The Push Hog Diaries: Stage 2 – A Time Trial

It’s late April and I’ve just had a text message telling me it’s arrived, the ‘it’ in question is my new bike and I’m as giddy as a school kid at the prospect, but it hasn’t been all plain sailing getting this far, no it never is.

You see I had my criteria and budget, so you would think it would be quite simple buying a bike, but after a few false dawns on both eBay and Gumtree, I’ve ended up buying a new bike, unseen from an Internet retailer, here’s why…

It’s still March, but within a couple of days of deciding on my budget and criteria I had set up lists on both eBay and Gumtree and I would religiously check for updates first thing in the morning, at lunch time and on an evening. So it wasn’t long until I got my first bite, it was a Cannondale Bad Boy, not exactly what I wanted, but the guy was local and obviously desperate for the cash as he’d dropped the price by £100 within a few days, so I waited until the morning and gave him a call. This was my first learning curve, by the time I’d rung he’d already agreed to show it to a potential buyer that evening, so he took my number, alas I never heard back. Rule 1: See a Deal and go for it, no matter what time it is, I should have texted the guy, I didn’t, I missed out. Gutted.

The weeks were passing and the time remaining in which to train was getting less and less, I had upped my running to 3 miles a couple of time per week, but also kept my mountain biking to the same, so I wasn’t getting the miles in my legs, something I have come to regret.

It was now getting towards April and although I was quite enjoying trawling the second hand auction and classified websites, I was also getting quite restless. I had put in a few speculative bids on bikes, but I was finding that many road bikes were holding their value and prices would shoot up in the last hour of auctions – Very frustrating.

Then a Boardman CX Team Cyclocross bike appeared on eBay, it was a local pick up, but within 30 miles of where I live, so I began watching. To be honest I didn’t know much about Cyclocross bikes, so I put in a bit of research and it seemed ideal, I could even up my budget as I would no longer need my mountain bike for the local trails. I’d set my heart on this one, so with my higher budget I waited and waited until the last few minutes. To my surprise the bids only slowly crept up, it looked as though I was about to get a bargain, I put in my bid and with a minute to go on the auction I pressed confirm. The auction ended, the bought price flashed up on the screen and it was lower than my highest amount, I was chuffed…then my heart sank, the winning bidder wasn’t me, some other user name. To this day I haven’t a clue what happened, my bid never registered. Rule 2: When bidding on eBay don’t try to be a smart arse and bid at the last minute, you might just get what you deserve. Again, Gutted!

It’s was now early April and by now I was getting bored of the whole thing, the weather had turned for the worse so I was even struggling to get out for my weekly runs and my mountain bike was too heavy and tyres too slow for any meaningful distances.

By this stage I had even started to look at Cash Converters and Cash Generator to see if they had any bikes for sale, they did, but I was looking for a 60cm frame and most bikes tend to be in the low to mid 50’s. This is where my learning curve got much steeper. You see I’d assumed that because I am over 6′ that a 60cm frame would be my size, a trip to a local bike shop soon changed my opinion.

I went to my LBS to buy my son a bike helmet, but came out with more than I had bargained for. While waiting for the assistant to bag up the helmet I got chatting to the mechanic and explained my predicament, he took one look at me and said “I wouldn’t put you on anything bigger than a 56cm” I couldn’t believe it, all this time I’d been looking for the wrong size bike, I even straddled a bike and he was right, 60cm was far too large. Rule 3: Use your local bike shop.

I’d love to be able to tell you that I bought a bike from my LBS, but times are hard and quite frankly, although I always try to buy my accessories and clothing from them, their bike prices are full retail price and much better bargains can be found elsewhere, this is my first proper road bike after all, future purchases maybe different.

So with my new found knowledge and a stern warning about buying second hand bikes e.g. worn group sets and stolen bikes, I was now looking for new bike, but obviously at a bargain price.

It was now mid April and my new hang out was the online shops of Evans Cycles, Wiggle, Cycle Surgery, Winstanleys Bikes, Chain Reaction Cycles et al, these places tend to retail bikes at lower prices than a LBS, but still not low enough for my budget. So I pretty much given up hope and was actively looking at buying slick tyres for my MTB when I received an e-mail from Start Fitness a discount running shop who were having a 10% sale, interestingly they also sold bikes, even more interestingly they had the same bike I’d drooled over at my LBS, but never thought I could afford, but now I could, buying was a no brainier I saved over £400 on the retail price, astonishing – I just hope it’s not fake!

Distance Covered: 0 miles

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