Our third story apartment comes with beautiful view of canals and cobbles, quintessential Amsterdam through the window. Sadly for two bike folk, it comes without a balcony, garage, or shed. Luckily, we both take a somewhat lex approach to the more traditional values of interior aesthetics and hygiene, and keep our bikes inside. In the living room to be precise. Tucked behind the curtains, half hidden, and poking out like a pair of guilty felines. Due to this set-up, all cleaning and simple maintenance issues are resolved on the kitchen floor. The grand departure for our summer adventure is just over a week away, so it was time to check the machines are well oiled, tick over nicely, and see that all their functions and fully functioning.
Despite what that previous sentence tells about my level of mechanical understanding, the space was cleared, and bicycle number one lay flat on the physios couch/kitchen floor. Our modest collection of tools, spare parts, manuals, and lubricating and cleaning liquids lined up within an arms reach. Spotify was ordered to churn out a 70's rock playlist, and the speakers cranked up a notch. I stopped short of removing my shirt and donning a bandana.
All systems go.
It was at that point that we agreed it would be far better, easier, more reliable, and needlessly expensive to simply take the bikes to the local bike shop, and have them serviced there.
In what became a win-win situation, this enabled any maintenance to be carried out by enthusiastic professionals, and enabled us to continue our good work in scouring the internet for funny UK place names, local and unique snacks and drinks, and track down friends and family who may be living en-route.
T-9 days till departure.