whether to lend a bike or not?

General cycling advice ( NOT technical ! )
Posts: 1269
Joined: 2 Jan 2017, 5:56pm

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Jamesh » 26 Jun 2020, 7:54pm

I once borrowed a track bike circa 1995 from my dad's work colleague, which I rode round Reading track.

One particular night in the final devil takes the hindmost I went into the guy in front who had touched wheels with the guy in front if him.

He was in a bad way and I had broken collar bone and the bike had a twisted front wheel!!

Good old days!

Cheers James

User avatar
Posts: 481
Joined: 23 Sep 2018, 2:27pm

whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Syd » 26 Jun 2020, 8:15pm

Only time I have ever loaned a bike to anyone was when a close friend of my wife noticed a crack in the frame of her six month old BMC the day before IronMan and less than three hours before the cut off for dropping it off at the bike station.

She was a very similar height to me, and care for her bike the way I did mine. It only took 30 to 45 minutes, and a shorter stem from my stock, to match the fit of her broken BMC and my bike.

Got my bike back two days later accompanied by a nice bottle of whisky.

It would have to be someone I knew equally well, and in a similar predicament, for me to loan a bike.

Posts: 49
Joined: 7 Nov 2019, 11:07am

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Cyclewala » 27 Jun 2020, 9:59am

I once heard someone say they'd rather share their wife than their bike.

Carlton green
Posts: 737
Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Carlton green » 27 Jun 2020, 10:32am

The old say of ‘neither borrower nor lender be’ has a lot of merit but it is a blanket guide for all situations and doesn’t take account of exceptions. The thing is how good a judge of character are you, what’s in place for if things go wrong and what control have you got?

Generosity is a wonderful thing but only some folk are worthy of it, can you really identify who they are and act accordingly? I know that I’ve got things wrong in the past, with lending things out, and now trust has to be earned rather than given. When lending things it’s a good idea to lay down the ground rules and to demonstrate condition on lending and on return. Although if you’re borrowing from or lending to an appropriate person such actions aren’t really needed, they’re just a useful token.

In the OP’s case he’s dealing with an idiot and as such he’s never going to get a perfect solution. Have the bike back, salvage what’s possible and practical, it’s a case of writing things off to experience and looking as happy about it as one can. Like others I’ve learnt the hard way not to automatically trust people or believe that they have the same values as me, there are many good people out there but the majority disappointment.

Posts: 764
Joined: 5 Mar 2019, 5:42pm

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Jdsk » 27 Jun 2020, 10:41am

Polonius was a "tedious old fool".


Posts: 1105
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:39am

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby alexnharvey » 27 Jun 2020, 10:50am

Dear X

I was shocked and sad to hear about your crash on the bike I lent to you and to see your resulting injuries.

Shortly afterwards you texted me to ask ‘Did I know the steering was [defective]?’ because after the crash you noticed that the bike steered to the right side. I was perplexed and quite offended by this because

A) I’ve ridden the bike for the last six years without any issue, including carrying both my children on it and have done this in the last few months. I used that bike daily for my commute, 14 miles a day, for about 9 months. I rode it twice to work last week.

B) you imply that I knew it steered to one side and nonetheless sent you out on it without proper regard to your safety.

You also said that the bike was fine. My reply to your question was "No". I did not know the steering had any issues because in my experience of using it there were no issues . I have waited until I had inspected the bike before any further comment on either point.

I rode the bike and found that it does indeed steer to the right now. The question for me was why it is doing so.
I looked the bike over and noticed a few things. You said the bike is fine which isn’t correct, it has suffered some obvious minor damage. The mudguard is bent to the right so that the left side is rubbing against the wheel. The right V-brake cartridge is missing and the metal holder scrapes against the rim if it is used. Slightly less obvious is the cracking to the paint under the left fork crown on the inside of the bend below where it meets the steerer tube. The first two are minor damage: it is no problem for me to straighten the mudguard and replace a V-brake cartridge at a very minimal cost. However, they suggest to me that when you crashed, the bike landed with the front wheel left side down on the ground and forces would therefore be pushing the wheel and fork rightwards, forcing wheel and the mudguard to the right hand side, and causing the loss of the right v-brake cartridge. The paint cracks on the inside of the left fork leg suggest that it has also been bent to the right. The left v-brake is also now rubbing against the front wheel, again indicating a rightwards shift of the brake or the whole fork leg. Taken together with the rightward tendency in the steering I believe these suggest that an impact has bent the fork to the right. I suspect this happened during your recent crash. Unlike the other issues, a bent fork is significant damage to the bike.

