Category Archives: Thoughts on the world

‘Fair Go’ Discount story – my experience

Working in the bike industry over the past 3.5 years I have had to battle with the “half price’ “50% off” offers that have been rolling out of our nearest competitor on countless occasions.  Seeing the recent story on Fair Go has highlighted what we (in the store) have been discussing and planning for every weekend there is an advert in our local paper.

Watch the episode here (may be country restricted)

Are you really getting a half price bike?

Let me start with the fact that this is based only on my own experiences and there are no exact figures unless I do a direct comparison of pricing.

It was just yesterday I was going through the conversation with a customer about what bike would be right for them and their needs in cycling.  After finding out what I thought we could offer and discussing a couple of options I heard the all too common statement “I have been to ‘one of your competitors’ and they have offered me something that looks like this at half price”

“Oh cool” my reply “Do you know which bike and model it was?  Lets just check it out and make sure its the right bike you are after”

I then go through the explanation that I believe is correct.  Our competitor has a business model that works, I don’t believe its right, but it works.

I believe they put a bike on  the floor at inflated recommended retail pride ‘RRP’, maybe, for the ‘lawful’ period (although this I find hard to believe when I see bikes on at 50% off so soon after they have been released).  They then put a sticker on for 50% off.

Most of the bikes we go through that are 50% off are, on average, $50 – $150 cheaper than our RRP (on lower to middle range model bikes, say models under $2000)

Sometimes there is a deal that we just can’t beat or come close to because it really is an amazing deal.

Lets look at the bike online and compare it to our equivalent.

All whilst pulling out our floor iPad.   A quick search online and found the bike model the other store had offered.  This particular model that had been offered worked out to be one that was outside my averages but we had it on special as part of our Great Bike Sale so it worked out ok for me.

The bike they had offered was online for $1499.99 with a special of $750 offered in store and our bike had a price tag of $919.99.  ($580 difference in recommended retail)

As I said, a little outside my averages for this one but I believe our RRP is close to a realistic price for the bike and parts offered.   I then follow up with

What do you get for spending the extra on our bike?

  • A free 1D bike wit with every bike you purchase
  • A free 1 month service to check everything is running smoothly
  • Links to local cycling groups and communities.
  • Professional Shimano Certified mechanics in house for any future repairs
  • become part of the Avantiplus Team

Ok, this last one is a little corny but its true, I normally invite people buying their first road bike to join us for the Saturday bunch rides which are designed for all cycling abilities

Once the comparison was finished the customer felt better informed about the bikes she was looking at and her decision was coming from a knowledgeable perspective rather than price or perceived bargain.

Like myself, the rest of the team at work believe in a fair deal so this Fair Go episode has been great in highlighting something we have been battling for so long.  I didn’t even think about comparing the RRP between New Zealand and Australia which is such a simple idea but makes complete sense.

My approach with customers looking for a deal isn’t always a winner, in fact, I’m still not sure which way this lady will go because a bargain is hard to pass up, especially in New Zealand where 57% of shoppers would go with a bargain.

BUT, is it really as much of a bargain as you think AND what do you get by spending that little bit extra?

When Cheaters Win, the Consequences Are Far-Reaching | Running Times

While fans struggle to make sense of recent doping revelations, athletes in the sport have had to deal with their doubts for years.

By Sarah Lorge Butler;

When Cheaters Win, the Consequences Are Far-Reaching | Running Times

Image by Steve Baccon / Getty Images Published March 30, 2015  When Cheaters Win Podium

Shalane Flanagan started the 2014 Boston Marathon with a 5:11 first mile. She had made no secret that winning Boston, the race she had watched as a child, was the dream that drove her—and she figured an honest pace from the gun was the best way to achieve it.

In close pursuit that day was defending champion Rita Jeptoo, 33, of Kenya. She stuck to Flanagan through torrid splits: 32:34 for 10K, 1:09:27 through the half. In the Newton Hills, Flanagan fell back while Jeptoo dropped a 4:48 for mile 24. Her winning time was 2:18:57, a new course record.

Even though she ran a PR by more than 3 minutes and posted the fastest American time (2:22:02) ever on the Boston course, Flanagan’s efforts were good for only seventh place. “I don’t wish it was easier,” she said after the race. “I just wish I were better.”

Perhaps she didn’t have to be. On Oct. 31, the running world learned what might have been behind Jeptoo’s otherworldly performances—which included a repeat Chicago Marathon title last fall—when news broke that she had failed an out-of-competition drug test in September. In December, her “B” sample confirmed the finding.

via When Cheaters Win, the Consequences Are Far-Reaching | Running Times.

Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation Awards Dinner

For the last 15 years The Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation (DOYSF) have held the annual awards dinner to celebrate the awarding of scholarships for a young batch of future sports stars. This dinner also doubles up as the main fundraiser for the foundation to fund the scholarships and provide mentoring and development for the young athletes of the west. 20130714-223532.jpg

The scholarships are awarded by an independent panel of judges which include NZ olympic selectors and are open to any athlete with a home address in West Auckland (boundary Map) between their 14th and 21st Birthday.

