Around this time of year your cycle gear has probably taken a bit of battering from the elements and those long bumpy rides along the pot holes of a day’s destination. Subsequently, a touch of wear and tear is to be expected, however heart breaking it might be.
Over the past two weeks I have had the misfortune to encounter cycle gear breaking at the least opportune of times. First off my cycling jacket for extreme conditions – well for when the weather is not conducive to tweed or a woollen jumper (ie heaviest rain) – a rarely used item if truth be told, has after about 2 years broken down. Essentially the zip jammed and went up one side and then proceeded to pull out like that evil Nazi Dentist in the Marathon Man a number of teeth in a cruel and vicious manner. The result is a jacket that fails to work as it should but for three strategically placed bulldog clips causing much amusement among chums who see this look as akin to a budget Sgt Pepper outfit.
The second problem occurred today when I attempted to bunny hop onto a curb in some parkland (not a pavement I hasten to add) for a little cross country commuting. The jump resulted in a mighty thump which saw my trusty Carradice SQR quick release system losing a vital component – a tragedy which severely affects the convenience of a saddle bag (horror of horrors I now have to buckle and unbuckle the silly thing to the saddle).
There are temporary solutions to all these problems but they are and should be temporary.
To create permanent solutions I contacted the respective companies: Gore Bike Wear and Carradice, based in West Lothian and Lancashire respectively. Both items I deemed suitable for repair and within warranty, and I was hopeful for positive solutions at the least. We humans generally grow attached to things, even when they’re broken, and I for one would much rather fix than throw away and buy new.
Each company were different in their response to my predicament.
Of course I called Gore first and after hearing lots of rubbish music and passed from switchboard to expert was told that I could repair the zip for £30 plus p&p (c.£7) I tried to explain the youth of the jacket and all that jazz(et) but they were implacable. I rang off wondering whether repairing a jacket from its original supplier was worth it when the repairs would be a 1/3 of the cost, and I could instead have the perfect excuse to buy a different piece of high performance gear from someone like Rapha (I should not but they do have a sale on at the moment and some of their coats do look much dryer than lambs wool). I’m still wondering and the jacket along with its bulldog buttons currently resides dejected on the back of my bedroom door.
I was not much more hopeful with Carradice when I rang this morning – especially because like a true fool I tried their fax line first (which is easily done I have heard). My second attempt heard a dulcet Lancashire accent listening to my predicament, and I presume nodding sagely while I described age and situation of destruction. As I came to an end of my lament, there was a pause before I was asked for my name and address for a new part to be sent to me – with no question of cost be it postage or not to my incredulous thanks and surprise.
Well lor’ bless the company rich with 80 plus years of cycling heritage and long may they continue with such exemplary aid to those in distress. I cannot quite say the same for the other company whose equipment I use but rarely (I can assure rarely as one good chum who I have seen consistently for the period of ownership asked if it was new only the other day – and yes they are an observant sort). Anyway, on this note, I will commend to one and all the products of Carradice – well their SQR system and saddle bags (Camper Long Flap and the Barley) and say out with the new and in with the old.