Saturday, January 24, 2009

Hunt-a-Bike

The sales are on, are they not? Shops are supposedly desperately knocking off ever higher %ages in order to shift stock.

Well not in junior mountain bikes they aren't. I've just come back from a fruitless excursion to no less than 4 shops in search of a 24" VTT (mountain bike) for my youngest. First stop Intersport. There were adult bikes in the sale, and crappy kiddy bikes in the sale, but was there a junior 24" VTT? Nope. We left the shop into strong gusts and spats of rain. Lovely.

Next stop, Decathlon. There used to be about 4 shops each specialising in different sports. This was, of course, highly irritating because not many people could remember exactly what each shop had, and would have to go on a tour of Montpellier and Lattes in order to find the right stuff. Now they've rationalised all into one huge MegaDec right next door to Ikea which makes it much less frustrating.

However, it turned out that this mega store had not one 24" VTT in the sale, but just adult and kiddy bikes, and my temper, already tested by a day of bad weather, housework and issues, was fraying by the second. When asked why there were so few bikes in the sale, no sensible answer could be found. I just got a feeble "Dunno really, we just have this season's bikes." Fine, said I, and stalked back to the car, trying to resist the urge to trip up a smallish boy who was doing handbrake turns in the middle of the aisle with his baby sister's buggy.

Back outside, the gale was settling in nicely. I headed off and reached a specialist shop, WinBike. They did have bikes in the sale, down from 460 euros to 430 euros. I was easily able to contain my excitement at discovering this 'bargain', looked around for a more sensible price, found none in the sale and gave up. My youngest was being very supportive about the whole thing, making horrified noises at the price and suggesting we leave.

We went briefly next door to a depot-vente place owned by what looked like two dodgy geezers, stayed less than a minute because they didn't inspire confidence in selling anything that could be returned if defective, and decided to call it a day.

By this time, the car was being buffetted around and it was quite a challenging drive home.

Once back, a brief tour of the internet found this bike at Auchan. It's a Laurent Fignon (whoever he may be) Trak 10kg which sounds good, and costs a much more reasonable 150 euros. It's not in the sale either - no surprise there - but at that price, it's not so bad. Heaven knows what sort of quality it is. I'm not sure it's a great idea to buy a bike from a hypermarché but there's no way I'm spending 300+ euros on one from some sale-free store. Anyway, I would of course, look it over first, not that I'm any expert, and make sure it doesn't rattle about or have dodgy gears.

Who would have thought bike hunting could be such a dire undertaking? I'm off to recover now with a nice cuppa and maybe something trashy on tele.

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