Vendors

Heather's New Ride

Img_7031Uhl in Eagle, ID – These last few days I've spent a lot of time working on our bikes. They got thrashed during the drive from Phoenix to St George due to all the rain. Even though our bikes were on our hitch bike rack behind our car, providing some protection, they still got covered with a nasty film of salt and road grit. So I decided to do a deep-clean of all our bikes. I borrowed my buddy's air compressor to dry parts and went to town. After all the cleaning I built up Heather's new race bike: an America's Dairyland edition of a Cannondale SystemSix! This year they got frames only so I had to move all the parts over from her Dairyland Cannondale Six13.

Everything went together smoothly except for a couple things. First was the crankset instructions. As a guy, I usually don't read instructions, but being that I'm dealing with a very expensive frame...one that will be Heather's, I was extra careful and read through all of them (well, not the thick, generic one that tells you how to wear a helmet). The first thing was that the manual was written as if the Cannondale Carbon SI crankset was three-piece, not two-piece which came in the box. No big deal, I just had to remove the spindle that was already installed in the frame and insert the left crank-arm in it's place.

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FedEx Botches it Again

Uhl in Parker, CO – After two days and many calls to FedEx it seems that my race bike has been mis-directed again, this time to Sacramento, CA! If that didn't happen, there still could have been a chance to get the bike by today, but now there's no hope. So I'll definitely be riding Heather's cow bike for this race. We're lucky that none of our races overlap so it should be doable. All I'll need to do is swap her Speedplay X's for my Zero's then adjust the saddle position. But we'll have to race our medium-weight crit wheels today instead of the superlight LEW wheels packed with my race. Oh well, FedEx has just been demoted in our books.


Bikeless in Parker

Uhl in Parker, CO – Since we both have separate race and training bikes, it makes it possible to ship our race bikes to our destination ahead of time, rather than leave our bicycles in the "care" of the airlines. Besides, the airlines have started charging so much that even when flying cross-country, it's still cheaper to ship our bikes. Plus, you can purchase extra damage insurance; a good thing when your bikes are worth more than your car!

We recently had a couple bad experiences with UPS, so this trip we went back to using FedEx. We shipped the bikes on Monday and the tracking information that night said it would be delivered on Wednesday. But when I checked the tracking status on Wednesday, I noticed that one of our bicycles, was on the truck to be delivered, while the other was still showing that it was in Henderson, Colorado?! I thought maybe the tracking status just didn't get updated, but I should have gotten a clue when even that night, it still didn't show any updates.

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Sanford/Rubbermaid's Great Customer Service

Sanfordgoodvendor_2Uhl in Eagle, ID - So there are still companies that back up their products and provide customer service beyond expectations. I purchased a portable file carrier last fall for Heather. It was one of those containers that can hold a dozen or so hanging files with a lid containing compartments for pens, paperclips, etc. When Heather opened the lid one day, the plastic snapped right at the hinges. It probably was due to the cold...the file box had been sitting in the car out in the cold. It was made by Sanford, a Rubbermaid company. Since Rubbermaid is well respected, I decided to give them a call. Customer service told me to send any part of the product to them and they would send out a replacement. I clarified that I didn't need to send the whole box (which would have cost in shipping almost as much as the box was worth) and she said, "No, just any piece of it." I just happened to have the two small plastic pieces that made up the hinge, so I threw those in an envelope and mailed it in.

Two weeks later we receive a parcel from them. It not only contained a brand new file box, but a fancy writing pen, a purple Sharpie, and a very nice letter detailing their commitment to quality. The letter was even hand-signed! Very impressive! In contrast, when a similar problem occurred with an Iris container we purchased, when I called them they said they would send a new one out but I would have to pay $13 shipping. The box in question was only $9.99. A contrast in vendors, and one that will definitely affect my future purchase decisions.