Be these monks, or Keepers?

Guest Article- When Is a Sticker Not a Sticker?

by / / 54 posts

We are presently in the calm eye of the Spring Classics typhoon. Last weekend the Ronde blew through leaving more questions than answers and now this Sunday, blowing in the opposite French direction with just as much power, Paris-Roubaix. Between storms let us gather our inner cyclist and meditate upon our ancient scrolls of The Rules. These scrolls were found deep in a pain cave, above the River Merckx, by, wait for it, a shepherd, no, a peripatetic innertube repair person.

@Blacktoolpower asks for enlightenment on a question as old as the bike itself.  

FFS, Gianni

Every code, every philosophy, has its wrinkles; little contradictions and ambiguities that need solving, fudging, or avoiding with fancy logical footwork.

When The Keepers sit in their robes in the Velominati Star Chamber (they do that, right?) debating whether a ristretto coffee is allowed under Rule #56 or if listening to The Cycling Podcast with one earphone on a long steady ride round the park really contravenes Rule #62, they’re enacting cycling’s equivalent of the great debate in The Name of the Rose. That was the Dominicans versus the Franciscans on the motion “Did Christ, or did He not, own the clothes that He wore?” (translation: who’s more holy, the fatcats or the hobos? You don’t need a vatican tour to figure out who won). These small questions have far reaching implications.

So, here’s one for the Keepers: does appropriate support for my Local Bike Shop (Rule #58) allow me to contravene its adjacent Rule (#57 – No Stickers)?

The first time I had my beautiful titanium Enigma serviced by the always reliable, always friendly London Cycle Workshop, they put a cheeky green sticker on the down tube, saying “maintained with LCW”. Did I ask them to do it? No. Did the green match anything on my … excuse me titanium coloured bike? No. I took it off.

But when I returned a few weeks afterwards, to get my bike in top condition for the Dragon Ride – a hideously long cyclosportive in Wales – they checked everything, tightened some bearings, tuned the mech, pronounced it perfect … and didn’t charge me a penny.

I didn’t take off the sticker that time. Partly out of gratitude, partly because that “with” in the sticker’s wording (rather than “by”) struck me as appropriately respectful.

A bike shop that checks your machine for free and does other generous things like taking the time to explain the thread-count on Vittoria Open Corsas without ever trying to sell them to you and giving you maintenance tips that will result in less income for them … is a noble and life-affirming institution and worth bending a rule for, no?

I await the verdict …

// Guest Article // The Rules

  1. @Ccos

    Ah, that … would be an ecumenical matter, as Father Ted would say.




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  2. Heretic! Ye shall burn in the firey pit for such a transgression, for on the 57th day during a particularly juicy climb in the Pyrenees the Cogfather spake thussly…

    Oh wait, was it a decal or a sticker that was applied to your frame? How do you know the difference? A decal is generally small, durable, and tastefully designed – thus appealing to the Velominatus – whereas a sticker is tacky, both in design and method of adhesion, and usually winds up looking like shit after anything closely resembling a #9 ride – thus detracting from the aesthetic of the bike and therefore loathsome to the Velominatus.




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  3. Correct. The as the song goes, “I got no stickers on my frame. Strickly decals–they’re not the same!”




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  4. Strictly*




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  5. There can be no straightforward answer to your question. It is, as you point out, an Enigma.




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  6. It is a decal. So no breach of the rules, no preaching and no need to attend confession




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  7. @blackpooltower

    @Ccos

    Ah, that … would be an ecumenical matter, as Father Ted would say.

    If the +1 award was up to me, it would be yours for slipping “that would be an ecumenical matter” into your post. LOVE Father Ted.




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  8. Remove the offending adornment immediately. For penance perform 6 reps up the Die Oude Kwaremont on the big chainring and in the wet. Shame on you.




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  9. I have a shop sticker on my Felt that frankly i’m not sure I can get off…. I tried, and the pick marks are surely evident whenever I leave it there which is rarely. I am sad about the pick marks now because they are great, but it’s a weird relationship.

