Life in the times of Corona – Captains log: Day 79

If there is one thing about the Netherlands, is that simple things are not necessarily simple. I could tell you about the process of renting a flat, or making a hair dressers appointment, but that is a post for another day. Suffice it to say I think its easier to get a job than to make a simple appointment.

Enter the bike shop saga. You would think that a country that prides itself on being a bike obsessed place, that you could find a bike shop around every corner, and that is nearly true. What is harder to find, is a shop that will service a mountain bike, or any bike that isn’t a commuter bike. So when I decided to have my mountain bike serviced after 2 years of standing unused,being shipped across the world and another 6 months of hanging out in a store room, I did not imagine it would turn into a saga.

It started last week, on Wednesday or Thursday. I phoned the bike shop to find out what there opening hours were, seeing as it might have changed due to the Covid-19 measures. After a brief conversation the guy on the phone assured me that they are open, but they are fully booked for the next 3 weeks. So I politely ask if I can make an appointment for when the 3 weeks are over. This is not for surgery, just a bike service.

So he says yes, but since I haven’t bought my bike there and I am a new customer, they will have to see the bike first before making an appointment, so can I come down to the shop with my bike to make the appointment. At this point I proceed to explain that the tires are completely flat, and the handlebars twisted after being shipped from South Africa, and how am I supposed to get the bike down there. So the friendly dude suggests I bring the wheels down, and he will pump them up, so I can wheel the bike to the shop. Sounds legit.

On Saturday morning I take the wheels down to the shop. The reason I can’t just put air in it myself is because I converted it to Tubeless tires a few years ago, but now the goo inside has dried out and it needs to be re-sealed before I can just pump them up. Outside the shop, I had to wait in line with my wheels for about 45 minutes, as they only let in a couple of customers at a time, and a bike shop isn’t exactly the type of place where people just go in, buy milk and leave.

Eventually it is my turn and I explain to the guy at reception, my whole story (see above). The guy keeps moving around, so then I follow, because talking to a moving target is hard, and then he berates me and tells me to stand behind the invisible line that separates the staff from the general riffraff. After the full account, I hold out the wheels and he asks me, innocently, “so what must I do with this”. Exasperated, I say, “please put in some air” and he responds “but do you have an appointment for this? We are full for the next 3 weeks”

At this point I get really impatient and start retelling the whole story (see above) but a bit louder and slower, because maybe my English isn’t intelligible or something. So the guy tells me “no need to get excited, just tell me what you want”.

Dear reader, at this point my frustration was so intense it started leaking out of my eyes.

When I started to tell my story (see above) for the third time, fate intervened and the nice dude who answered the phone walked past and said “oh yes, you called. Let me put some air in your tires.”

To be continued…

Be kind. Stay safe.

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