I won’t hear a bad word about my local bike shop.
Of course, some of the things they sell can be found much cheaper online, but they give good advice, they clearly love bikes and anything bike related, and they don’t give you the hard sell.
They also give me 10% off, which clinches it.
Having said all this, I have uncovered evidence recently that they seem to have a rogue staff member who is stealthily enforcing ‘The Rules’.
(For the record, I just think ‘The ‘Rules’ are a bit of fun. Nothing more. I know some get a bit hot and bothered about them. Not me. No-one is actually trying to dictate how you should behave. They’re just for fun).
A friend of mine went in there recently to buy handlebar tape, and in a moment of excitement decided it was time to live a little, move on from his standard black, and wrap his bars in pristine white. A perfectly acceptable decision; slick, stylish, prone to getting mucky perhaps – particularly if you’re one of those who seems to spend every ride with a coating of chain grease all over his mitts – but a bold choice.
As he was paying for the tape, the young lad behind the counter asked conspiratorially, ‘what colour is your seat?’
Any fans of ‘The Rules’ might now be thinking, ‘ahhh, Rule #8: Saddles, bars and tyres shall be carefully matched’.
My friend, without missing a beat, said ‘white’ (despite the fact that a truthful answer would have been…’black’), and the young lad smiled and nodded, as if to say, ‘fair enough, on your way’.
This got me wondering: does this young lad have a simple if slightly obsessive fetish about matching bar tape and seat, or does he fastidiously enforce as many rules as he can get away with whilst parting cyclist from cash.
Is he going to criticise my tan lines as I try on a new item of summer kit? (Rule #7: Tan lines should be cultivated and kept razor sharp).
Will he forbid me from buying a European posterior man satchel if he knows his manager isn’t watching? (Rule #29: No European posterior man-satchels).
Would he dare to suggest I need a healthy dose of ‘Rule #5’ as I try and purchase thick winter gloves and full-length tights in autumn? (Rule #5: Harden the f**k up).
Actually, as long as I get my 10% I’m not too bothered.