    Take bike in to have steerer cut, get free full tuneup including removal of dork disc behind freewheel. WIN.
    Steerer is not cut as much as I requested because mechanic says he “doesn’t believe in” slamming stems. LOSE.

    Bring bike back with stem flipped to negative rise and same effective height, no comments. Detente achieved?

    Show up with a spoke completely loose (but the nipple still in the rim, how in the heck? Get sent home with a nice wheel with bladed spokes WIN
    Get “son”ned on checking spoke tension every ride… I probably deserved that

    Bring them beer at new year’s, get free gels and a bottle WIN
    Get told “just go ahead and buy that online, we make like 4 dollars on that and it wouldn’t be here for a week anyway” WIN




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  10. No, get rid of it. My LBS does same, but not on my bike. In the end, these stickers are great, but small and I reckon pretty limited in their advertising potential. You telling your friends about them is far better. If you want to reward them for their service by giving some advertising space away, buy a shop jersey (assuming it is suitable attractive). The logo on that will be far more effective and you can sleep better at night not trying to convince yourself that it’s a decal, not a sticker.




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  11. I think an appropriate shop decal is totes fine, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    (This is a large size one on my own bike – for clients I apply a more discreetly sized one…)




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  12. Also, I am a shocker for chucking on random extraneous decals anyway…




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  13. @Oli

    Well played sir… well played.




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  14. I think they should ask first. I often ride in LBS gear, and send plenty of recommendations their way, and we have a great relationship.




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  15. I like to think that decals denote some sort of sponsorship. And those euros can decal the bejesus out of a bike on the pro scene.

    The LBS, in providing you a free service, are effectively sponsoring your rides and as such it is not a sticker they apply but a decal to show their sponsorship of your steed. It is beholden on them to follow the rules, so that there decals maintain the style your Enigma deserves




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  16. @gilly

    Ha! Christ knows why I didn’t deploy that quote in the original post, since I say it practically daily …




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  17. To blag a quote from another great man………..

    I cannot forecast to you the action of The Keepers. It is a riddle wrapped in a mystery inside an enigma; but perhaps there is a key. That key is Velominati interest. It must be in accordance with the interpretation of the teachings of Merckx.




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  18. That little shop looks rather fantastic…if only I could find one around here like that! Looking at the photo they’ve put up of the offending item, I can’t see it being too much of an issue!




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  19. @piwakawaka

    I think they should ask first. I often ride in LBS gear, and send plenty of recommendations their way, and we have a great relationship.

    If I forget to put one on I often get hassled about it, although I do note they get pulled off on occasion which worries me not a jot.




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  20. @Oli

    I think an appropriate shop decal is totes fine, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    (This is a large size one on my own bike – for clients I apply a more discreetly sized one…)

    True there Oli, but your decals are pretty sweet looking. Not always the case. . .




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  21. Funny timing on this. I was having this conversation with the Keeper very recently.




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  22. I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..




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  23. I’m staying out of this weighty debate but the lead image of (L to R) the Fronkster, Bretto and Gianni in Franks basement answers a lot of questions about how the decision making by the Keepers is arrived at. Or is the image of them post Kwaremont ride in the Gîte, they do look a little toasted?




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  24. @Rob

    I’m staying out of this weighty debate but the lead image of (L to R) the Fronkster, Bretto and Gianni in Franks basement answers a lot of questions about how the decision making by the Keepers is arrived at. Or is the image of them post Kwaremont ride in the Gîte, they do look a little toasted?

    Heeeheheee




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  25. @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    As long as we’re talking about a minimalist decal then I’m with you. Not that my bikes have any.

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.




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  26. @Oli

    I think an appropriate shop decal is totes fine, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    (This is a large size one on my own bike – for clients I apply a more discreetly sized one…)

    As the owner of two bikes which have been well fettled by @Oli I am unconcerned by his application of stickers such as these. Although for reasons known only to him only one of the bikes warranted such stickering. Of much greater concern, to me at least, is use of the word, and I can barely bring myself to type it, “totes” in a post. Shocking.




