A little better, and back where I want to be…….


March 10, 2016 by welshcyclist

Well, my Pioneer was not perfect when I rode her for my commute to and from my night shift last Monday night. It was my first serious ride after her Silver service at Halfords. I soon noticed a problem with the gears slipping, when coming upon any incline, it was almost as if the bike was telling me to change down a gear. It was annoying, but I was able to cope, and managed to get to and from work OK, but I was not happy that this was the result after spending £82 for said service and parts.

It was not until, last Thursday, that I was able to take my Pioneer back to Halfords to get the problem sorted. The mechanic who had done the service was on hand, and at first suggested that this was normal, and would only need a few adjustments, when I asked him why this was not sorted out in the servicing of the bike. He continued to tie himself up in knots with suggestions that the hanger cogs were worn etc.. Then it was the chain, that was worn, “but the chain was replaced by you during the service…”, I replied. Eventually, he admitted he had not changed the chain, that he had done 5 services that day and had obviously got confused. I felt sorry for him, I know how Halfords treat their staff, while doing servicing their mechanics are expected to deal with customers, which means they leave the job that they are doing, then come back to it later, a sure means of forgetting to do this or that.

So basically, I let him and Halfords off with their failure to do a correct job. Said mechanic put a new chain on, adjusted the gears, I took the Pioneer for a real spin, up a couple of hills, the gears did not slip, and I was happy. He apologised profusely for getting things wrong, and I returned home.

Though, I was eager to get out on my bike for a real pedal, I did not manage to do so until yesterday morning, when I went off at 06.50 to ride down and back up this beautiful valley that I live in. Everywhere was dank, damp and miserable, in that beautiful way that it appears when one is actually out in the fresh air, pedalling


It was cold, and I wished I had put on my thicker gloves, because the ends of my fingers were tingling and numbing at the same time. But I was happy and soon gazing around at what was to be seen. As usual, I would catch a glimpse a flash of some interesting bird, which would disappear from view by the time I had come to a stop, to have a proper look. Frustratingly, I had remembered to turn on my Garmin watch to record the details of my ride, but continued to forget to turn it off every time I stopped, consequently, by the time I finally returned home, my average speed read 8 mph.

But, I digress, my pedal, actually went very well.

I found a new inhabitant at the canal basin Ynysarwed, what a fine looking fellow, you must agree.


Though, he does, perhaps, look somewhat lonely. Could be waiting for his spouse to arrive?

The ride continued to be a great experience, but, sadly, I have no time to report any more.


13 thoughts on “A little better, and back where I want to be…….

  1. jobby889 says:

    £82 that’s a lot of money for a bike service. especially when they appear not to have replace components they should have!

    Depending on the equipment spec, assuming 8 speed, chain £5, Cassette £11, brake blocks £10, time about 30 minutes….

    Good that you are now back up and running 🙂

    • welshcyclist says:

      Yes, I agree. It was £50 for a service, the silver version, and £32 for parts and labour. The brake pads and cables were replaced, and they are perfect now. The chain for my 9-speed was replaced, albeit, on the second visit, as well as the gear cables. The bike does feel like new now, and the front derailleur works, I gave up on it over a year ago, and have only used the middle cog since. Now, rather lazily, I go right down to the granny gears on my nemices, hills, that take more than two minutes to get over. I should rename this blog as the wimpcyclist! But back to the value for money issue at Halfords. In the past I have made complaints that have resulted in me getting free service, labour and parts. This time, I almost had a good job done, and I just didn’t want the hassle of complaining ( very unlike me ) and anyway I felt sorry for the mechanic, who is obviously under a lot of pressure, working for a bad employer. If anything else fails to live up to the silver service, I will make them pay! Thanks for dropping by, and happy pedalling! Cheers.

    • cyclingcoder says:

      You seem to have endless trouble with Halfords. Time to try somewhere else? It might be £10-£20 more, but the saving in grief would be worth it, especially as that’s why you’re paying them, rather than doing it yourself.

