Five years ago when we went to Vegas and LA

We went to Vegas in the summer of 2007.  When I was out there, I met up with a friend of a friend who lived there and also rode bikes.  He rented a bike for me and we got together one morning for a ride, which was interesting.  In the summer, it gets so brutally hot that your day on the bike needs to end by something like 9am or you’ll fucking die of heat stroke.  We must have been on the bikes by 5-something.  Crazy.  Fun though.  You’re racing the clock to the backdrop of really cool scenery; I won’t do it justice here.  Red Rock Canyon, wild horses, pretty flat and pretty fast.  We really ticked through the miles.  When we finished up, the guy I rode with suggested that while we were out in LA, I should hook up with another rental and do the Rose Bowl Ride.  It’s basically a huge impromptu criterium that happens twice a week.  Sounded really fun.  We were driving out there in another day or so, so it was perfect timing.

I got on the phone with Bicycle John’s, just outside of Pasadena, and inquired about getting a bike for the ride. They told me they had a Seven Odonata available, and I hadn’t heard of that before, and the guy told me it was a $7,000 bike.  The rental for one day was something like $90.  Knowing that being out here was kind of a special opportunity, I didn’t think too hard about it.  I mean, how often am I in California and able to race around the Rose Bowl.  I reserved the bike and was freakin’ psyched.  I was going out to Pimp Valley to ride a crazy ridiculous unattainable bike around a national icon.

We left Vegas and drove through the desert to LA, and shortly before the Rose Bowl Ride I stopped into Bicycle John’s to pick up the rental.  Having just been on a nondescript undersized Jamis in Vegas, I was seething with excitement at the prospect of hooking up with an amazing bike.  And there it was.

Well, it was a Seven alright.  SEVEN.  Seven was a synonym for “brand I never see and can’t afford”.  Wheels were not bad; Ksyrium SL.  Dura-Ace group.  So far, so good.  Paint – it does have paint of course; I’d describe it as “old yellow”.  Not my thing, but fancy schmancy expensive bike, whatever.  Then I just can’t figure the rest out.  The saddle is a complete piece of shit for sure.  The bar and stem are some random combination of garbage, which I don’t understand.  Cheapo Truvativ crank?  Bar tape was shoddy at best.  But all told it was a fancy bike, and something to ride in this unique opportunity, and off I went.  I did, however, ask for an allen wrench and tweaked the seat height before I left.  You would have thought that $90 might have at least entitled you to a quick fit?  Like, is this bike right for you?  No.  Anyway, I had a bike.

You know what’s funny, for this blog post I was writing a whole ranting recollection of my experience with that bike, and then I remembered that I actually had an email that I wrote to the shop after I got home.  So rather than try and tell a five year old story from memory, here’s what gmail says I sent them.


Your shop came highly recommended, and while in the area, I recently rented a Seven Odonata from your Burbank store.  In my opinion, few things went right and the experience really was not worth the $85/day I was charged.  I will elaborate.  I returned this bike on Saturday, 6/23, and did not want to air my complaints in front of customers. 

I phoned the shop 2 days prior to pickup and was ultimately presented with a rental price of $85 per day.  This seemed rather high to me; however, it was communicated to me by the shop that this bike was a “$7,000 bike”, and with that in mind, I conceded and determined the price to be reasonable.  However, upon inspection I in no way can see how this bike could be worth such a sum.  Perhaps in its heyday this Odonata retailed somewhere near that amount, but in present condition, it is a far cry from 7 bills.  Bar, stem and saddle were cheap replacements and not of the quality expected on this kind of bicycle at this kind of rate.  Given that I had picked up the bike only an hour prior to the event, I was left with no latitude for argument.  I needed the bike. 

The bar tape was badly torn in one spot and required repair, which I find inexcusable given the amount lead time allowed.  I asked for a repair on-site, and was presented with the option of having the bar re-wrapped.  I explained that I was short on time and could not wait for a re-wrap, whereby the individual helping me gave me a strip of packing tape to patch the bar.  The net result was not one befitting a “$7000” bike to say the least.  Embarrassing. 

Given what I paid for the rental, I should not have been scrambling for adjustments just moments before my event started.  It was clear that this bike had not been well prepared for rental.  Bolts securing the seat to the post were very loose, and there was considerable play in the crank/bottom bracket.  Both inexcusable.  Curious to me as well was the fact that both tires were nearly flat when I left the shop.  After airing up the tires to pressure at my event in Pasadena, the rear tube blew within 15 minutes of riding, only moments from the start of my event.  I missed the start as I sat fumbling on the side of the road changing a tube.  Upon inspection, the failed tube was very old and the valve stem had torn away at the base; something I see all the time with tubes that are well past their prime.  I would have expected the shop to have at least aired up the tires before the bike left the shop.  Had this been done even the night prior, perhaps this issue would have been discovered well in advance.  At a minimum I would expect a shop renting an $85 bike to at least ensure that a set of gorgeous Ksyrium SL wheels clad in very comfortable Torelli open tubulars had serviceable, somewhat new tubes. 

In general, I expected much, much more given that the shop had 2 full days notice to prepare the bike for rental.  My impression of the bike is “ragtag”.  If the shop could not be bothered to give it proper attention, the shop should not have committed to the rental.  Here’s where I’m coming from: I flew into Las Vegas, drove through the desert to Los Angeles, fought through this country’s worst traffic to pick up and return this bike, and the net result just disappointing.  Riding in the Rose Bowl Crit was an opportunity I may not get again for a long time, and this bike made the experience just about awful.

I feel like I was honest, yet restrained and polite, in a way that invited a response.  A day later, they did reply.

Hi Christopher, 

Thank you for your input.  I’ll pass it along. Regards,

Name of Useless Person

That was all I ever heard.

Fuck Bicycle John’s.  Fuck them straight to a hole in the ground filled with fuck.  I fucking hate to fly first of all, so actually getting out to the other side of the county was a big fucking deal for me.  Then I meet a guy who rides like I do, we have a great ride through the desert, he plugs me into the Rose Bowl ride, I’m SUPER excited, I piss away a shitload of time getting from downtown LA to Burbank back down to Pasadena back to downtown LA then up to fucking Burbank the next day to return the fucking bike BACK to downtown LA do you have any fucking idea how much TIME that requires in the span of a normal vacation it’s fucking INSANE because LA traffic is a fucking untreatable open sore of modern transportation that’s like riding through the fire of hell on the back of a crippled mule.  And I’m literally/figuratively saddled by this fucking worked over high mileage whore of an allegedly fancy bicycle seven fucking thousand dollar bike.  Maybe that fucker said “Seven; thousand dollar bike”.  I could have just mis-heard the whole fucking thing who the fuck knows.  Those guys can eat shithole.  Fucking packing tape?  You fucking offered me fucking PACKING TAPE to fix bar tape.  Holy shit.  I should have just taken a chain whip to my own fucking neck at that point.  SHIT.  I HATE YOU FUCKS.  It’s been five years and I’m still fucking mad about this.

Hey look what I am doing FUCKING AROUND WITH TOOLS 

SEVEN as in thousand dollars it rode like a $40 prostitute

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