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  27. @osbk67

    @Oli

    I think an appropriate shop decal is totes fine, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    (This is a large size one on my own bike – for clients I apply a more discreetly sized one…)

    As the owner of two bikes which have been well fettled by @Oli I am unconcerned by his application of stickers such as these. Although for reasons known only to him only one of the bikes warranted such stickering. Of much greater concern, to me at least, is use of the word, and I can barely bring myself to type it, “totes” in a post. Shocking.

    I’ve never even heard that word, ever. Shocking indeed. Methyl Ethyl Ketone exposure in the shop, that’s the best we can hope for. He will come around when the fumes wear off.




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  28. Rule #65 is your friend. Keep the sticker on until your next clean your bike (which will be after the first ride after the work done by the shop). It is what they want as well, they wouldn’t want to be associated with a filthy bike.




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  29. @osbk67

    @Oli

    I think an appropriate shop decal is totes fine, but then I would say that, wouldn’t I?

    (This is a large size one on my own bike – for clients I apply a more discreetly sized one…)

    As the owner of two bikes which have been well fettled by @Oli I am unconcerned by his application of stickers such as these. Although for reasons known only to him only one of the bikes warranted such stickering. Of much greater concern, to me at least, is use of the word, and I can barely bring myself to type it, “totes” in a post. Shocking.

    I’m just down with “the kids”, man. I am unsure why I would not have marked your other machine, but I can only assume it was a. an error, or b. that I was temporarily out of stock. I’ll hook a brother up, yo.




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  30. LBS shop stickers are on my bikes! And I’ve placed more than a few of them myself as we finish up a build. Yes, it helps that I happen to like their shop sticker. Actually, some bikes simply look better with stickers on ’em. I have my beater ol’ mtn bike loaded with stickers and it looks great. That’s not an objective opinion of course. I do not know what the difference is between a sticker and a decal.




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  31. @PT

    @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    As long as we’re talking about a minimalist decal then I’m with you. Not that my bikes have any.

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.

    Take them off, I say. That shit is earned. Same with the fools rolling around in full pro kit. They didn’t earn a spot on that team.




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  32. @Owen

    @PT

    @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    As long as we’re talking about a minimalist decal then I’m with you. Not that my bikes have any.

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.

    Take them off, I say. That shit is earned. Same with the fools rolling around in full pro kit. They didn’t earn a spot on that team.

    Luckily (for him), Keeper @Jim has been through this very scenario…

    http://www.velominati.com/the-bikes/a-new-decade/




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  33. Keep them!




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  34. @Mikael Liddy

    @Owen

    @PT

    @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    As long as we’re talking about a minimalist decal then I’m with you. Not that my bikes have any.

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.

    Take them off, I say. That shit is earned. Same with the fools rolling around in full pro kit. They didn’t earn a spot on that team.

    Luckily (for him), Keeper @Jim has been through this very scenario…

    http://www.velominati.com/the-bikes/a-new-decade/

    I suppose that’s a “depends” scenario: if you’re going to ruin paint removing it, then no- but honestly, if I ended up with say, LeMan’s Worlds frame- ya, I’d be keeping that shit.




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  35. @scaler911

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Owen

    @PT

    @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    As long as we’re talking about a minimalist decal then I’m with you. Not that my bikes have any.

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.

    Take them off, I say. That shit is earned. Same with the fools rolling around in full pro kit. They didn’t earn a spot on that team.

    Luckily (for him), Keeper @Jim has been through this very scenario…

    http://www.velominati.com/the-bikes/a-new-decade/

    I suppose that’s a “depends” scenario: if you’re going to ruin paint removing it, then no- but honestly, if I ended up with say, LeMan’s Worlds frame- ya, I’d be keeping that shit.

    Ok, fine. But that’s a display piece, not for riding.




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  36. @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    Exactly.

    Thanks, you saved me from having to type my own comment.




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  37. @PT

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.

