Why a test ride? Well sadly as I changed jobs a while ago and can no longer park my bicycle indoors at work I've been commuting on my second hand Cannondale and my Giant has been sadly, sadly neglected. Anyway, after a quick clean I set off on a much needed test ride.
Ever had automatic shifting? You're cycling along and suddenly the bicycle changes gears? Ever experienced being able to shift down in gears, but only being able to shift up one time in three? This is what was going on during my short test ride and they're sure signs that the derailleur needs adjustment, the chain has stretched or the internal mechanism of the shifters is worn or dirty. (In my case it was all three!)
What to do? I was already out on the road, and with my family away for the day I was hoping to make the most of this rare opportunity to go cycling. I really needed someone to take a look at my bike, but who?
After some coaxing I got the bicycle into a comfortable gear and decided to head on down and visit Wada-san at The Trail Store in the hope that 1) they were open, 2) that Wada-san was there and 3) that he was free to give my bicycle the once over before the big night ride.
I used to be a regular customer at the Trail Store as I passed by twice a day on my ride to and from work. From my very first visit I felt comfortable at the Trail Store. Bicycle stores can be notoriously unfriendly to anyone who just drops in, or anyone who doesn't fit their profile of a serious cyclist. But Wada-san was friendly and helpful from the outset. He was never too busy to help with a problem, and always provided exceptional service, and advice. Despite being quite far from home The Trail Store became my local bike shop for many years.
But, as I mentioned earlier, I suddenly changed jobs and no longer passed by The Trail Store every day, in fact it had been 3 years since I last visited Wada-san. The job change was so abrupt I didn't get the chance to tell Wada-san I wouldn't be around any more. As far as he was concerned I just disappeared. I always felt kind of bad about that, but I guess if you'e a store owner customers come and go, no big deal, but it meant something to me.
Again I felt kind of bad about disappearing suddenly, then bursting into his business 3 years later, and without warning asking if he could take a look at my bike, but before I knew it he had it in a bike stand and had got to work on replacing my chain and adjusting the shifting. In no time the job was finished, and I'm sure he charged me only for parts.
I rarely use this blog to push a business, but if you're of the mountain biking persuasion or are thinking of buying a mountain bike I can't recommend The Trail Store more highly. Their friendly service is exceptional, I can say no more than that.
The Trail Store is 7km from my home, while another "high end" bicycle store is just 100m from my door. I've never felt welcome in the store close to home, the staff just aren't helpful or even friendly, and I always feel their prices are way too high. Therefore I will ALWAYS cycle to The Trail Store when in need of advice, parts or maintenence and highly recommend you do too.