First published on January 30 2008
So I cycled home from town today, in the balmy dark of the winter-that-does-not-come, with my shiny new bike lights and reflectors. But I am getting ahead of myself.
My half-crappy bike, you see, was not well. It was experiencing chain trouble, and gear trouble, and a few other unspecified mechanical ailments. So I took it to the bike shop which has become, for me, THE bike shop. The only bike shop in the universe. And here it is.
This is a shop in the old style, run by a man and his helpers: people who like bikes, who care about their customers and who do their jobs with passion. I love those guys. I fucking LOVE them, I tell you!
This is in stark contrast to the bike shop where I bought the bike, the ubiquitous Cykelringen (The Bike Ring). This is a loud, shiny superstore with mass-produced Chinese crap, idiotic staff and “sales” that never seem to end. They sell rubbish, and they know it, and they will not help you with a damned thing unless they are forced to by either a lawyer or a stout length of wood.
I had trouble with an expensive lock I bought there a while ago. It seized up after one year and one day, and I took it back only to be told: “Sorry, your one year guarantee is up, we can’t do shit, and we don’t want to. Please go away.”
Here I will never go again. And neither, my Stockholm readers, will you. Cykelringen – avoid. Or feel my wrath.
So the nice man in the happy bike shop unscrewed a few things, fiddled with them and put them back on, and my bike was as good as new. “You can’t spend so much time on a bike of such bad quality,” he grumbled, and I loved him for it. Then when I tried to pay him, he said, “No, no, that’s on the house.”
I felt like hugging him. Instead I bought a bunch of new lights and reflectors, which I anyway needed, and which he installed while I waited.
So people, to summarise: go here for all your bike-related needs. It’s the only bike shop you will ever need, and, handily enough, it’s right across the street from Stockholm’s best Irish pub. So you can while away an afternoon sipping Guinness and watching kind people working. Does life get any sweeter than that?