Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

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Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby skicat » 16 Sep 2014, 11:30am

I'm sure I'm not alone in this, but when I'm out cycling I tend to avoid service stations / garage forecourts, as I don't perceive them to be very cycle-friendly. This annoys me a little, as service stations provide a number of, err, services and usually sell a range of items that are generally considered useful by cyclists:

    * Water / cold drinks
    * Snacks, e.g.chocolate, ice-cream
    * Sometimes coffee and hot snacks if Costa or equivalent is on site
    * Toilet facilities

I would like to get other people's views on this, and in particular ask the question 'would you use service stations more if the facilities were improved for cyclists', for example:

    * If there was a secure place to park your bike (proper bike stands, out of the way of vehicles)
    * If the outlet sold basic maintenance items (puncture repair, chain lube, GT85)
    * If the outlet sold sports drinks / energy bars
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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby NUKe » 16 Sep 2014, 11:40am

having just returned from Northern Irealnd, I found the service stations perfect for quick feed stops most had good little shops and may even have a hpt food / coffee counter. Also quite often on overnight early morning rides they are the only place to get a hot drink/snack/sandwich
As you don't usually stop long and the forecourts are well lit, then bike security is usually not an issue for me at least.

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby Mark1978 » 16 Sep 2014, 11:47am

I haven't myself but you can imagine they are a better solution than most shops as many are glass fronted so offering good visibility of your bike.

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby mjr » 16 Sep 2014, 12:19pm

I can't see the survey/poll question, so here's a written answer: I rarely use service stations because most are sited on large roads and even when the roads have cycleways alongside or nearby (West Lynn and Swaffham are two that come to my mind), it seems the builders often don't bother to provide good access between the cycleway and the service station. That's a killer problem (possibly literally), much more than poor parking or product selection.

Supermarket filling stations are slightly better for access, but the toilets and coffee are usually in the main store. I tend to use small convenience stores (preferably the various co-ops, including Nisa/Todays) instead so I don't have to walk so far. They've usually got bike parking, many are open as long as many service stations and some have toilets and so on. Some used to sell simple bike repair bits (some East of England Co-op shops in Norwich had puncture repair kits and basic cables hanging on a rack) but it's been a while since I've noticed any doing that.
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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby stewartpratt » 16 Sep 2014, 12:21pm

Yes, I use them, provided they're on the route. Often no alternative if you need something riding through the night. I wish more would have coffee, though :)

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby al_yrpal » 16 Sep 2014, 12:26pm

Can't remember ever having used one on my bike. I tend to avoid fast roads where they are located so never come across them. I frequent cafes, bakers and pubs.

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby [XAP]Bob » 16 Sep 2014, 12:45pm

Often, they are good pit stops.

Having some bike facilities and a small repair display would be encouraging - possibly improving sales of drinks/snacks.
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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby Mick F » 16 Sep 2014, 1:06pm

I use them, and am happy to do so.
Personally, I lean my bike in full view of me and the staff. Open clear windows are ideal to lean a bike on ..... just like Mark1978 says.

I don't want any cycle facilities thank you. Usually they are bike racks or Sheffield stands, and they are usually too far away, so you can stuff any cycle facilities. I don't want 'em at all.
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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby Spinners » 16 Sep 2014, 1:07pm

Yes, they are good pit stops but can be pricey. When I was an MTB'er for some reason our local service station didn't like me and my wife using the jet wash to clean our bikes, inventing some story about complaints about paint flaking off...
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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby Vantage » 16 Sep 2014, 1:55pm

I've used them in the past when I neglected to take food with me on long rides....I've since learnt better!
They are money holes though.
I never had problems locking the bike as there's usually a post of some sort and the nice big windows they have allow me to keep an eye on my pride and joy.
The first one I visited when the bike was only a few weeks old had a slope on the forecourt and as I watched in horror, the bike which was locked against a concrete post rolled down the slope. Leaving a lovely big scratch on the top tube. I wasn't a happy bunny going home.

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby easyroller » 16 Sep 2014, 2:56pm

If they start serving a proper full cream tea, then possibly...... :)

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby Ron » 16 Sep 2014, 4:30pm

I use them regularly when on tour but don't require them to stock cycle specific items.

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby Psamathe » 16 Sep 2014, 4:43pm

No. Expensive and if I'm going to eat whilst out riding I want it to taste good. e.g. today, stopped off at Tesco and all their cakes were really unappealing so left without getting anything. So stopped-off at Morrisons (as I was really hungry) and same there - real dreadful quality so left again with nothing (other than hunger) and waited until I got home. Petrol station stuff is the real ultra-long-life mass produced junk (normally).


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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby thirdcrank » 16 Sep 2014, 5:13pm

Any port in a storm. I particularly remember climbing the first hill out of Halifax on the A58 which is only a dozen miles from home for me, but it had been a hilly ride and I felt the onset of hunger knock. Into the filling station coming down the other side and energy levels restored: probably a Mars bar and a can of Lilt. I'd not leave in a huff if they had no pukka energy food/ drinks. Talking of energy drinks, on one long ride I realised I'd miscalculated the amount of water I needed and it was late evening. Into a filling station in Silsden and bought some mineral water: not cheap but just what was needed and readily available, so it was another ride saved from discomfort.

Their share price won't change on my custom but they provide a service I'm happy to patronise. Generally better in these situations than the alternatives such as pubs.

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Re: Short Survey - Do you use service stations?

Postby Ayesha » 16 Sep 2014, 6:19pm

More than a few Audax Organisers use them as controls.
The service station people don't mind as long as the cyclists buy something.