    I have a vintage ex-pro/national champ frame. No team stickers left, just the rider’s name under the clear coat. It was put there in The Prophet’s workshop, so it’s meant to be there.




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  38. @Owen

    @scaler911

    @Mikael Liddy

    @Owen

    @PT

    @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    As long as we’re talking about a minimalist decal then I’m with you. Not that my bikes have any.

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.

    Take them off, I say. That shit is earned. Same with the fools rolling around in full pro kit. They didn’t earn a spot on that team.

    Luckily (for him), Keeper @Jim has been through this very scenario…

    http://www.velominati.com/the-bikes/a-new-decade/

    I suppose that’s a “depends” scenario: if you’re going to ruin paint removing it, then no- but honestly, if I ended up with say, LeMan’s Worlds frame- ya, I’d be keeping that shit.

    Ok, fine. But that’s a display piece, not for riding.

    What? All bikes are for riding! If your frame has some history why not celebrate it? I’d love to ride a frame with some provenance, and I’d display it proudly…

    One thing’s for sure, if you pull off the decal and regret it it’s too damn late.




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  39. @Mikael Liddy

    @Owen

    @PT

    @scaler911

    I’m also one of those people that if I buy a car- I have the dealer take of the license plate frame with the dealers name on it, or any decals/ stickers they may put on the trunk. If the dealer wants to knock off $$ for me being a rolling billboard, then sure, I’ll leave it.

    I’m also OK with a sticker that is both ascetically pleasing, and represents a shop that I like. But that’s just me…..

    As long as we’re talking about a minimalist decal then I’m with you. Not that my bikes have any.

    For the Fundamentalists here, what if you bought an ex-pro frame and it still has the riders name or other team stickers on it? Should they be removed as part of its de-commissioning and integration into civilian life? Or are they part of the machine at that point? Guidance is clearly required.

    Take them off, I say. That shit is earned. Same with the fools rolling around in full pro kit. They didn’t earn a spot on that team.

    Luckily (for him), Keeper @Jim has been through this very scenario…

    http://www.velominati.com/the-bikes/a-new-decade/

    Now there’s a funny thing. There were two reasons behind my question;

    1) I nearly bought Sep Vanmarcke’s Cervelo S5 (or was it the S3) from the Slipstream (ie Garmin) site a few years ago. They always had team bikes for sale there and some still had names on them. I wondered if I would take his sticker off or not.

    2) The same Felt team edition which is in Jim’s article there from a few years ago is sitting in my loungeroom right now. Its not mine and it doesn’t have anyone’s name on it but it does have a plate outlining its team credentials. Is it authentic or a team issue shop bike? I don’t know and my friend who rides it probably doesn’t either as he didn’t buy it. Long story…however its probably the only bike I can recall which has a full Ultegra group-san except for the shifters which are 105. Now I know that a true race bike would probably use Dura-Ace but seeing those 105 shifters got me thinking that perhaps its training bike with an odds & sods groupset just to get around on.

    Nevertheless, I was looking at it when I decided to pose the question. Funny how things work out.




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  40. I have a cat named Hobo. No, not a non sequitur, but a check to see if people are reading the article…

    I LOVE sending my LBS business, have sent around five people there recently. I’m happy to support them, as they really, really fucking get it. I’ve never had an LBS that does. They charge me when they should, sometimes don’t charge me when they should, and are always willing to do a little tuning/suggestion making for free when they’re not busy. I bring them Recovery Drinks often and also leave tips in the jar.

    Oh, and I think a sticker is far less of an offense than a podcast on the road…




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  41. @Ron

    I have a cat named Hobo. No, not a non sequitur, but a check to see if people are reading the article…

    I LOVE sending my LBS business, have sent around five people there recently. I’m happy to support them, as they really, really fucking get it. I’ve never had an LBS that does. They charge me when they should, sometimes don’t charge me when they should, and are always willing to do a little tuning/suggestion making for free when they’re not busy. I bring them Recovery Drinks often and also leave tips in the jar.