Jobst Brandt (author of “The Bicycle Wheel”) has written about this issue.

Jobst Brandt wrote:Subject: Aligning a Fork
From: Jobst Brandt
Date: May 11, 2001
aka Bicycle pulls to one side
Riders occasionally complain that their bicycle pulls to one side when ridden no-hands. That is, the rider must lean off to one side to ride straight ahead. This symptom can be from a wheel that is in crooked, something that is easily checked by observing whether the tire is centered under the brake bolt, or by just reversing the wheel to see whether the wheel is improperly centered.
Assuming the bicycle still pulls to one side, the reason is usually that the fork is bent from a side impact. A bend from a frontal impact is easily seen because the blades have a rearward bend just below the fork crown where they should be straight both fore and aft and side to side. A frontal bend usually gives a side bend as well, because the blades are not identical and tend to skew to one side. This is harder to fix and requires fixturing.

He goes on to explain that on a steel fork this can be repaired by careful bending the fork legs back into alignment. I may do this, along with the other small repairs, as I would like to be able to use the bike again in the future. It is my wet weather/winter bike.

When our fellow colleagues asked me about this I told them I couldn’t understand what happened given that I had been riding the bike for so long beforehand without issue. I know that you have already told some of them that the bike’s steering was the issue and that this caused you to crash. I believe the reverse is more likely, that the crash has damaged the bike.
I hope that the above explanation is clear and would be interested to know if it changes your view on the matter.
I accept that we may be unable to agree on whether the damage existed prior or was caused by the crash. I think we will have to accept that others will draw their own conclusions. I hope we will be able to maintain a good working relationship even if we cannot agree on this.

I would like to ask that in the future you do not suggest to our colleagues, or to anyone else, that I lent you a defective bike because I think it is untrue and damaging to my reputation. I will briefly outline my view to those who ask me about it.

Last edited by alexnharvey on 27 Jun 2020, 11:04am, edited 3 times in total.

Posts: 4482
Joined: 16 Oct 2018, 4:23am
Location: Northumberland

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Oldjohnw » 27 Jun 2020, 11:01am

Polonius in Hamlet Act 1, scene 3

"Neither a borrower nor a lender be,
For loan oft loses both itself and friend,
And borrowing dulls the edge of husbandry."

Posts: 81
Joined: 27 Jun 2009, 12:20am

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby soapbox » 27 Jun 2020, 11:16am

Be prepared for the worst and accept that anything could happen.
I've loaned bikes out just three times.
I once lent my racing bike to someone just to go for a job interview. I'm horrified by that thought now, but at the time I only had two bikes, and lending my touring bike was out of the question. It came back fine.
The second was a touring bike, lent to a close friend. It was pristine when he took it, but filthy on return. It was only the fact that I valued his friendship that prevented me from showing my anger at the time, and I took a couple of weeks before broaching the subject.
The third was a mountain bike, lent to a friend who wasn't a cyclist and has no mechanical skills whatsoever. That came back with the bottom bracket threads all worn out because the BB had come loose and he just wasn't aware that any damage was being done to the frame. Again, I didn't mention the subject for some time -not because I was angry (I wasn't) but because I knew that he'd feel terrible about it, when in truth, I was quite surprised to get it back in such good condition, albeit with a damaged frame.

Posts: 13
Joined: 15 Apr 2020, 8:56am

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Billy007 » 27 Jun 2020, 11:17am

Trigger wrote:Perhaps he crashed it, got back on it to continue and then noticed the steering was all to cock and decided to blame that instead of owning up.

My experience is that if you're the type to offer favours or loan things to people then they automatically have you down as a soft touch and will take the **** given the chance.

You tend to learn these things the hard way unfortunately, I certainly have over many years.

Anything I have ever loaned anyone has come back either with some fault(s) or damage, or not at all. People can be lying shoots. I never lend anything anymore. Sick of being taken for a mug.

This guy is trying it on. Send him an estimate for repairs to your bike. Also start a complaint/grievance at work that he is defaming you.

Posts: 1105
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:39am

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby alexnharvey » 27 Jun 2020, 11:40am

I still prefer a slightly more generous interpretation.

