We've been busy in Frugaldom, so I thought I'd best update you with progress before autumn fades into winter. We've been painting the barn and my old bike succumbed to chronic lameness under the strain of work. If it was a horse, it would have been retired or, worse still, shot!

Painting the barn

With the onset of winter fast approaching, the decision was taken to try and get the barn painted to give it some extra protection. I found a really good deal online for a Ronseal wood treatment that's both animal and plant friendly, plus it had 25% extra free, so I ordered it through my favourite cash back site and had 60 litres of the stuff delivered to the house. As you may know, Thrift Cottage is about 16 miles from Frugaldom HQ, so this meant moving the buckets of paint one by one on the back of the bikes.

As luck would have it, we got the first 2 tubs over to HQ and then my bike took a knock when I hit a pot hole going off the edge of the single track lane to allow a van to pass. And there is where my dilemma began. The bike was bought second hand in 2011 and originally cost me £40. Iy has probably done over 1,000 miles just in this past year alone carrying all sorts of groceries, logs, paint, camping equipment and me!

My old bike

Cycling home was very difficult as the back brake kept sticking on every turn of the wheel. Until this point, I had no idea how important the wheel spokes were, so spotting that one had broken didn't register as being of major importance to me. We live and we learn. Apparently, the tension in the spokes of a bicycle wheel are what keep it turning around in true circles so if even one of them breaks, the wheel is no longer symmetrically round and runs off balance. A the age of 50, I only found this fact out last week!

Research into fixing it began and that threw up even more conundrums, as the tyres are needing replaced and all the other spokes are looking potentially past their best, so a quick fix would be nothing more than a temporary fix and I don't have the right tools to remove the back wheel gear cogs (or whatever they are called). What a conundrum!

To Buy, or not to buy, that is the question!
Whether 'tis nobler in the mind to suffer
The expense of an outrageous fortune,
Or to recycle the cycle of troubles
And by so-doing, mend them.

I spoke to our nearest bike shop - I'd be looking at the best part of £100 for call out, parts and all the repairs needed.

I asked everyone I know if I could borrow or rehome their unused bikes - several offers arrived, but without transport I had no way of going to collect them and then there were still the repairs to do on them to get them roadworthy. They range from 3 or 4 years to 15 years of sitting in sheds, garages and out-houses without being used. I will happily rehome all these bikes, as there is always someone around who appreciates the use of one - once they are here and fixed - but my problem needs resolving now - I need transport, no matter how rough and ready, now.

Half price bike!

Some in-depth research and many questions asked - then I spotted the half price offer from Dunlop. The name possibly isn't the first to spring to mind as far as bikes are concerned but for tyres, (and even rubber riding boots,) the name is very well known. I don't reckon they would put their name on a pink bike if it was going to fall to pieces within a few weeks, do you?

Cash back options

In true Frugaldom spirit, the research began again - looking for the best cash back opportunities. Sports Direct looked like a great option but I also had vouchers for Amazon, where Sports Direct also has an online store. So... 5.05% cash back added to the 1% cash back I should receive from my credit card company, less my voucher balance amounted to the best deal possible to resolve this emergency. I know several people will be shocked at my apparently rash decision to replace my old bike with a brand new one, but all the parts on my old bike, like pannier rack, mud guards, lights, bicycle pump, gel pad and odometer should transfer easily, as the wheel sizes are the same. And I already have an idea for how to recycle the old one!

Costs

Naturally, the new Dunlop bike won't exactly be what a pro cyclist would choose, nor am I expecting it to last me for decades, but would the Specialized S-Works Stumpjumper 2015 Mountain Bike at a cool £7,500 really be what someone like me might use to cart paint along a bumpy road to a barn in a field? I really think not. Besides, they don't even offer the Stumpjumper in pink!

This is my new baby and she's good enough for me. At the equivalent price of 2 taxi rides to HQ and back, I really can't complain at such a "huge" outlay and I'm sure she will be able to jump a few wee logs and stumps along the way as the project develops.

Pretty pink mountian bike

Soon, I will be in the pink, sitting pretty on pink! I may even paint my nails the same colour! :)

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