hey dj, where’s the bike?

A long time ago in a Norrviken far, far away someone started building some new bike parking. It was desperately needed because the existing cycle stands at Norrviken station are jammed full every day. I was really happy because not only was there going to be more parking but it was going to be on the same side of the station to my house so I wouldn’t have to walk as far after dropping off the bike (those extra 50 metres were a killer). While I would like to cycle all the way to  work more often, I don’t have time as I have to pick up my son from day care pretty early and the train is faster. Luckily he’s learning to ride now so at least I can cycle to the station in the morning and then from the station to day care in the afternoons.

A hole was dug out quite quickly, some foundations were built and, in no time at all, some supporting legs and a roof were up. Then everything ground to a halt. No actual bike stand was put in. Over a year passed and no progress was made but then, out of the blue, work began on a second bike stand beside the first uncompleted one. I thought it was pretty weird but decided to wait and see what happened.

It was worth it. Just a few days later the following sight greeted me on my way to the train…

New bike shed

Naturally I started parking my bike in the new bike stands.

Then came the dreaded storm weather warnings (am I the only who thinks that was totally blown out of proportion?). I was worried about the trains not running so I scrounged a lift home from a friend and totally forgot that my poor bike was waiting for me.

The next morning I walked up to the station and past the bike parking. I was almost past before I realised my bike wasn’t there. I looked around in case the workmen had been forced to move it somewhere but no, it was gone. Stolen. Vanished. It was an ex-bike.

I was pretty pissed off at whoever stole it. It’s not like they took it accidentally. Or that it was an emergency so they stole it then brought it back later. Learn the difference between yours and mine please! However, I realised there was an opportunity here as well. I have insurance so I could get a new bike. I phoned up my insurers and was told that, due to the age of the bike, it wasn’t worth that much but, even though I had no receipt or any kind of proof that I’d ever bought the bike, they’d give me 50% of the estimated value.

All that remained was for me to buy a new mountain bike. I had a pretty limited budget (max 8000SEK for everything) but I started looking and quickly realised it wasn’t going to be an easy task. The decent bikes all seemed to be a few thousand above my budget but I soldiered on. Then my friend and fellow Fourteen Islands writer Pierre suggested I get a hybrid bike instead. I was fairly skeptical. “Those skinny tyres will never hold up to me smashing up and down kerbs”, I thought, “and there’ll be no grip out in the forests.” (not that I’m in any way a serious off-roader but everyone likes a cycle through the woods occasionally). I’d pretty much dismissed the idea until I went to the first shop who had not even one mountain bike within my range. I talked over the issues concerning hybrids with the guy in the shop and he was able to calm my nerves so I looked at a Kona DR Dew that Pierre had recommended. I liked what I saw but had only looked in one shop so wanted more choice. I also have a bit of a problem with Cykolteket but that’s another story.

Moving on to Sportson I talked to a really helpful guy who encouraged me strongly to go for a hybrid. They had two on offer that he recommended, a Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc or a Scott Speedster X40. Both were the exact same price (6995 SEK) and had pretty much the same specs but which to choose. In the end it came down to a few small details. I hated the huge platform pedals on the Specialized but the guy swapped them for my choice of pedal for free. I preferred the colour of the Specialized and didn’t like the hand-grips on the Scott. And I’ve always wanted a Specialized. It might be daft but for some reason it’s always felt like I could never afford a Specialized bike and here was my chance so I grabbed it. And here she is, my new baby…

Specialized Crosstrail Sport Disc

So far I’m very happy with it. It’s a comfortable ride, it’s pretty fast (especially compared to my old mountain bike) and it’s just so pretty. I’ll let you know how I get on with it after I’ve had more time on it.

Now let’s just hope the thieves let me hold onto this one!

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40 year old bloke born in London, raised in Belfast and now living in Stockholm after stints of various durations in Southampton, London, Paris, Brussels, Dublin and Uppsala.

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