- He crashes the bike shortly after taking it (within a mile I think) and doesn't know why.
- He cleans himself up and gets back on.
- He then notices the steering issue.
- He incorrectly infers that the steering issue caused the crash.

I think it is a faulty inference but it doesn't require any malfeasance or bad intent on his part to explain it. Since it also solves any potential embarassment about crashing and fault too it is very easy for him to believe. I really suspect that he genuinely believes the bike caused the crash. On the other hand, he surely cannot have missed all the minor damage. I also suspect that since he thinks I'm at fault for the accident he thinks is not liable for making good the damage. I'm quite sure if we lived in a country with medical costs that I would be receiving a bill for them.
I do not need the money, an apology and some correction would be appreciated.

We shall see how he responds and I will take advice from my manager just in case the problem escalates. I don't expect significant damage to my reputation though, people who know us both will come to much the same conclusion themselves I think, bringing their knowledge of each of our relative levels of recklessness to bear... (Previous reckless incidents which unfortunately I only came to know of afterwards).

Carlton green
Posts: 737
Joined: 22 Jun 2019, 12:27pm

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby Carlton green » 27 Jun 2020, 11:58am

Wise to involve your line manager at work, well it should be.

Some folk are a bit accident prone .., your managers and workmates will have a feel for what’s likely.

You rode the bike regularly and for some time before the accident, clearly the bike was fine then. If the bike wasn’t right when matey first rode it then he should have noticed and either returned it to you directly or made the necessary allowances. He’s probably a bit strapped for cash now, no money to buy a new bike and none to pay for repairs ... when someone is in a corner they sometimes tell lies or make excuses.

If you haven’t sent the letter and don’t need to then I wouldn’t bother. If you need to (because of problems at work) then do so with your line manager.

Posts: 1214
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby gregoryoftours » 27 Jun 2020, 12:06pm

Alex, is that 'dear X' letter what you have sent/intend to send to him? I think it's entirely reasonable. It's a very uncomfortable situation in all ways. Personally a fork that has been bent and then 'corrected' would always play on my mind and I'd end up never using it. I hope some sort of adequate resolution comes of all this.

Personally I think that an adequate resolution to this would be for him to recognise that you acted in good faith and have also come out of this for the worse, and to stop spreading his belief that you somehow caused his accident. I think that trying to get any financial compensation out of him while in my opinion being justifiable would escalate matters to a much more serious level, and he would certainly follow the 'you are responsible for my injury' legal tack.

While I believe you are in the right, I really can't see him doing a 180 and accepting that he may be responsible after having such an unpleasant accident, it's against human nature.

I'd also take legal advice at this point too, just in case, and get photographic evidence of the damage to the bike and make detailed record of everything to do with the whole unpleasant incident.

Posts: 1105
Joined: 10 Jan 2014, 8:39am

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby alexnharvey » 27 Jun 2020, 12:38pm

Gregory and Cyril, that is a draft that is not yet sent but I intend to. I think to not address it at all might be taken as accepting what he has said. I will take some photos of the damage and add them to the letter. I think the fork bending might only be slight but I will also try to measure and photograph it too. Whilst I'll prepare for an escalation with notes and pictures I won't be seeking legal advice at this stage. He would have to prove the damage existed prior which I think is very difficult for him and relatively easy to rebut. I'll add the dates to the letter, borrowed on this date, inspected the following day and so on.

Our workplace seems to prefer to have informal meetings to resolve all sorts of issues. I'd be happy to attend one if it's suggested but I'm now feeling quite confident that I understand the issue and this resolves it for me. I think I would want there to be at least a brief written summary of any meeting.

I don't intend to seek any money from him. An apology or even regret about the damage would be appreciated but I don't have high expectations.

User avatar
Posts: 12968
Joined: 4 Dec 2009, 6:56pm
Location: North Yorkshire

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby 531colin » 27 Jun 2020, 3:27pm

Image002 by 531colin, on Flickr

A photo like this may demonstrate a sideways bend in a fork.
The whole 9 yards is here....https://forum.cyclinguk.org/viewtopic.php?f=1&t=59332&hilit=string
I know you won't have a "before" photo.

Posts: 1214
Joined: 22 May 2011, 7:14pm

Re: whether to lend a bike or not?

Postby gregoryoftours » 27 Jun 2020, 5:54pm

531 Colin, nice workstand!