Blovember #13 – Rollers, Google, Death

I have a very, very, nice bike from @SpinBling. However, I can’t afford to follow Rule #12 so that, coupled with the crappy salty roads, cold temperatures and the steady thrum of rain on the Velux in my office caused my mind to turn towards indoor training aids. Sod Rule #9. I hate turbo-trainers as they are just so so dull. On the other hand, rollers look far more interesting and involving.

When I shared this thought with my go to geeky cycling buds (Dave Newton and my darling brother Chris)  it was met variously with a “Just don’t do it, ever.” from Newt and the more pithy and direct brotherly love response from Chris of, “can I have them when you are dead?”. Not even a “please”. Red rags and all that so now I am looking seriously into them. I fancy a set of cheap ones that can be eBay’d if it doesn’t work out so set about looking online.

My research soon turned to YouTube videos from newbies to people pulling stunts. All the videos shared a common theme though and that was that the banner ads were all an assortment of funeral planning offers.

Does Google know something?

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New Media is Definitely Mainstream…

…when Volvo are on it.

A friend – David Newton from Photopositive fame – and I were talking about how to address the lousy service from his dealer. I won’t go into detail but it sounds they were treading well into the grey area between conscientiousness for the good of the customer and downright money grubbing dishonesty. They seemed to have more than a hint of dodgy used car dealer in their business genes.

My advice was to go to the brand owner in this case the UK arm of Volvo as the dealer is just a franchisee at the end of the day. Dave went one better and made a general Tweet about his dissatisfaction and used relevant hashtags. Volvo UK picked up on the Tweet and were straight in touch with him. Eventually I suspect Volvo UK applied shoe leather to the dealers tender areas and that along with a £200.00 Volvo voucher saw Dave a very happy man again.

In fact, They have taken the classic opportunity presented by a problem and turned Mr Newton into a very loyal and impressed customer. It wasn’t the £200.00 (that is nice) but the fact that someone was listening and took ownership of the problem until it was solved that was the real emotional winner. Brand Building  101?

Many people talk a good war with new media. Nice to see that #insidevolvouk is so on the ball.

Volvo FMX-Logo
Volvo FMX-Logo (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Thats Torn It Then

It took several repeats before the penny dropped. Where had I heard the name Bamako before? Where?

I have had an ambition to climb the Kaga Tondo in Mali for over 6 months now that was inspired by an article in Summit magazine about the 10  “must climb” peaks in the world. The Kaga Tondo, the tallest of the five fingers of the Hand of Fatima formation in Northern Mali just looked so very very, very cool. More importantly it was within my very average climbing abilities. I have had my eye off it for a few months now in the drive to get a job and the small fact that I’d need at least £2k. Additionally, the only time to really attempt it is when it is a freezing 30-35 deg C in the desert daytime. That’ll be Jan/Feb 2013.

Deutsch: Hand der Fatima, Felsformation bei Ho...
The Kaga Tondo is the tall skinny one.

Now, with just a month to the presidential election there has been a military coup in Mali overnight. Bamako is the name of the capital city in the South. The South was supposed to be the safer part of Mali and the FCO don’t advocate travel in the North whilst the Canadians seemed far more laid back about it 6 months ago – as Canucks often are – so I thought I’d go in my guise of a Canadian and hope any marauding Touraeg’s intent on kidnapping a worthwhile Western trophy wouldn’t spot my mostly British accent and consider that, as a Canadian, I was a worthless Bob & Doug style hoser. Although things have changed as of late… Now the entire venture seems far too fraught with hazards, which is deeply disappointing.

I don’t fancy being kidnapped and possibly shot because I don’t think that I have rich enough friends to raise a decent ransom.

PS: Interesting fact about the Kaga Tondo… The first Westerner (Todd Skinner I think) to summit the 1600 metre formation found clay pottery on the top….do the math!