The Good, The Bad and The Ugly

Since we left England on 1st April 2010 we have had many adventures, some good, some great and some really really shit!!

Before we left home we both valued Customer Service, having both worked in Customer facing roles for many years. On the road a little bit of kindness has become so much more important and people going the extra mile (or kilometre!) sometimes makes the difference between moving on or having to stay put in some strange place miles from civilisation!

The following people have either been there for us and ‘gone the extra mile’ OR have failed us for one reason or another!


Sanderson CyclesHow can we ever thank Tony, Melody and Jack for their help and support these last couple of years. Not only have they have provided us with custom Sanderson Frames, Schwalbe tyres and YBN Chains but they are also looking after our old car while we are away. Extra thanks to Tony for helping to get ‘Sally II’ back on the road again after her accident.

On Your Bike – Leah, Mish and Rob did a fantastic job in helping get ”Sally II” back on the road after Dee’s accident in Laos.

St John St Cycles – Dave did a great job sending us stuff in a hurry to both Istanbul and Dushanbe!!!!

Xtracycle – These guys were fab, they shipped out Big Boy’s extension in 4 days from the USA to Tajikistan – Thanks Guys! They also offered to get some bits shipped direct from Taiwan when some parts got sent via the wrong courier service. 10/10

Ison Distribution – In Thailand we found out that both our rear rims were starting to split. When I contacted Ison their MD Lloyd did everything possible to get our problem rectified. He arranged for replacement rims to be shipped to a bike shop in Georgetown, Malaysia directly from the factory in Taiwan, and even offered to cover the cost of rebuilding the wheels. Once again superb Customer Service, Thanks Guys 10/10

Select Solar – Thanks for all your help in ‘selecting’ our panel, it is perfect sitting on top of the trailer and charging all the batteries for Rog’s gadgets! ……… except the trailer is no more!!! I am looking at mounting the panel on the back of the Xtracycle ….. more news soon!!


Burley Trailers – Having sold Burley trailers for many years at Bigfoot and seen many others they were the obvious choice for the trip. We had the 2009 model that used a round towing arm attached to the frame with composite fittings; since replaced by a square arm attached with metal fittings! The first problem we had with the trailers was one of the side panels was made wrong! After much sillyness on Burley’s part – we told them 6 weeks before we left and only got a working trailer 3 days before the off!! They had lost our details, sent a replacement part that was faulty, shipped from the USA by the slowest service …. and so it went on. I had a niggling worry in my mind about the durablity of our towing arm vs the new arm and spoke to Burley’s tech guys …. they assured me that my arms would be up to the job and not to worry …….. And we broke an arm!! I have no idea if the new arms are stronger ….. but they look stronger!

PLEASE NOTE – We broke the arm because we overloaded the trailer NOT due to a fault.

Would I recomend the Burley Nomad – YES and NO!! I would like to try the new model with the load we were carrying, a trailer is much better at carrying kit than a rack and panniers. A trailer is very tempting for kids in some countries to hitch a ride, not so good if the trailer is already near the weight limit!!

Surly Bikes – Oh I so wanted to put Surly in the GOOD section but sorry guys you are here. Surly make some great stuff and we LOVE the products. I want a Big Dummy frame when we get home! We had Surly 1×1 front forks on both bikes (Sally II now has a Salsa) and loved them. We had Surly Nice racks on Sally. Then when the fork and racks got ruined in the accident I tried to replace them. The UK importers for Surly (ISON Distribution) did not have stock so I contacted Eric Sovern at Surly, he gave me details of the Thai and Australian importers, both ignored my e-mail, I went back to Eric and …… I’m still waiting for a reply! Eric’s first e-mail said “”If you can’t find help there let us know and we’ll see what we can do. We don’t ship out anything directly, but we can certainly help facilitate“” their Warranty says “”If you destroy something, fess up , and maybe we can help you with some replacement parts to keep you riding“”

Well Hello Eric, we destroyed our 1×1 fork and a front and rear Nice rack. We were happy to buy replacements but you couln’t be bothered to ship to us in Laos!

Would I recomend Surly – YES and NO!! Good products – Sh*t service

FedEx and Parcel2go – Both companies offered a great service and then failed to deliver and hid under their T&Cs. Crap product and service. Fedex ignored all e-mails or said “”not my department”” took over 2 weeks to deliver a 3 day service!!!!

Ergon Grips – Nice grips but the gel pads have melted on both our pairs. Ergon admit the gel melts in the heat and confirm that the new grips have a different gel …. BUT THEY WILL NOT REPLACE OUR FAULTY GRIPS. I am just passed from distributor to distributor. NOT GOOD SERVICE 1/10

6/10/11 UPDATE on ERGON GRIPS :- after 20 emails back and forth, the Germans passing me to the Brits and the Brits telling me to return the grips to Bigfoot Bikes ……… I found the name of the CEO in Germany …. forwarded my e-mail chain … new grips are on their way … Will keep you updated!!!

19/10/11 Collected new grips from a bike shop in KL, Ergon agreed to give us the new cork version …. but then decided they could not afford to post them here!!! BOTTOM LINE is they have replaced the grips FOC!!

Tatonka – We had a problem with our Tatonka tent after the first few nights in it. Their support has been very very poor and to cut a long story short, it took an e-mail to the CEO before anything happened ….. but too little too late and we threw it away after only about 40 nights use! Bad service from Tatonka who also make Teva Shoes.


Other Great People We Like

Howe Farm – Lisa & Michael run one of the best B&Bs in the UK. Great for cyclists, walkers and everyone who appreciates the Lakes. The ‘Lakeland Porridge’ is the best breakfast ever!!

Barkers of Ringwood – Steve @ Barkers is THE place to go if you want some walking boots. Customer Service like theirs is so hard to find in this modern internet world.

Pedal Nation – Our good friend Nick Mitchell is based in Sheffield. we can’t wait to get back to the UK and join him on some of his tours! Beware of going out for a beer with Nick the night before a ride!!

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