    Oh, and I think a sticker is far less of an offense than a podcast on the road…

    I have a similar relationship with my Saab mechanic. Not quite there with the LBS but not far off. Its a great place to be if you’re there – cherish it.




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  42. I have never owned a car and I’m too scared to get one, since I just feel like I finally know enough about all the bikes I own. If something goes wrong on a car, I have no idea. My father is a mechanical engineer and has been fixing cars since he was a kid, I’ve long wanted to take a summer off and just learn how to fix cars, lawnmowers, chainsaws, snowblowers, etc.

    Yes, I do indeed appreciate my LBS. I know many folks don’t have the benefits of one and I’ve lived with less stellar ones in the past.




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  43. @pt

    If you’re rolling in a Saab then you need a good mechanic (or at least one that can get you the parts). Would have loved one of these.




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  44. I have a 9-3 aero and yep I’ve had to fix it a few times, but as it is used to ferry my bike around I cant get ride of it.

    I don’t get people who hang their bike on the outside of there car.




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  45. @del

    I have a 9-3 aero and yep I’ve had to fix it a few times, but as it is used to ferry my bike around I cant get ride of it.

    I don’t get people who hang their bike on the outside of there car.

    and that would be precisely why my minivan with 140+k miles on it is getting a second transmission right now. And after spending the last week removing wheels and placing bikes in back seat and trunk of my sedan I can’t wait to get the van back. It has one purpose, and it is very, very good at that: to haul bikes inside the vehicle.




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  46. @DeKerr

    @pt

    If you’re rolling in a Saab then you need a good mechanic (or at least one that can get you the parts). Would have loved one of these.

    I’ve driven a few Viggen’s as well as some other hot Saabs. Fun. Very cheap and practical to own now. Huge bootspace thanks to the hatchback. My current is pretty standard (ok it has a stage one Maptun ECU upgrade…) and does a great job as a workhorse which is very fun to drive. Being a wagon, a bike can easily go inside or on top. As far as parts etc; well its not as economical as Japanese car (or as my RenaultSport Megane was) but its much, much better than some other European cars I’ve owned. Sadly the company is no more – parts are still available though.




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  47. Wait a minute… When did this become a car repair blog. Thought I typed the address correctly. Now, to find the velominati site again…




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  48. @therealpeel

    Wait a minute… When did this become a car repair blog. Thought I typed the address correctly. Now, to find the velominati site again…

    There’s no harm in discussing car maintenance on here. Surely a true velominatus, or certainly a true velominatus budgetatus, would rather do his own motor maintenance (within reason and respecting his limitations of course) and spend the resultant savings on shiny things of a cycling nature?




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  49. @Chris

    @therealpeel

    Wait a minute… When did this become a car repair blog. Thought I typed the address correctly. Now, to find the velominati site again…

    There’s no harm in discussing car maintenance on here. Surely a true velominatus, or certainly a true velominatus budgetatus, would rather do his own motor maintenance (within reason and respecting his limitations of course) and spend the resultant savings on shiny things of a cycling nature?

    Maybe, but then again taking the time to fix the car is time spent not riding or doing the other things that prevent one from riding. All the baubles mean naught when of they remain unused.




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  50. @therealpeel

    @Chris

    @therealpeel

    Wait a minute… When did this become a car repair blog. Thought I typed the address correctly. Now, to find the velominati site again…

    There’s no harm in discussing car maintenance on here. Surely a true velominatus, or certainly a true velominatus budgetatus, would rather do his own motor maintenance (within reason and respecting his limitations of course) and spend the resultant savings on shiny things of a cycling nature?

    Maybe, but then again taking the time to fix the car is time spent not riding or doing the other things that prevent one from riding. All the baubles mean naught when of they remain unused.

    My point is that a good mechanic for a car is not unlike a good one for a bike. They keep you moving and minimise the need for unfortunate domestic repair situations. I do no car maintenance myself because I have a great mechanic. My bike situation is almost but not quite as good. That’s all.




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