This year the selectors have awarded 13 athletes with a scholarship headed by Tyla Nathan-Wong of the New Zealand Women’s World Cup Champion Sevens team. Tyla is the sole recipient of a gold scholarship worth $5000 to aid her touch rugby aspirations. 20130714-221009.jpg
The remaining 12 awards being 5 silver scholarships and seven bronze. They cover sports as diverse as surfing, judo (two scholarships), wrestling, motorbike racing, diving, rowing and waterpolo as well as athletics, cycling and swimming.

“Our schools, clubs and Sport Waitakere do wonderful work to nurture their young talents while “Don Oliver” sponsors, donors, and people who buy tickets to the dinner and buy auction items, are the people who make the scholarships possible,

“In return, by using expert selection panels, we have been able to identify and help dozens of young west Aucklanders reach for their dreams. Tyla is an example, so is Lauren Boyle the country’s top Olympic swimmer and Melissa Ingram before her. Alexis Pritchard our pioneering women’s boxer, Liz Lamb, the country’s top high jumper, Steph McKenzie a top women’s cyclist and many more, too numerous to mention,” Bindoff says.
“That support is there year after year. We have huge support from very generous people and organisations, some of whom have been with us from the start,” Says Don Oliver Chairman Dai Bindoff.

“We’ve got scholars and past scholars in national teams in many codes, we’ve had a world champion, and every Olympic and Commonwealth Games team for the last 16 years, has had at least on present or past Don Oliver scholar in it – sometimes as many as five or six.

Check out more photos from last years dinner here
The awards will be presented at the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation Dinner and Auction on 18 July, at The Trusts Arena with rugby legend Eric Rush as guest speaker. Tickets to the dinner are open to the public and can be purchased through Event Finda at

Athlete profiles of winners will be available on our web site soon.

A train journey marred by my own “Pride”

This morning in the Western Leader there were a few articles about the trains which prompted me to post something I wrote a little while ago.

Western Leader front page

Western Leader Front Page 12th June 2013

Start of article in Western Leader 12th June 2013

End of article in Western Leader 12th June 2013


After getting a fine on my moped yesterday for the vehicle license not being in place (must have fallen off in the last few days) I had to get a ride in with Nina this morning.

She needed to start work at 6.30 in Mangere so it was a 5.45am exit of the household and drop off at the train station on the way through New Lynn.

I have to admit it has been a while since I needed to get the train and I felt really enthused about my journey after spending a few minutes wondering around the station. Clean, tidy, bike locks for bike and ride, lockers for ?? And a ticket booth….. that was closed. UHoh, could this be the end of the romance?

Empty Ticket Booth New Lynn

Empty Ticket Booth New Lynn

A bit of nonchalant wondering (trying to look cool and as if I had been doing this for years) and I found an automatic ticket dispenser, Hoorah!!

Easy to use.  1 ticket journey, destination Britomart, one way for single adult and paying cash, insert $20 note, cup hand under change dispenser as to hide the sound of coins dropping (what a dinosaur, paying with cash) and ticket taken.

What a pleasant journey.  Again clean, tidy and comfortable.  I spent the journey listening to music and writing a blog.  Arriving in Britomart, one full blog post finished on a very smooth journey I exited the station, again casually.  Not my fist time at the rodeo!!! Walking towards the wrong exit and realizing as I was doing it but carrying on so I wouldn’t look like newb!  Then it was on the exit that I had to pay for being so worried about looking nubish.

Walking out the paper ticket exit handing my ticket to the attendant he looked at me strangely, then I saw his lips move.  Earphones out!  “This is an eftpos receipt”. He had to repeat.
“Yeah and?” I said.
“Where is your ticket?”
“That’s what the machine gave me”
“This is eftpos receipt, not a ticket.  You will need to buy a ticket, come with me”
I followed re-running the whole ticket buying process in my head.  The lady in the kiosk (oh yeah, open now when I would rather it wasn’t) told me again it was an eftpos receipt and my ticket should have dispensed first.
“I didn’t even pay by eftpos, I paid by cash and here are the coins from my $20 note prove it, that was all the machine gave me”
“No, the ticket was first before this receipt, if you bought in new Lynn you should have got off at Kingsland because this receipt is only for $3.50”
“I know that, it’s not my receipt, it must have been left there by the person before me”
“You need to buy ticket”

I was angry!  Couldn’t they see I was genuine?  I wasn’t trying to thwart the system!

I needed to swallow the anger and pay the ticket.   On leaving leaving the ticket booth I saw a security guard checking me over and the realization hit me.

They probably see 100 people a day with the same excuse and at the end of the day they were only doing their job!

It was really my own fault anyway, if I had not let my pride get in the way and just checked the ticket in the beginning I would have seen that it was an eftpos receipt and not a ticket.  Damn pride!!

I was very happy with my journey in the end and I think the transport is on the right track if it can offer this journey every time.  My only issue is that this city needs a much deeper transport infrastructure to deal with the next 50 years, and more.   I would rather put up with this transport system for the next 10 to 15 years and make sure the plan that goes into place now is one that will sustain Auckland for my ‘soon to arrive’ child at least.

