The internet has certainly made life a lot easier. I can buy new tyres, wheels, spare parts, even a whole new bike all from the comfort of my armchair. I can find training advice online and plan my rides in meticulous detail. I can download ride data from my bike computer and share it with anyone who is as obsessed with cycling as I am.
So why do I need my local bike shop anymore?
This is why…
I recently bought a new set of wheels and thought I would treat myself to a nice new shiny cassette and chain to go with them. All were bought online because it was more convenient than going down to the local bike shop to see what they had in stock and talk through what I was looking for. After all, there were all of those reviews on the Wiggle website I could read.
It all went well until the wheels arrived. The advice on the website that the wheels would take either a Campag or Shimano cassette was wrong (yes, of course it was I know now). So back the wheels went and a new set ordered.
Finally I fitted the new wheels, chain and cassette. Feeling very proud I head of out for their maiden voyage. After 30 minutes I hit a hill and change down. Push down on the pedals and… no power. Just a horrible grinding sound as the chain slipped over the cassette teeth. I have no idea what the problem is and so feeling pretty pissed off, I head for home.
So let’s look online to see what the problem is. Seems as though it could be one of several things, from the chain being too long to a cracked frame. I rule out a worn chain and cassette as mine are brand new and there are no signs of any cracks. Oh and I can’t shorten the chain any further.
Now I have no idea what the problem is. I even go so far as thinking about ordering yet another chain as I can’t think what the problem might be. I decide to take the chain off again and see if it can be shortened any more. In doing so, I push the rivet right out of the link. On a Saturday afternoon, the only place I can get a replacement chain pin is… my local bike shop.
While I am there I talk through with the mechanic the problems I have been having. And he comes up with the answer straight away. The chain isn’t slipping on the rear cassette at all; it is one of the front chain rings that’s worn! When I get home, a quick test ride and watching the chain move over the front rings proves that to be the case. I had jumped to the conclusion that it was slipping on the cassette as that’s what everyone online side it was.
Without my local bike shop I would be no nearer solving the problem and be off road while waiting for a replacement chain pin to arrive in the post.
From now on, my LBS will be my first port of call. It should be yours too.