TLDR – Bought a new bike – Cube Acid Ebike with Bosch drive system. It’s pretty amazing, going to make the 15k commute to work more enjoyable.
Bike to Work Scheme
Shortly after Oracle offered me the new job I bought a used bike knowing I would end up commuting to Oracle on a bike. Riding the bike home from buying it up many hills about killed me. I’ve been running 3-8k on work days for a number of years now and figured a bike would not be too bad. Boy howdy was I wrong; hills hurt! Between then and starting I went on a few bike rides trying to get psyched up for the big commute to work. First few rides home from work, after a full day of brain drain about, killed me – this is not going to work for me it’s taking me a week to recover riding the scooter the last few K’s from the LUAS on none bike days.
Enter the idea of an electric bike because we live in the future. Oracle participates in the Irish Bike to Work Scheme. Which gives you 1000€ tax-free to spend towards a bike. The company fronts the money, and bills you 12 easy payments over the course of a year. My effective tax rate is about 42% – 1000€ tax-free saves me about 420€ and comes as an interest-free loan. Not a bad deal when I was looking to spend more on a bike then I spent on handfuls of cars over my teens and twenties (1800€).
The Cube Bike from Fitzcycles
After loads of research and shopping online, I settled on a Cube Acid hybrid bike with Bosch hybrid ebike system. They come in red and flat black, of course, I went with the flat black version. Bike to work has a number of local bike retailers on their massive list of retailers who support the program. I picked Fitz cycles down the hill from us in Stillorgan. It was one of the first bike shops we went into when we moved to Ireland. The bike shop is in a restored church. We first went in because the building looked interesting.
As I was researching bikes, and bike shops Fitz kept coming up as a top bike shop plus they carried the model of bike I was after, plus plus, I remembered the building being amazing. Bike shop picked, and paperwork filled out, Mila and I rode down to the shop on our scooters one-day last month. We stopped at a park on the way for some play then carried on to the shop.
After discussing the bike they had me take it for a test ride up the hill. WOW, tremendous, amazing, shocking, words and more words – From the bike shop uphill is a decent elevation. Riding uphill in nearly the top gear on the bike with full assist it felt like riding downhill. I was sold in the first minute of the test ride. Mila and I put in our order for one black bike, paid the deposit and went home.
I gotta add right as you enter the bike shop is a decent collection of toys that kept Mila entertained the entire time I was chatting with the sales staff. Brilliant shop setup Fritzcycle! Both Mila and Maddex gravitated to the toys and were totally enthralled giving me the freedom to talk with the staff and not have to feel rushed.
Waiting and Stuff
Turning in the paperwork at Oracle the next day, I found out the Bike to work scheme takes applications first week of the month and dishes out money at the end of the month. I’d missed the first week of the month cutoff and would not see my 1000€ for almost 2 months. Being old and stuff I have some patience, but not 2 months worth. It was going to only take a few weeks for the bike to show up at the bike shop. Cube had some backlog and shipping issues, out of control of the bike shop, turning a few weeks into a double few weeks; still less than 2 months.
The bike shop was great letting me know progress on the bike and shipping. Once the bike showed up they built it straight away with our delay. While waiting for the bike I convinced myself than sweet talked Michelle into letting us purchase this bike outright with cash and using the bike to work scheme money to purchase Maddex an electric bike to match mine. Bike shop, being offered a second sale was more than willing to go along with my scheme.
Pick up day
Wednesday I received an email from Fitzcycles letting me know my bike had landed and was being built. They wanted to charge it overnight then it would be ready for pickup Thursday; Giggidy!! Thursday they sent me another email letting me know it was all done. Now all I had to do was wait for work to be over, and for Maddex to get home from school to come with me.
Talking to Maddex about getting the bike a few nights before going we worked out a plan. We’d scooter to the bike shop on one big scooter and the smaller super folding scooter. I’d ride my bike home with the super folder on my back and Maddex would ride the big scooter to Stillorgan LUAS stop, where he and I would split up. He was going to ride the LUAS by himself for his first time ever, and I would race the LUAS on my bike. Maddex was excited to ride the LUAS on his own – and then he said something that was a huge shocker for me.
Maddex seems to be a bit on the Aspergers spectrum lacking in some empathy, not void of it but lacking in it. He said, “Dad how about you take the big scooter because you are bigger and it fits you better, and I will ride the smaller scooter” – That’s what I would have preferred, but thinking Maddex might have objected and not wanting to fight about it, I didn’t even bring it up. The offer is one of the more caring understanding things Maddex has ever done. I’m shocked and in awe over how mature of an offer that was from him- Thank you, Maddex.
Anywho, we stopped at the park on the way, spun a bit, swung some, and ziplined for a bit. After the fun for Maddex part, it was time for the fun for me part. We left the park and road to the bike shop where Chris helped us out. Buying things online is cool and all, but it does not compare to personal service from extremely talented knowledgeable people. Chirs was all of the knowledgeable and helpful and then some. He helped me pick a helmet then we fitted Maddex to the Cube Acid 240 kids hybrid bike he will be getting.
After we’d paid for everything Chris showed us how to operate the bike, gave us some hits on maintenance, and invited us back for a free checkup in a few months. Then we were out the door on our way. Of course Maddex picked Mcdonalds for dinner, ugg. Come on kid there are some nice Thai or burger or noodle places here. Oh well happy kid, happy days. We stopped, had some Mcdonalds then headed up the hill towards the LUAS
I waited for the LUAS to pull into the station and watched Maddex get on before leaving. He did not see me waiting, but I did. Then I took off towards Glen Carin LUAS stop. Maddex and I agreed whoever arrived first would wait for the other at the stop. Thanks, EU Laws, the bike power assist drops off significantly after you break 25kph. Feeling like Superman I was rolling about 30kph all the way to the LUAS stop. Maddex and I pulled in at about the same time then we rode home. Together. He was doing a good 24kph downhill from the LUAS stop most of the way home.
Special thanks to all the staff at Fitzcycles for all of the assistance and knowledge share. You’ve won me over as customer and advocate. With four kids we’ll be back for more don’t you worry.
Few more pictures of the bike