Life takes over and the days turn to weeks and before we know it it’s November. And Santa Claus is marching down University Avenue. And Ewan is 16 months old. Wow.
Archive for the '2010' Category
On Canada Day we headed into the city to check out the Tall Ships as part of the Redpath Waterfront Festival. Many others in this great City had the same idea as the waterfront was packed. It was wonderful to see so many people out enjoying out waterfront – especially considering what a crappy weekend we’d just been through with the G20 garbage going on downtown.
After wandering around for a while we decided to grab some lunch – and where better, or so we thought, than a pub on the waterfront? We couldn’t have had a worse experience if we tried.
We made our way into the Queen’s Quay Terminal and entered the Watermark Irish Pub. No line-up despite how busy the waterfront was that day. This should have been our first clue…. but when out with a newborn, a one year old and a two-and-half year old – complete with strollers – you need to go places that can accommodate you and your gear. The Watermark has a large indoor “patio” perfect for us. We settled in to our table and ordered our drinks. The drinks arrived with one mistake – Kathryn ordered a small beer but the waitress brought a large. When we commented that it was wrong she responded by saying, “there’s nothing I can do about that. I guess I can charge you for the small instead.” Not off to a great start but in hindsight this was probably the high point for our time at the restaurant. After the drinks were dropped off we ordered our food – all standard pub fare (burgers, salads, sandwiches, nothing special at all).
The “patio” was far from full. Of the 15 or so tables only three were occupied when we arrived. Inside the restaurant it was busier but not packed by any means. While we waited for our food five other tables arrived, ordered drinks and food. Before our food had arrived some of the other tables were already finished and paying their bills. At the 30 minute mark Leah went to find our waitress to see what was the hold-up. The waitress shrugged and said she’d check on it. She never came back with a response so I went into the restaurant to look into it (40 minutes). I asked the bartender to send out the manager. He never did. So I went back into the restaurant to find the manager myself. I did. And asked her politely why our meal wasn’t on our table considering the wait. She came out to our table and said she’d look into it (50 minutes). She came back about 10 minutes later (an hour since placing our food order) and said that it would be at least another 20 minutes for our meal. This did not sit well with me. A heated exchange ensued where she told me that she asked the general manager about it and that was what he told her to tell us. I asked if that seemed fair or reasonable considering other tables had come and gone in the time we’d been there. She said, “I don’t know.”
Really? You don’t know if that’s fair or reasonable? WTF?
I asked her to send out the GM because I wanted to hear it straight from his mouth that we should wait another 20 minutes for our meal considering we’d already been there an hour. He refused to come out of the kitchen. The floor manager said that she would comp us our drinks but she couldn’t do anything else. She suggested that if I emailed the general manager he might be able to offer something more.
We will never go to the Watermark Irish Pub again. Ever.
Today I received a phone call from Ben. I don’t know Ben, and he told me as much. In late 2008 I contacted his company for a quote on some work we wanted done at our home. Our experience with his company was not very positive – so much so that I wrote a post about it.
Apparently my post about his company comes up on Google searches and is costing his business money. He asked me to remove my post. During the phone conversation I said I’d take care of it, that I’d figure something out and I made the post private so that it wasn’t out there in the blogosphere. But after some thought I realized that may not have been the right thing to do. Why did it take him 18 months to call me? He said it was because he didn’t want to incite me any further… So am I to assume that until my dissatisfaction with his company started to impact his bank balance, it wasn’t worth it for him to call and apologize? And to that point, he never apologized for the way things happened in the first place. He said, “you can’t script Bill – he says what he wants.” This shifted the blame from his company to the radio announcer who endorsed his company.
I just did some Googling and found that there are others who’ve experienced problems with his company; one even posted about it on message board but received a similar, I’m assuming, call from Ben asking them to remove their posts.
So… what should I do?
In late January I was bitten by the bug to get a new bicycle. I love riding and get out every chance I get – a quick 15k or a hard century – it makes no difference to me. I love the speed, the total focus required, the camaraderie, the tech and the toys. Two summers ago my cycling addiction took us to France to see Le Tour in person. And for me to ride some of the famous climbs like Alpe d’Huez.
