This book is memorable more because of the saga in getting it than for the book itself.
The story starts just after Christmas with a Waterstones offer: a signed copy of the book for £10 rather than £20. As someone who likes a good bike race, enjoys the antics of Peter Sagan and likes signed copies of books this was too good a deal to miss. I ordered 2 copies, one for me and one for a friend.
After about a month it dawned on me that they hadn’t arrived so I chased them up. “Oh, we’re just waiting for the payment to process”, said the girl at the other end of the helpline. I’ll give them a nudge and you’ll get your books shortly.
Two weeks later, still no books so I messaged the helpline again. This time I got an apology and a promise the books would arrive. They did…but not signed copies!
I messaged again pointing out that if I’d wanted unsigned copies of the book I could have got them much cheaper and will a lot less hassle elsewhere. Their reply was that the offer of signed copies was no longer available online but I could them in certain stores. My reply, that my nearest store meant a 60 mile round trip, generated no response.
I phoned the helpline to talk to an actual person. They agreed that since the initial delay was due to them it wasn’t acceptable that I would have to travel to buy the book so they would contact a store on my behalf and get them to post 2 copies to me. Hallelujah! Someone who can think and make decisions.
I packed up the unsigned copies and returned them.
Two weeks later no books had arrived!
I phoned again. “Oh, sorry. They’re out of stock. I’ll make an immediate refund.” At this point I was, to put it mildly, somewhat cross!
Three days later a parcel arrived from Waterstones. “I bet they’re some more unsigned copies”, I said to my partner. I almost fell off my chair when I opened the box and found 2 pristine, signed copies of the book in there.
The end result of this sorry tale is that I am very reluctant to hand over any of my hard earned dosh to Waterstones anymore. I’m very disappointed in their customer service. This also means I struggle to buy new books from physical bookshops, which I like to do because I want bookshops on the high street.
The other result was a reluctance to actually pick the book up to read and a building weight of expectation.
Unfortunately, the book got crushed under the weight of expectation. For someone who is very entertaining on a cycle and during pre/post-race interviews Sagan comes across as a somewhat boring, nerdy man. Not what I was expecting at all.
On the plus side, it was good to find out more about what it’s like to be in the middle of a big pro-bike race and to read a different version of Oleg Tinkoff.