Sunday, 3 October 2010

Cheapskate

I'm quite upfront about this - I don't like paying for things when I don't absolutely need to, and when I do pay I prefer to get absolute value for money. That doesn't necessarily mean buying the cheapest item (although I often do) but rather buying the item that I believe to offer the best value for money.

At the start of last winter I bought a pair of skiing gloves off Ebay. I figured that as they were advertised as a) waterproof and b) rated to -20 degrees Celsius they should keep my hands quite warm on the bike. In truth they were warm, but not waterproof at all. A quick examination revealed they were letting water in on the seams, so I used contact adhesive to seal the seams. That worked, and the gloves kept my hands warm & dry, but I was NOT impressed with the quality, and the fact that I had to modify them.

In preparation for this winter, I needed to get some new gloves, so I started slowly looking around. As luck would have it, Aldi was running a special offer on various cycling-related products, including winter gloves. I bought a pair, and although I can say they're comfortable, we haven't yet had the kind of weather needed to properly test them out. Once I've properly tested them I'll report back.

Surprisingly, Lidl also ran a special offer on cycling kit, including an awesome set of panniers. Having acquired a set of panniers (they were priced at £14-99, in case you were wondering) I was surprised to find left and right panniers, as well as a top bag, and finally a rain cover for it all.

The rain cover made me worry about the water-resistance of the panniers. As luck would have it we had some heavy-ish rain predicted, so I left the two empty panniers on my bike, out in the rain. It rained on and off for two days, including once when it absolutely heaved down for about an hour.

I was seriously chuffed when I opened the panniers to find only very minor condensation inside the lids. Other than that the panniers were dry!

Now I'm not getting excited here. After all, leaving empty panniers on a stationary bike out in the garden is not the same as having the heavens open up while you're struggling up a steep hill with laden panniers. Even so, at least it is a good indication that my new panniers may well be pretty good.

I'll write a new post after winter, by when the panniers should have been properly tested.