Sunday, August 23, 2015
Today Bicycles Inc. Confirmed I Am An Unobservant Mechanically Challenged Moron
In March of 2012 I bought a cheap bike at Walmart which has turned out to be the best bike I've ever had.
But, after three years of rolling the bike's wheels, it looked to me like it was time to get new tires.
When I bought the bike the bike was clearly identified as a 26 inch bike. I have long assumed this 26 thing referred to the 26 inch diameter wheel, hence buying 26 inch replacement inner tubes.
So, yesterday I went to the Walmart where I bought the bike three years ago and bought a pair of 26 inch mountain bike tires.
I got back to my bike repair garage and eventually got the old tires off the rims. When I tried to put the new tires on the rims it quickly became problematic. As in there was no way I was going to be able to get those tires on the rims.
I got out a tape measure and measured the new tires, and shocked was I to find they were not 26 inches in diameter, they were 25 inches in diameter. I then measured my old tires and was again shocked to find they are 27 inches in diameter. I then measured the wheel to find it is 25 inches in diameter.
At this point I was totally bum puzzled. I Googled "Bell 26 inch mountain tire won't install" to find some people had similar woes, but for reasons that did not match mine. Plus most people were very happy with their new Bell tires.
I then returned the new tires to Walmart and got a refund.
At one point in the Googling I came upon someone saying one needed to match exactly the bike's tire specs, which in my case would be, I thought, 26" by 1.95".
I went to the Bicycles Inc. website, even though I've previously said I would never go to that store again, due to previous annoyances, like not having a tire trued by the time of the scheduled pickup. On their website I found Bicycles Inc. had something called a Sunlite Shipman 26" Tire Black 26 x 1.95 for only $15.99. And the website said this tire was in stock.
Just what I needed. And cheaper than Walmart.
So today after Bicycles Inc. opened at an hour past noon I called. Dallas answered. A person named Dallas, not the town. I asked Dallas to confirm they had the aforementioned tire in stock. Dallas said he'd never heard of that tire, but he'd go check. After about five minutes Dallas returned to say they had no such tire. I then asked if they had other mountain bike tires with the 26 x 1.95 dimensions. Again Dallas said he'd go check and again after about five minutes he returned and said they had 26 x 2.0's, but that should work on my rim.
I told Dallas I would be there in about a half hour, with my wheel rim in hand to make sure the tire works on it.
I got to where I thought Bicycles Inc. was to find it no longer there. I thought maybe I remembered wrong, and so continued heading east on Harwood. About a block later I came to the new location of Bicycles Inc., in a much bigger store.
I walk in, wheel rim in hand. And stand. And stand. There seemed to be plenty of employees, all engaged with customers. I seemed to be the only disengaged customer. I got tired of waiting and so butted in on one of the Inc. boys and asked if one of them was Dallas. Over there, that's Dallas, but he's with a customer, you'll have to wait to talk to him.
And so I waited.
After about 10 more minutes Dallas seemed to be no longer talker to that customer, so I hailed him with a "You Dallas? I'm the guy with a wheel rim in need of a tire." Dallas replied "I'm helping another customer, I'll help you next."
Another 10 minutes go by. I see Dallas at a computer terminal. Then a rather large, sweating profusely Inc. boy asked if he could help me. I mention that Dallas was going to help me but he seems occupied. I told the large Inc. boy what I needed. I told him Dallas told me, on the phone, that you had plenty in stock and they cost $15.99.
The large Inc. boy starts looking through a bunch of tires hung up against a wall. To no avail. Then he goes to where Dallas was, asks Dallas where the tires are that he told that guy with the wheel rim about. Dallas pointed in a direction to which the large Inc. boy headed.
Another ten minutes the large Inc. boy shows up, tire in hand.
I said "I need two of them, but first let's make sure it can go on this rim." "That rim?" he asks. Yeah," says I.
He then goes, "That's a 29 inch wheel, it needs a 29 inch tire."
"What?" said I. "But I've always used 26 inch tubes," again said I.
"And they don't go flat quickly from being over inflated?" asks the large Inc. boy.
"No, the only flats I've had have been caused by items like nails or mesquite thorns."
Then I asked the large Inc. boy how he instantly knew it was a 29 inch wheel, to have him answer with, "Well, it looks bigger than a 26, that and it says 29 right on the rim."
"What?" said I. "That's what that says? I'd never been able to make out what that was supposed to be spelling."
What I am talking about is that which you see at the top, a photo of the wheel rim I hauled to Bicycles Inc. today.
So, in the end I ended up being slightly less annoyed at Bicycles Inc., but just like I vowed after my last visit to Fry's Electronics, I don't think I will return to Bicycles Inc.
Now, I am annoyed at Walmart. Walmart sells three different brands of inner tubes, Bell, Schwinn and Goodyear. Mostly 26 inch tubes, no 29 inch tubes. Same with the bike tires Walmart sells. I did not know til today there is such a thing as a 29 inch bike inner tube. I've never seen one.
Out of this debacle I did learn one good thing, that being that I don't think my existing bike tires are as badly worn as I thought they were. I think I'll re-install them and not worry about replacing them until the memory of this nightmare fades....