sort of innate enthusiasm for the thing.

Jack out.


About Jack
A small-time traveller in a big-time world

2 Responses to Enthusiasm is bloody annoying.

  1. Vicky Stevens says:

    Sounds like you def have enthusiasm.

    In my experience a decently specced bike that fits makes riding so much nicer.

    I’ll have an 18inch GT Avalanche Expert up for sale at the end of the summer. Should fit you nicely: http://www.paulscycles.co.uk/products.php?plid=m1b1s2p2231

    It’s taken my up, down and around the Downs, Stanmer woods and Friston Forest without batting an eyelid. I had one before and sold it, regretted it so much I bought another one!

    I’m putting semi-slicks on it and taking it touring round Wales / Scotland over the summer and then will probably put it up for sale to fund a commuter for next academic year, as I also have a full-suspension bike for off-road.

    Whatever, enjoy your riding.

    • Jack says:

      Definitely. I think my old man is living in the past when he thinks I can get a decent bike for next to nothing.

      Sounds nice, might take you up on that if I have the monies. Keep me in the loop.

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