As regular readers (and residents of the north of England) may be aware, in late November/early December 2015 it rained a lot. And then, on the 4th December, it combined with a high tide, and the banks of the River Lune and the drainage system here in Lancaster decided enough was enough.
Those of us who live near the river spent that Saturday evening with the spectacle of a frankly implausible amount of water rumbling down the river, carrying with it all manner of trees, foliage, debris, and even a shipping container at one point (!). We frantically double-checked our home insurance documents, before going to bed by candlelight not entirely sure what we might wake up to.
By morning it was clear that tens of thousands of homes were without power (and would be for two or three days) and the streets were awash with confused people jabbing desperately at their (inactive) mobile phones. But for most of us, the floodwater was kept at bay.
I even found time to describe it as a ‘cycling apocalypse’; proof, if it were needed, that for me it’s always about the bike.
Lots of low-lying local businesses, however, weren’t so lucky. At that point they weren’t to know they’d begun many months of struggle to re-open their flooded premises. One of these businesses was my local bike shop; The Edge Cycleworks.
In a world where it sometimes seems like the online mega-retailers are king, places like The Edge are indispensable. It’s the place I often go in my lunch hour to buy something bike related, or just to kill time/talk bikes. If this annoys them, they are extremely professional about it and never let on.
They have staff who will happily debate the technical specification of a Campagnolo drive-train, the possible winner of this year’s Tour de France, and what the weekend weather forecast has in store.
I hear they’ll talk about mountain bikes too.
The fact is they know their stuff, give proper advice, and love bikes, and you don’t get that online. An ‘online chat’ isn’t going to help me make a decision about gear ratios, or give me a view on disc brakes, and it certainly won’t help me decide who to stick a fiver on to win the Vuelta Espana.
The fact is, we’d be fools not to support our local bike shops.
On Saturday 18th June 2016 the Edge Cycleworks re-opened for business; revamped, redesigned, and looking great. If you live in or near Lancaster go and have a look around, buy something, or just talk bikes. They’ve got racks of pretty stuff to look at, a pristine new workshop, and a dedicated bike-fit room. There’s even a comfy settee by the window.
Just don’t make any jokes about water, or floods, or rivers.
It’s probably still a touchy subject.