Doesn’t have to be Millions of Dollars

Recently I was asked to be a trustee on the Don Oliver Youth Sport Foundation (DOYSF) which I had heard about over the years and, if I am being honest, believed was a project given to a wife by a rich husband just to keep her busy.  I could not have been more wrong.
‘The Don Oliver’ was created in 1997 by Sir Bob Harvey, Councillor Ross Dallow MNZM, businessman and philanthropist Bryan Heron MNZM, Olympian and businessman (the late) Chris Timms and lawyer Bernie Allan.  The Foundation was established with the mission to provide scholarships and other forms of support for pre-elite Waitakere athletes in all codes.

One of this years scholars from Don Oliver

My role on this board is 2 fold.

  1. Putting the web site into place and implementing a social media strategy which is a massive chunk of work at the moment but once implemented my work load should ease off nicely.
  2. Once this has subsided, I will hopefully help with mentoring athletes.  This is what I am looking forward to.  Getting in front of pre-elite athletes looking to take their career to the next level and helping them on their journey.

As I said, it turns out Don Oliver is a big chunk of work that is taking a lot of time at the moment but once sorted I should be able to help with my local sporting community for not much effort.   I am currently on the committee for Waitakere Triathlon club which takes up very little time and I manage club uniforms and supported events which both take up very little time but help with my local triathlon community.

Nina is currently a director on the board of Altrusa Auckland.

Altrusa Auckland has been around for about 50 years making local communities better through leadership, partnership and service.   Their focus is Literacy and specific projects unique to their communities.
Her role is event support, membership growth and social media for the club.   She attends 2 meetings a month and updates Facebook on a regular basis with the intent to train others to use it too.   Attending regular fundraising events with the club helping in the smooth running of the event and trying to create relationships between the club and local community business is a priority.

Altrusa International Convention this year.

With a little one on the way our family has been forced to look a little closer at the household budget along with our own time budgeting.  We are both extremely passionate about supporting our community in whatever way we can.  As you can imagine and like most other families at the moment, our purse strings have shortened so we have managed our time budget a little more to make more available for our community.

So whether you have a million dollars to give or just a bit of time, your community will appreciate it.

What makes us awesome? Tony Jackson


I was privileged enough in my life to meet Tony Jackson. Only twice but that was enough to be touched by this man. Unfortunately Tony was taken from us on Saturday 9th March, exactly one week after Ironman. An event he made his own.

Tony and Verna

Tony and Verna

Tony had competed and completed all 28 ironman New Zealand, one of only a few, but to do this he had taken a massive risk and beaten a brain tumour!
In 2008 he had been given 12 weeks to live after being diagnosed with Brain Cancer but his determination and a stroke of luck meant he could compete in the 2008 ironman in between radiotherapy treatment. On the Friday night the radiotherapy machine went off air so Verna (Tony’s wife) and Tony headed down to Taupo to compete in the race together.

“At one point a guy came running out of the darkness and said: ‘Are you Tony Jackson?’

“He said: ‘I have got the same thing as you, but I’m locked up in my house and afraid to go out the front door. I’m getting a bike tomorrow’.

“I thought if I could just switch somebody on that would be great and it’s the biggest feedback I’ve had.”

The Mt Albert resident is one of only two men to complete all 25 Ironman New Zealand races since the event began in 1985 on Auckland’s waterfront.”

An excerpt from an article on about tony in 2010.

Tony went on to complete the next 4 races in Taupo with the same gusto and enthusiasm he had always done so. When Ironman found out he would not be able to make it to this years event and probably not any more they retired the number 28 in respect of his 28 IMNZ completions. This is monumentius as it is only the second time in Ironman history worldwide that this has ever happened.

Retired Ironman Number

Retired Ironman Number

While this in itself is enough to make Tony awesome there was more I heard in the funeral that made him even more so. His sons including step sons had a story each to tell on the day and what came out of those stories, for me, was that Tony was a man who never had a bad word to say about other people. I don’t doubt that there may have been people in his life that he didn’t get on with but the boys don’t remember him saying anything bad or bad mouthing anyone in their life. That is something I would like to live by and something that I will strive to live in.

Secondly was the fact that they never saw him lose his temper. If the boys did something wrong, which some of them often did, he would give them the look, tell them to “go outside and play” and he would sort it out. Again I know there had to be times where he would have been pushed to the edge, been taken to the “the last straw” moment but the fact that he managed himself so well that he allowed people to make mistakes and deal with them in a calm, orderly manner speaks volumes for the man. This one I may struggle with a little, especially when I make some mistakes and lose my temper with what I am doing but I will try.

There are plenty of things that other people would think made Tony awesome but these are the things I will remember and use to hopefully make me a little awesome too.

Great Dance from year 2011 of Bell Baxter High School

Looking at this video makes me wonder how technology is advancing even more.

Looking at our old school ties and school halls involved in a YouTube hit gives me goose bumps.

This is great to see everyone get involved, teachers, principals and students alike.

Well done Bell Baxter for helping to produce such great relationships between my friends and I as well as all of the friendships I can see have developed in this year.