Fairholmes cycle hire, Derwent water.

As mentioned in the training log we popped up to Derwent Water on Sunday and hired a couple of bikes from the cycle hire place at the Fairholmes Car Park.

We were after 2 bikes for the afternoon, we’d left it a little late but there were 2 still there. I handed over the money, we were handed helmets (a bonus as they’re included in the price) and then shown our steads for the next couple of hours. Sturdy sit up and beg Claud Butler’s.

So far so good. But from here it all heads downhill. On the first climb out of the car park both of us started experiencing ghost shifts (ie; the bike changed gear without any rider involvement), or a complete failure to shift when asked to. Ok, so the bikes have possibly had a bit of a hard life, maybe they’ll pick up a bit.

On the next downhill I had the amusing ‘fun’ of being sat on a bike that was actually slowing down while heading downhill. Sorry? How’s that happen?  The brakes had plenty of room (so were nice and squishy when you actaully wanted to stop) so I’m guessing that it’s probably been a long time since anyone had a look at the axle bearings in the wheels.

So far, it’s all a case of “annoying, but we can just about live with it”. The next episode though was not quite as amusing. At the start of a steep ascent about half way round (so about 5 miles either way back to the hire place) Sharlotte shifted down to start pedalling and the chain jumped straight off of the granny ring and jammed straight under the granny ring tight into the bottom bracket. Luckily 2 of us were strong enough to be able to prise it out after about 15 mintues of stuggle, but if we’d not been able to then a young woman would have been lumbered with a long walk pushing a heavy bike

From the looks of the damage already on the BB it’s not the first time it’s happened on that bike. And the state of the chain was appaling, god knows when it was last cleaned, it would appear that if things start creaking or need adjusting they just slather more grease onto  the thing.

After this sharlotte was naturally worried about changing gear so struggled round the rest of the route trying to use as few gears as possible, which pretty much ruined any enjoyment.

And the response of the staff at the Fairholme centere? “Well these things happen”. For Fuck’s sake guys, take about 10 minutes a day to actually maintain these bikes. It’s not rocket science. I’m no pro but in that time I could quite happily clean/lube a chain and adjust derailleur tension. then once a week maybe have a look at the bearings in the wheels.

And then maybe when 2 customers come back looking like they’ve had a hard time of it and explain to you what’s wrong you could actually look like you give a rat’s arse.

I would recommend that if you have a choice of walking the 10 miles round the reservoir or hiring one of these bikes you just start off walking. At least that way you know won’t end up walking and pushing a bike around as well.

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