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Posts Tagged ‘Upshur County’

This was only a sampling of what was wrong with the bicycles. The handlebars were being moved by my thumb and index fingers, while I tried to hold the wheel with my knees.

Backstory – https://wvcycling.wordpress.com/2010/04/14/more-wal-mart-woes/

Yesterday evening while out on a ride, I received two phone calls from unknown phone numbers. Googling didn’t help, neither did white pages reverse lookup, or PIPL.com. Seeing how they were local numbers, I decided to call them back. It was Wal-Mart; their unlisted office numbers.

I spoke to a woman named Linda who was calm, friendly, and seemed concerned in a way that the business would want her to be; you know what I mean. Right off the bat, she knew who I was, and what I was calling about. I went over my findings, and clarified to her that this was not the first time that more than half of their fleet of bicycles (In her terms, Toys and Accessories) would fail a safety check due to one reason or another. Linda stated that the bicycles have been flying off the shelf since Easter, which is the usual kick-start to the bike-selling season. I am not sure if she told me this to assure me that this instance was due to being busy, or that it was an isolated incident, but I could tell where this was going.

She stated that all they do to a bicycle once they receive it is install handlebars. I told her that this is potentially the first problem, and that the whole bike should be looked over once it is in their hands due to the fact that I have seen frayed cables, loose pedals, housing installed in bass-ackward ways, and other things that could cause the bicycles to abruptly fail. Linda assured me that these issues were due to bicycles being returned to the store, and being put back on the shelves. “You can tell, see? The tires will have mud on them and stuff. It’s easy to know.” She could not confirm whether bicycles were reconditioned or just placed back on the shelf after being returned, but that they were sold AS-IS.

Seeing what I will now call the 6/10 handlebar problem was something under their control according to Linda’s own words, I decided to push with that, telling her again that these bicycles which I checked THIS WEEK could potentially cause harm to someone who is unknowing about bicycle safety. Linda stated that she will forward this concern to the department manager for the section that bikes are in, and that she will also address this issue to the associate who builds the bicycles.

She then thanked me for my concern, and said she could understand that a “cyclist would be concerned with things like this”.

At the end of the call, I do not feel any more reassured that problems like this will change. I took the time to try to reach a human being, but I still have that sinking feeling in my gut that people are at risk if they don’t know anything about bikes. I guess all that can be done now is to pray that people don’t get hurt…

Buckhannon Wal-Mart

Store #2809

304.472.5726

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Its the first day in over a month without snow coming down, the car snot is clearing off of the slushy roads. The giant bank LCD screen says that it is 40*F outside.

You want to ride.

Today is that day – You get off work and start calculating how much time you have until it gets dark. You know that you just finished putting on new cables, housing, and bar tape and want to try out the shifting on the road. You’re tired of your trainer, and the treadmill feels like a jail cell with a belt underneath you.

Time to ride. (more…)

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Today’s post is an interview with a LBS in Buckhannon, WV: Fat Tire Cycle with owner Gene Wells.

Gene Wells is well… a swell guy (see what I did there?) He is active in many aspects of his community as a business person should, but you can also tell he cares about everything he does. He can also kick most of the people in town’s butt in speed and distance on a bike, yet he chooses not to. (sometimes!)

(I’ll let you know before this interview gets through that he is my main mechanic, I was sponsored by him during my tenure as President of the Cycling Club/Team at West Virginia Wesleyan College with the standard collegiate store discount. I have also purchased a pretty sweet rig from him, my ’09 Gary Fisher Cobia. All in all, we have a pretty good relationship by means of business and also friendship.)


With that out-of-the-way, let’s get to the Q&A!

1.) First of all, tell us about your history, how did you get into cycling?

Well, I got into cycling in 1972. I was doing a lot of cross-country racing, and touring in the area around Pleasantville, Pennsylvania. I remember getting my first road bike in that town in 1973. (more…)

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While Route 33 itself is not a road that is the best for cycling, it is like a vein home for so many road and mountain rides as a way to get home.

Here’s what Wikipedia says about Rt33 as it pertains to WV:

US 33 extends 248 miles (399 km) in West Virginia from the Ohio River to the Virginia state line. Shortly after entering West Virginia, US 33 intersects with I-77.

After passing through the town of Ripley, WV, US 33 joins US 119 at Spencer, WV. The road then passes through rural areas of Roane, Calhoun, Gilmer, and Lewis counties.

US 33 Intersects Interstate 79 at Weston, WV. US 33 from Interstate 79 east is 4 lane, built to Appalachian Development Highway System and is part of Corridor H. The 4 lane continues on through rural areas of Upshur, Barbour, and Randolph counties.

At Harding, WV, US 250 joins US 33 for several miles. At Elkins, WV US 33 joins SR 55, and returns to a 2 lane road, except for a seven mile (11 km) section of 4 lane across Kelly Mountain between Canfield, WV and Bowden, WV. US 33 joins SR 28 at Seneca Rocks, WV, and continues through rural areas of Pendleton County, WV.

US 220 joins US 33 for a brief time through the town of Franklin, WV. The road continues on into the mountains where it crosses the state line into Rockingham County, VA.

Off the top of my head, I can think of five to ten routes that end up taking me home via this freeway with signs all over the place showing that it is a registered and dedicated bicycle path. Some may say that it is dangerous, but a two lane road with a six-foot (or wider) shoulder to ride on keeps me feeling pretty secure. The stretch of road that I am usually on is about 41 miles long, or 1/6th of its entire WV length. This span is from Weston to Elkins and goes right by my home of Buckhannon. Every once in a while I use it to test new bikes, or TT equipment for reviewing, or to climb the nasty Buckhannon Mountain.

(more…)

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