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......