I’m sitting at the kitchen table waiting for a courier to collect 2 bikes from the bike club. This is an exchange scheme whereby you change the bike as your child grows. What a great scheme I thought- pay monthly with the option of up sizing for a small cost. If you can’t afford a child’s bike up front that is lighter than the cheap heavy metal ones in shops that make riding difficult with little legs, this is a really good option. It’s a newish company so not everything is that well organised.
I got our youngest a crosser as a Christmas present but by February he had grown another 2 cm and the frame was on the smaller side when it arrived anyway. So I arranged an exchange but had no option to choose a colour. We both decided to go with flat bars, 2 sizes up in his favoured red. I returned home 3 weeks later to a box that our cleaner took delivery of. Great I thought, no need to contact them to hurry up the order for the coming warmer, drier temperatures. Except that it was another crosser in only 1 size up! At least it was red…My email was swiftly replied to apologetically and we sorted it out once the preferred size was available. Then last week at work I get a call from a courier wanting me to sign for a delivery. No forewarning, no arranging a delivery from the company but conveniently Andy 2 doors down was able to accept and store in his garage with his plentiful array of bikes until I got home. It is a hybrid that came with hybrid tyres but also nobbly ones for off road trails but it is black (Team Sky black apparently-whatever that means). Thankfully master9 was happy with it and we took a early 9km trundle on Mother’s Day to test it out and figure out the when and whys of gear changes, defensive riding & road awareness.
I arranged preferred collection for today and enquired last night what part of the day I would have to be at home. No answer until this morning stating that collection would be between 09.00-15.00 but was assured that they, “usually do collections in the morning”. It is 1pm. There goes my 40km ride in sunny 15degree temperatures with a cool NE breeze. I am cross & will make them aware of the inconvenience. I am sure that the feedback will be used to improve what seems to be a fledgling organisations exchange arm. At least I have used the time wisely to clean the floors & bathrooms but am limited to downstairs as I want to get rid of the 2 boxes that both bikes are contained in & don’t want to miss the courier and start all over again.
Would I recommend this company? Yes, if you can’t afford to pay for a good quality kids bike up front. The bike itself is well made and light with 8 gears on the rear cassette. It also came with mud guards to fit as necessary. I don’t think that I’ll take them up on the free repairs unless it is something major though. I don’t think that I’ll bother with the hassle of the enforced waiting due to the disorganisation of delivery and collection etc. The frame sizing seems a little less accurate than the guides on the website. Master9s inside leg is 66cm and this one is supposed to fit a minimum of 73cm. I guess that this may relate to his height and reach-he is tall for his age. I used my experience of the previous frame sizing on the website and pedalling on his brothers larger frame as a guide-he is just about comfortable on that but looks awkward. This is why I went 2 sizes up.
So I’m sitting, waiting impatiently for collection. At least my legs are getting a rest even though the mind is more than willing…
* UPDATE. By 14.35 I was getting anxious that I would miss the courier so I called them. Apparently the time offered by ParcelForce is an indicative guide, not a guaranteed time. He arrived at 16.05, 15 minutes after I returned from school and 25 minutes before Pater’s taxi service left to transport master12 to his “Hairspray” rehearsal. The lounge now has more space and we are back to being a 5 bike family.