When I checked my mailbox Tuesday, there was a message from the post office informing me that I had a package waiting with $3.09 postage due and the sender was Silca.
For those of you who haven’t been around cycling for donkey’s years like I have, Silca was once a fairly iconic brand of pumps in the industry. Long before the days of handy CO2 cartridges to fill your tire in seconds when fixing a flat, so-called frame-fit hand pumps were ubiquitous amongst serious cyclists on training rides and Silcas were the most common.
Frankly, they were kinda crap pumps made with a plastic barrel and notorious for exploding if the tire valve got stuck open – forcing high-pressure air back into the pump and sending the handle end blasting off into space (or into your face) if you weren’t careful. However, Campagnolo made a heavy metal replacement head that turned the pump into a convenient club to whack any dog that ran out into the road to try to bite your ankles, and we loved them.
Silca also made – and still does – a nice heavy floor pump that’s fairly indestructible. They’ve become sort of retro-chic nowadays, and the company tries to capitalize on this with a “Super Pista Ultimate ‘Hiro’” edition that sells for a whopping $460 on Amazon or the Richard Sachs Custom Artist version for $800. I can only assume that the kind of person who drops more than five hundred dollars on a bicycle pump also shops at the Best Made Company for $400 axes and flies in a Sherpa from Nepal to carry his backpack on weekend camping trips.
Anyway, I digress, back to my mailbox. A couple of months ago I actually purchased a Silca replacement presta chuck to go on another brand of floor pump I own that had gone bad. I had a foggy recollection that the extra chuck gaskets I had purchased for it might have been back ordered and I assumed that’s what was being sent to me COD.
So, I dutifully scrounged around and came up with $3.09 (who the hell carries cash anymore) which I placed in the envelope so handily supplied by the good ole United States Postal Service and put up the red flag on my mailbox.
Two days later, a mid-size envelope was delivered. When I ripped it open, I was bemused to find not the gaskets I predicted but marketing materials from Silca and two “free” gifts. What were these gifts you ask? It turns out that Silca has invented the rag.
No really, I swear I’m not making this up. For $36 you can purchase rags from Silca. To be fair, these have the much nicer title of “Gear Wipe” and come with the promise “Cleans Your Gear, Cleans Your Hands.”
Funny, because I thought the old T-shirts and a bottle of 409 that I use in my garage did that, but I’m sure anything that costs forty bucks must do it better – or at least with love.
Silca thoughtfully included a $20 gift card in case I want to add a Super Pista Ultimate ‘Hiro’ to my Sherpa’s pack on my camping trip next weekend. How kind of them.
Anyway, I suggest any manufacturers who want to send me free product to test (and I’m sure you’re lining up after this sarcastic screed) do so with the postage-paid — just sayin.