      • welshcyclist says:

        I wish I could do it myself, but unfortunately, that would lead to even more grief. When my gearing problems started, and after I had made a complete hash of fixing it, I did ring up a couple of very reputable bike shops, but both told I’d have to wait till the following week to book my Pioneer in. I needed her back in a hurry, and so, took her to Halfords. I take your point about cost, and I think the best way forward is to be more pro-active, and get my Pioneer serviced regularly at one of those reputable bike shops. So the best thing I can now do is start saving! Cheers.

  2. bribikes says:

    Early morning rides are special, it is enjoyable to watch the world wake up while on a bike. Glad your mechanical issues are sorted out!

    • welshcyclist says:

      You are spot on, except, unlike you, I much prefer to do it without the presence of snow. Which is why I am sat here typing this at 07.40 a.m., having got up early, at 06.20 for a pedal, saw a harsh frost outside, with icy puddles and immediately wimped out. Now, I feel guilty, sad aren’t I? Thanks for dropping by, and taking a look at my less than professional blogging. Cheers.

      • bribikes says:

        We all have weather conditions that turn us into wimps…my arch nemesis is heat. I despise sweltering days, I feel like I am gonna melt into a puddle of sweat. Lucky for me, I live in a place where the weather fits me like a glove. We have cold winters and mild summers, thank goodness! So no guilt, ride when it makes you smile 😀

  3. tootlepedal says:

    My Garmin politely stops when I stop. You’ll have to train yours up.

    • welshcyclist says:

      I can’t train myself let alone my garmin watch! Still, for me, speed isn’t really an issue, getting out there and recording where I’ve been is what I want to achieve, something which you do so admirably. Something I fail to do properly, because, now, looking back at my post I see a major mistake, the second photograph should show a magnificent male mute swan at the Ynysarwed canal basin, somehow I managed to download the wrong photo! Doah!! Roll on retirement, hopefully, just another three years. Then, I hope to be a full time cycling blogger, DIYer, gardener, traveller, wild life expert, chorister, instrument player, and so on…….. How do you do it all tootlepedal? I am totally in awe.

  4. As always, I really enjoyed reading your blog post.

    I’m lucky in Hull as there are plenty of reliable small cycle shops, On two occasions I’ve even broken down with minor faults and called in to the nearest repair shop for help and they didn’t charge me. So much better service from the local shops than the big chains.

    I’ve just got back from a week walking in the Yorkshire Dales. I always enjoy walking in the Dales but it was great to get on my bike once again on my return. It was only a 12 mile round trip (on Sunday morning) into Hull to collect my replacement gloves from Blacks but, like you, I really enjoyed the ride. I really believe those who don’t cycle miss a lot. The traffic out of Hull was creeping along but on my bike it was steady progress. It’s a wonderfully satisfying feeling when you ride past stationary cars stuck in traffic jams. I can get into Hull city centre from my village quicker than my wife can in her car and I can park for free right outside the shop(s) I need to visit. I really dislike driving now despite being a professional driver for many years. Give me my bike any time!

    • welshcyclist says:

      Great to hear from you scunepo, how did you come about that name, I can’t work it out? I love walking in the country, but it is so much quicker to go by bike, and because I have constraints on my time, I rarely get out in walking boots. Quality repair shops are hard to find down here, well I believe so, I must admit that I haven’t looked into it as much as I should. But being forced to wait a week to get the old Pioneer in is so frustrating, perhaps, I am just too impatient. Roll on the day I can get a mechanic’s course done, and get on with it all myself. I’d really love to take bicycle repair professionally, not much skill at the moment, but you never know. Thanks for popping on to my blog. Keep pedalling, cheers.

      • Hi.

        “scunepo” is derived from Scunthorpe Emergency Planning Officer, a job I had for about 14 years. It seemed like a good private email address as it’s unique (as far as I know).

  5. welshcyclist says:

    True enough, that is as unique as possible, no one is going to come up with that one again. While my monica, welshcyclist, is very popular, in the sense that many welsh cyclists have wanted to utilise it, but I presumably got in first. Just lucky.

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