Monday, August 19, 2013

Tuesday, July 23, 2013

That was the year that was.

We at Bike Borneo have long been of the opinion that basic is best. Maybe because we have such limited access to parts and spares and have to learn to make do, maybe because hiring bikes out to clients from all over the world has taught us to keep things as simple as possible (did I tell you about the time we had an American who declined to have his brakes set up with front on the left saying he would be fine, and he took a huge endo, flew for miles, I mean I looked into his eyes as he came through the air and he really did look surprised).
Personally I have a reasonably complicated bike and that brings with it foibles and quirks that often even I cant fix so I would hate for a stranger to take it for a ride and encounter problems.
Our main guides ride basic models, Trek or Gary Fisher, no upgrades and they do great. I guess they wouldnt want to race them but they are certainly good enough for high-performing professional bike guides.

So ultimately the question is begged; why on earth do we spend all that money on high-tech, super light 'go-faster' goodies?

(I dont know about you but I'm about 50% less fit than I need to be and a good 10 Kg heavier than I should be)

Got an answer? A good one?

Tuesday, February 19, 2013

Turning the wheels

After shamefully bashing the Americans on previous posts I am now forced to bow my head and make a turnaround.
You see I went to the US a couple of weeks ago for a conference, work stuff. Needless to say I took the opportunity to do a bit of a road trip and to see if I could get my hands on some bike parts.

I had a long list of bike shops I had looked up on the net and was prepared to be told that the parts werent available but they could sell me a new (wheel / brakeset / bike / burger).
What actually happened was almost a miracle and help came not in a dedicated bike shop but in a general outdoor store in suburban Las Vegas.

If you have been to the states recently and like the outdoors, you have probably seen the REI stores, they are great places to go and part with your money in exchange for gizmos, gadgets and clothing to be used in adventurous activities.

In one corner of this particular store in Las Vegas is a bike / ski / snowboard workshop with a very knowledgeable bloke by the name of John Odd.

John, it turns out, loves a challenge, and when I told him that I needed an axle for a four-year old Shimano wheel and a replacement shock for a Viper bike frame he set to work like a dervish. Calls were made all over the US, he contacted dozens of people and not only that, he told me to go to my conference and he would get me on email.

Within a couple of days this guy had tracked down my parts and they were on the way from God-knows-where.

Now I dont know about you but where I live the people in the bike shop generally stick with the lines "No stock", "Cannot get" and "We can sell you a new (wheelset / brakeset / bike / burger)" followed by a meaningful silence.

I cannot express my gratitude to John sufficiently, I assembled my bike and took it out for a spin last night and I know that this weekend is going to be a whole lot of fun.

I am not usually given to praise and gratitude but all the people at the REI store in Vegas are great people and if you ever happen to be in Vegas with lady luck at your side, go spend your winnings at REI......