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  • Writer's pictureNicola Graham

What … how much for NO pedals!?

"My hands get sweaty, my knees go weak … Spending money like I have it, a bad habit spending money like I have it"

Imelda May

Artist: Imelda May

Release: 2015

Whilst I have a morbid curiosity for death, I decided that it would be irresponsible at this stage to die young and leave my sons motherless. So after some careful thought and consideration, I decided that I should most definitely invest in a road bike and get off the death trap bike that my mate had kindly lent me.

Naturally Mr X was probed for some advice, of which he offered:

“Try to buy the most expensive bike you can afford, as you’ll only end up wanting a more expensive one"

Whilst this was fair advice, and turned out to be something I wish I’d paid more attention to in hindsight. What he didn’t offer was what I should expect when buying a bike, or that I should have really gone to a bike shop, and been fitted to a bike that is the correct size for me. With excitement and a bottle of ‘dutch courage’ aka: Black Stump Shiraz 2008. I researched bikes based on colours and stumbled across a lady brand made by Giant called Liv. Ah “that’s a nice black and red bike, and it was definitely £1k more than I wanted to spend, so its bound to be right for me!"

Click. Card entered. Email received:

thank you for your purchase’ which should have read: ‘please say goodbye to all future savings’

Finally ... all purchased, now all I had to do is sit eagerly and await the arrival of my new bike!

A box! It arrived in a rectangular box that looked so tiny, I had to wonder if the wine brain had sent me onto a dodgy Alibaba sight and I’d just spent almost £2k on a toy rip off ? To my surprise as it turns out, you need to assemble these yourself!

So with panic and a vision of a bike only fit to be ridden by a contortionist, I started to assemble the bits that weren’t quite together in the box.

As I finally, after a few hours, some hilarious whatsapp exchanges with any person I knew who was handy with a little bit of mechanical knowledge, and a lot of swearing and grunting, I stood looking at my new bike, coffee in hand, wearing a ‘Oh yeah, I’m the Woman’ smirk on my face !!!

Hmmmm there is something off about the look of this bike! Was is the fact that it was actually black and PINK (not red) still haven’t gotten over this or that the seat looked so small that I’m increasingly likely to render my ability to ever sit down again?

Nope, there was still something wrong, so as I straddled the bike, held the handle bars and thought that I at least would get my first (of many) selfies of me on the bike … I placed my foot on where I would expect the pedal to be and … slam … my foot hit the floor and my brain yelled 'Ole'.

Pedals! There were NO pedals! WTF … I can’t believe that they would forget the pedals!

Laptop open. Order email confirmation. Scroll to the customer service number. Dial!

Note: never ever ever, should you ever start a conversation with someone, where you assume you are in the right and begin with a feisty ‘I’m surrounding by idiots’ tone.

Why, I hear you ask? Because as I was about to learn, it will always back fire when the very patient customer service representative, patronisingly explains:

‘I’m sorry to hear your distress Miss Graham, however it is factory standard that all road bikes are delivered without pedals. The cyclist usually has a preference of pedal, and fits their own" her inner voice also thinking ‘I’m surrounding by idiots.

Yes … that’s right I had spent thousands on a bike that is rendered useless unless I, as the story continues to play out, then spend another £400 on pedals and the very fancy Lake shoes. Thank you parents for blessing me with size 5 wide feet aka the hardest to source bike shoes available! All so that I have the ability to actually USE the bike!

So at last, £2k down and I am finally able to physically pedal the bike, whoop whoop … its time to commit to my first official bike ride. Of course, most people warned me about getting use to cleats first, pssst I still struggle to call them cleats, so they remain in my vocabulary as ‘clicky shoes’.

“don’t worry everyone falls off their cleats at least once”

So I decided that I was going to be better than the rest ego again and never be one of those that falls off the bike in front of a group of riders, so I decided to practice at home.

Yes readers, my Friday night … (I know how to rock them these days), saw me exercising my rights to make as many clicking noises as possible with wine in my hand!

So after an evening of booze infused ‘you click your left foot in, your left foot out’. I decided I was ready for my first venture out … the commute into work.

This so happened to be on a Monday when I took my youngest to school and in the excitement of seeing my new shiny black and PINK road bike, he asked if he could join me on my bike ride to school. I mean what mother would say no! Maybe a mother who wanted to keep intact the small amount of street cred she ever had with her 8yr old, and any respect she had from the delightfully affluent religious school that her son attends.

Yep, readers, I didn’t just fall, I truly fell in style, in front of my sons entire school!

As my youngest stopped at the crossing in front of me, all panic entered my brain, I forgot to clip out, and as I tilted slightly to the right, his backpack that I was shouldering, flung forcefully to the right what do they carry in these things these days ? Thus, sending me flat onto my side, legs attached to bike in the air, like a cricket playing dead

I think the worst part of it all, was that it was the, ahem, extremely fit Dad in the school that was there to help me clip out of the bike and stand up with whatever dignity I had left.

So my advice for buying a bike, get your car keys, drive or walk to your nearest bike shop... and leave it to the pros to recommend the bike you should buy, that is suited to you and built ready for you to ride!

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