30 days of biking


I’ve signed up for #30daysofbiking and am eagerly looking forward to it. If you are into cycling, were into cycling at some time in your life or would like to (re)connect with cycling, I suggest you give this a try. There are no constraints on what to ride, how long to ride, how to ride, who to ride with or where to ride. The distance is up to you. Just ensure that you get on that bike at least once every day irrespective if it’s a ride around the compound, to the grocery store or a 600km audax. Really, what are you thinking? Just go to 30daysofbiking.com and sign up. Then ride, and share…

In other news. The bike has been in pretty sad state lately with a lot of muck and the badly bent back wheel. I took care of some of its problems today. Spent over an hour cleaning the bike thoroughly – with a brush & a toothbrush to get the muck and dust off, then with a wet cloth to wipe the stains and finally with WD40 to clean the really nasty stuff including the greasy grime accumulating between the gears and sundry other unreachable places. Of course, I later spent another half an hour thoroughly cleaning my makeshift bike garage (a.k.a. Rags’ kitchen and the only room in our apartment without carpeting). The effort was so draining that I was dripping sweat almost all through in this not-so-warm weather with heating off but I loved the outcome. It is a special feeling to see the bike smiling at you all cleaned up like it was when I first got it home.

Since I’m planning to buy a road bike sooner than later, I’ve decided to put full mud guards on the hybrid so I can use it comfortably in all weather conditions for city commutes. Getting that full mudguard set was the second task of the day. Popped in to the new Halfords outlet that has opened up just around the corner and signed up for their bike care plan. If you have a bike, are not sure you can service everything yourself and have an Halfords nearby, I suggest you too sign up for their bike care plans – costs just £18.99 for an year’s contract which includes free labour on any parts fitting (bought from them or elsewhere) and some free servicing too. Given that the alternatives, Evans Cycles and Cycle Surgery, had both quoted upwards of £20 for fitting these mudguards, the bike care plan has paid for itself already. So tomorrow (or day after, if things get really busy), I should get the clean and shiny bike back with a full set of mudguards.

Yes, that still leaves the issue of bent wheel and I really need to research first which wheel I want to get. Of course, the bike care plan shall help there too since I can now buy my first choice wheel from the place which has it cheapest and then get it built & fitted at the neighbourhood Halfords, FoC. :)

Boarman Road Team BB30 2011 Road Bike
Click image for larger size

Finally, while at the store, I also saw one of the road bikes that is in my ‘short’ list of 10 bikes – Boardman Team BB30 with 105 groupset and a really sweet price point of £999. The bike has got some really good reviews on both road.cc and in the (I think) Cycling Active. On a subjective note, of all the bikes I’ve seen so far, this is the only one whose colour scheme (Gray body with White & Yellow decals) I really liked. Of course the bike, like most road bikes these days, pairs the 105 in rear with a compact chainset while I want a triple if I go with 105. I’m sure though that this can be resolved. The bigger issues lie elsewhere.

First, Boardman sells in the UK exclusively through Halfords and the guys and Halfords told me that they do not allow test rides. This is a big issue. How can I spend a kilo pound sterling on a bike without even test riding it? At the minimum, I need to feel how comfortable I am with the fit and the riding position as well as get an idea of how responsive it is on corners and climbs. Despite falling in love with the bike on first sight (compared with not being attracted to some other bikes on my list despite seeing them many times in stores), I will not purchase it without a test ride. What a pity to rule this bike out :(

And that is not the only issue. The other issue relates to geography. If I buy this bike, I intend to use it for a few years. However, given our situation right now, we aren’t sure how long are we in UK for. A global brand like Trek is unwilling unable to service its warranty in UK on a bike bought in India barely an year ago. Will Boardman, a British brand with a no-test-ride policy, even entertain my warranty servicing requests if I move to another country tomorrow? I’m not so sure.

Thus, despite all that it has going for itself, this bike drops from top 3 to rank bottom in my short list of road bikes. Sad.

Looking forward. Tomorrow, I shall hopefully get my current bike back with the new mudguards on it. Also, time, mood and weather permitting, I shall head to a few other bike shops to feel and (fingers crossed) test ride some of the other models on my short list.

You, in the meanwhile, should sign up for #30daysofbiking, get your bikes cleaned and serviced and get ready to roll.

30 days of biking

6 thoughts on “30 days of biking

  1. I’m not sure what is normal in your neck of the woods, but around here a test ride is considered absolutely necessary and no reputable bike shop would deny such a request. As you clearly state, it is critical to get a feel for the machine before you spend considerable amounts of money on it. What is the shop’s return policy? In other words, if you buy it and decide to return it after a week or two, will they give you a full refund? Again, a reputable bike shop around here would do so with no questions asked, provided it was still in good condition.

    1. Hey Steve, thanks for your comment.

      Checked with the Halfords guys again today – no test ride and no returns policy on bikes. They did pitch the bike very strongly today but told them no biting without the bait of a test ride.

      Overall, on the test ride issue, it’s a mixed bag here. Halfords, the largest bike seller in UK has no test ride policy but Evans Cycles and Cycle Surgery, speciality bike chains allow both test rides as well as 28 day no questions asked returns.

      The problem in this case, though, is that Boardman bikes are sold exclusively through Halfords. :|


      P.S.: Do you post your total annual mileage anywhere? Need to know that if I plan to beat you :)

      1. Check out my odometer in the top right corner of the blog. Right now I’m at 619 for the year. I should be able to get past 3,000 without difficulty. The real challenge for me will be 4,000. Stay tuned!

      2. Nothing fancy, I’m sorry to say. I use a simple text box widget and update it after every ride. I also keep an excel spreadsheet of every ride I’ve done that helps me to add all my miles.

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