I’m leaving tomorrow for Mallorca, or Disneybicycleland as I like to call it. Last year I went with the bike rental thing. It was fine, especially watching everyone have to lug bike carriers, assemble, disassemble, break things, curse, throw shit, and realize that they’d brought everything except the double reverse half-spline Campy BB off-centering tool, and the only one available on the island cost $850. Euros.
The rental bike was fine. It really was. The tires were shitty, though. And it had been rode hard and put away wet. Except the chain, which had been put away dry.
It descended okay and passed the only test that mattered, which was beating Oatmeal and Twigmeal on the big climb that one day.
But this year I knew that Oatmeal and Twigmeal would be riding bigger miles, faster miles, uphillier miles, and they would be thirsting for revenge so I decided that this year I’d take my own Cannodale EVO Super Six Extra Plus Carbon a-la-carbone Elektroshift SRAM full carbon FastForward F-4 100% carbon wheels and new tires and clean chain and of course my boss South Bay Cycling handlebar tape.
I was going to need every advantage I could get to avoid being skinned alive by Oatmeal and Twigmeal, the avenging Norwegian norsemen from Norselandia who hated Karl Ove Knausgaard.
But first I needed a bike carrier. The Internet shattered my budget of $40 after a few hours of scouring, so I went to the next best thing, Boozy P., ace mechanic and hops specialist.
“Hey, Boozy, how can I ship my bike to Mallorca on the cheap?”
“That’s easy. We’ll use a bike box.”
“Like one of those things they have at the bike shop?”
“Do they work? Won’t my bike get crushed?”
“Wanky, bike companies ship eleventy hundred thousand bikes a day in those things. You’ll be fine.”
“What’ll it run me?”
“The box, tape, zip ties, hub protectors, and Boozy P. Bike Boxing Special is only available today at the low, low, low price of $40.”
“Done,” I said.
Boozy P. packed up the bike just fine, although he had to take out my water bottle and tool bottle for a couple of minutes. “There’s just one thing to look out for when you pack it for the return trip,” he said.
“Don’t forget the pedals or the saddle. People always forget stuff when they box a bike, and wind up at their destination missing something really important.”
“Yes, sir,” I said.
I got home and called Boozy. “Hey, I can’t find my toolkit and water bottle.”
“Oh, yeah, I forgot to put them back on the bike. I’ll leave them outside for ya. Lucky you’re not in Mallorca.”
Next, as part of my careful planning, I checked the KLM web site to find out how much they were going to gouge me for the bike box. My daughter had told me to get that squared away weeks ago, but I was busy with Telo.
The web site, obviously mistaken, said that “No sports equipment, including bicycles, shall be accepted as baggage on the day of departure. All such specialized baggage must be checked, priced, and cleared at least 48 hours prior to departure. No exceptions.”
I was pretty sure they were bluffing, so I tweeted them a message after wiping up the rivers of sweat coursing down my forehead. They responded, saying that my request had been received and my online booking would be updated.
When the update failed either up or to date, I called the service center. Amir the customer service specialist was having a bad week and I was apparently the exclamation to his curse-filled day. “Your trip has not been updated because it cannot be done. No bicycles except with 48 hours prior clearance. No exceptions. So please do not go to the trouble to pack your bicycle and bring it to the check-in counter, as it will be refused. No exceptions. I will also enter into your trip record the details of this conversation in which I explicitly told you no bicycle.”
So it was looking like Plan B, which was mostly identical to Plan A, that is, show up with the bike and dare them to turn me away.
In the meantime, as a bit of insurance, I got online to find out about booking a bike rental in Mallorca. What could be easier than renting a bike in Disneybicycleland?
Then I remembered that last year I’d had to book six months in advance. Surely things had improved since then.
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