22 Jun 2015

22nd June 2015 And now some mixed news!

Monday 22nd 56F, 13C rather cloudy, light winds with showers forecast all day possibly with thunder.

I ordered some new Schwalbe Durano tyres from Cykelpartner.dk an online Danish bike and parts
dealer. The present Duranos have flattened treads through tricycle use and are showing an increasing number of small holes from the sharp flints which litter the unswept, Danish cycle paths and highways.

This rural junction has been like this for years. Traffic turning into the minor road cuts the corner. Dragging the  loose and uncompressed gravel from the verge and depositing it across the entire road.

Gravel of all sizes collects in moraines at junctions, on corners and along the verges. Many cycle paths are littered with gravel from the drives of houses along their length. It is obviously beyond the wits or any sense of responsibility to [ever] sweep up their droppings. Just getting them to clear the snow from the pavement outside their home [required by law!] is a completely lost cause in many cases. Farmers carry countless flints onto the roads and right across the cycle paths in the mud from their fields. Leaving the flint gravel everywhere as the mud slowly disappears in thick brown, airborne dust, through tyre wear or rain. The Danish communes habit of adding gravel to the verges to allow slightly extra road width for overtaking, at much lower cost than tarmac, adds its own level of gravel accumulation chaos.

My order to Cykelpartner was placed late on Saturday afternoon @ 17.37pm and the package is already waiting for my pick-up from the "packet shop/post office" delivery machine in a local supermarket this morning. Just one of a national arrangement for parcel collection from a very large chain of Danish supermarkets and [some] petrol stations. The secure parcel dispensing machine has lots of different lockers and opens on entering two, four digit pin numbers and inserting my Danish national insurance card to confirm ID.

Anybody who complains about carrying a national ID card is an idiot. Does anybody leave home without a debit or credit card these days? Duh? The Danish card is exactly the same size and style as any bank card and has the owner's name, address and National Insurance number printed or embossed on it. A magnetic strip allows it to be read by services including the library, doctors, dentists, local council services,etc .

The card saves everybody loads of time by not having to spell difficult names and addresses and then produce alternative forms of ID to confirm personal identity. Passport anybody? The Danish national insurance number is used as primary ID for most online banking, official communications etc. Unlike the ridiculously random British NI number the Danish one has date of birth first followed by four security digits. Anybody presenting the card as ID must obviously match the age shown by the NI birth date. A very simple check that the card or its identity isn't being abused.

Within seconds I received clear emails from Cykelpartner immediately confirming my order. Then another later to confirm Sunday despatch and now another confirming readiness for collection at 08.30 today. [Monday] Postage was free because I chose local collection to avoid hanging about waiting for the postman all day. Postal delivery times are as variable as today's weather and of doubtful reliability. Miss-posting to neighbours is remarkably commonplace despite clear house numbers. For many years we only had post on a few, specific days of the week! I kid you not!

I know that most of you are unlikely to ever deal with a Danish online bike parts dealer. But thought I'd share a mention of the same, truly remarkable service I receive every single time I have dealt with Cykelpartner.dk They have over 10,000 remarkably positive Trust Pilot reviews with a score of 9.6 and are liked by many more Facebook users. It just shows how well it can be done with determination and customer service always a priority.

For those who think I should deal with a bricks and mortar shops I might have agreed. Except that no "real" bike shops stock anything but 23mm Duranos [or in any other folding "racing" tyre] and usually only stock the Durano Plus anyway. I prefer the lighter Durano and 25mm width for greater comfort. Average shop prices are also 100DKK/ £10/ $16US higher than buying them online. When you are buying three at a time that adds up to 1½ free tyres!

I have only 3,400 miles on the latest Duranos with three punctures so far. Not as good as the first set I bought but there is still some life in the present set. Wet weather seems to be their Achilles heel. The damp allows very tiny flints to gather in any hole in the tread which eventually work their way through to the tube. Dry weather seems to avoid any visible flint collection. Like the Continental 4000 & 4000S, which I used before buying Schwalbes, there seems to considerable variation in the rubber compounds between batches.The Blue 4000s were fine until the treads literally split like a knife cut. Both pairs of 4000S were puncture magnets! 

I complained to another online [non-bikes] UK dealer recently about the long delays for delivery, longer waits for [endlessly and repeatedly out of stock] items [despite acceptance of my order] the total lack of useful communication, ignoring multiple follow-up emails, etc.

I mentioned Trust Pilot in my repeat email sent ten days after the first was completely ignored and was told that Trust Pilot is a complete scam. Needless to say they, themselves, have an appalling TP score of below 4, of entirely negative reviews, with dire ex-customer warnings about ever dealing with this company. Some have even publicly threatened them with the UK Trading Standards Office to obtain a refund for non-received items. Our last order from them contained obviously returned items which had been previously opened and tried by dissatisfied customers. The [almost up] sell-by dates were a year earlier than our last order when they kept us waiting [again] supposedly to restock! Or, in other [fewer] words: How NOT to do business online!!

No walk and only a short ride under a dark and threatening sky. It even tried to spit on me on the way back. The Head Gardener told me it had mightily, but briefly, "persisted" at home only 10 minutes ahead of me as I fought a light headwind. Only 7 miles. I'm wondering if it is worth the risk of taking another ride. Not today.

Click on any image for an enlargement.

No comments:

Post a Comment