28 Feb 2012

Heavens Cycles Olympic Bonanzza!

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Oh dear. It has been a long winter.

At long last Heavens’ has a new stock of bicycles, though of course with Heavens ‘new’ is a very relative term . As always the bikes have come from Holland and Belgium but this time from a bunch of new sources, as Johnny explores the hinterland of secondhand bike buying on the continent in winter.

Europe-wide austerity measures have seen Heavens embrace the joys of the Belgian lay-by overnight, truly not a place for the feint-hearted. And of reheating spaghetti bolognese in the back of a leaky trailer.

Our man Johann, who usually supplies most of our glorious stock, is very much a fair weather salesman. He is the ultimate purveyor of excellent Dutch bikes but tends to head off to Egypt this time of year to spend your hard-earned cash.

Whether he is there this year remains to be seen.

But either way we have had to look elsewhere for bikes until the Spring at least, and as such Johnny has had quite a road trip.

Our research methods must unfortunately remain a mystery to you. However I can reveal that destinations have included Groeningen, Amsterdam and Nijmegen; and that he was nearly arrested in the last here, as the police were rightly alerted to the sight of a tired and haggard man stuffing yet another old bike into the back of a Japanese-registered utility vehicle.

We bought a Toyota Hilux Surf 2.4TD in late summer. This car has been a constant source of both amusement and horror. Purchased for £1000 it looks like quite a vehicle for the money, and it is. It’s been on jollys to the Lake District and the Peak and now Holland; and it is slow but intimidating, much like Johnny himself.

And John in particular has employed a typical Heaven’s spirit in making the damn thing work long-term. It emerges that these engines are remarkably tractable if you own little more that an advanced bicycle tool-kit, doggedness and a whole lot of patience. And are willing to work on the engine Christmas day, with your dad.

And the engine runs on reconditioned chip fat! Or at least a combination or chip-fat and diesel. This is perhaps the greatest revelation about our car.

As to the bikes, pictures will follow. But there is the typical crop of Gazelle, Batavus and Locomotief. Even the dreaded Peugeot (unsmiley face).

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