Accepting the fact that I’d be getting a new ride this season it was time to decide on what bike was for me. Should I get a Cervélo R3? They’re sexy, and Canadian, and highly regarded. Or perhaps stick with Specialized and get a Tarmac SL3? An upgrade to the Tarmac I currently ride… Or something more a little more exotic like a Pinarello or Willier?
While all of these bikes are terrific none of them really made me want them. And the staff at the stores I visited/contacted didn’t do anything to change this (aside from the guys at Gears… but the bike still didn’t do it.) This changed when I checked out Vitess – a new manufacturer of performance road bikes with a showroom located in my ‘hood of South Etobicoke.
I exchanged a number of emails with Julien (the founder and face of Vitess) and learned a lot about the company and their plans before ever visiting the showroom and seeing the product in person. But once inside the showroom the decision was pretty much made that this would be my new bike. Their bikes are definitely not flashy – not covered in graphics with wicked paint schemes. But they look good. And fast. Just what I wanted.
A few weeks later my bike arrived and we scheduled my fitting session – a three-hour intensive session conducted by Fitt 1st at the Vitess showroom – where every part of the bike is adjusted and tweaked to ensure the perfect fit. During my session it was discovered that I need a narrower handlebar than originally thought, and than what I ordered. Not a problem! Julien swapped out the ordered bar with a bar of the correct width and ordered in the carbon bar I originally ordered at the correct size. The next week I returned and we made the swap again – adjusting the fit perfectly before sending me on my way.
With the last six bike purchases none of the stores ever followed up with me to see how I was enjoying my purchase; to see if I had any questions or needed to make any changes. Vitess did – and have stayed true to their commitment of being rider-centric in all aspects of their operation.
Now… regardless of the customer service and rider-focus the bike needs to be a star on the road – and it is. From the minute I got on the saddle and clipped in I knew that this was going to be a fun season of riding. And through the first two-plus months of riding this has proved true. Here are my thoughts on this terrific bicycle:
- I’m fast. Noticeably faster than previous years. Subtracting the placebo effect of thinking I’m faster because of my new bike, I’m still faster. And my riding partners have all taken note.
- The bike is much stiffer than my Tarmac. This is most noticeable when I switch get out of the saddle and hammer it for a sprint.
- The fit is perfect. I’ve had my previous bikes fit to me but not like this. My comfort level is much higher than I thought possible on a high performance bike – and my endurance is better as my body doesn’t fatigue from holding a position.
Don’t mistake me for some errant fanboy – I like this bike but I’m not blindly tossing out compliments and ignoring the shortcomings… it’s just that for me, there aren’t any. I’ve ridden this bike harder and faster than my previous bikes and it has performed when the others have failed. The only comparison I haven’t made yet is on the roads of France… but trust me I am working on convincing Leah that we should go again!
If you’re in the market for a high performance road bike be sure to give Vitess a call!
That’s the slogan of the new bike manufacturer that opened in my neighbourhood. And after looking at the bikes (and with my basic understanding of French!) I have to agree. On Friday I had some time to stop in to the Vitess showroom and meet with Julien to review the bikes and their offerings. I was very impressed. Julien’s interest in creating a high end custom bike tailored to the specific needs of each rider really appeals to me – and the bikes look awesome.
Consider this my notice to all the other riders along Lakeshore: this summer I’m going to be fast.
I want a new road bike. And I’m slowing convincing myself that I need it.
Vitess – A new manufacturer of high end road bikes recently opened a showroom in our neighbourhood and they’ve got me wanting. Bad. So what’s a guy to do? Have a garage sale!
I’m selling the following goodies:
Bike: Specialized Tarmac Expert: $2700.
Camera Lens: Sigma 18-50mm f2.8 EX DC Macro HSM for Nikon: $450.
Audio Gear: Church Audio CA-14 Omni + CA-14 Cardioid mics and a custom four channel battery box: $550.
Speakers: PSB Image 2B pair: $200.
CD Player: Yamaha CDC-675 5-disc changer: $125.
PlayStation2: PS2, Two controllers, Two memory cards, Madden 2004, The Getaway, Medal Of Honor Frontline, NFL Street ,Max Payne, NHL 2003, Gran Turismo 3 A-Spec ,Tiger Woods PGA Tour 2003 ,Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 2, Tony Hawk’s Pro Skater 3, Metal Gear Solid 2 (Sons Of Liberty), NBA Street Volume 2: $120.