A Bike Dream Deferred

What happens to a dream deferred?

Does it dry up
like a raisin in the sun?
Or fester like a sore–
And then run?
Does it stink like rotten meat?
Or crust and sugar over–
like a syrupy sweet?

Maybe it just sags
like a heavy load.

Or does it explode?

— Langston Hughes

About six weeks ago, I wrote about how I was planning to ‘upcycle’ to a Batavus Breukelen city bike. I’d spotted the bike at Raincity Bikes here in Vancouver, fell in love with it, and went back the next day to work out a payment plan. I’ve been paying a little bit at a time every pay day, and on Friday October 15, I left work early with a spring in my step because that was the day I would make my final payment and bring my bike home.

Except that’s not what happened.

What happened is I walked into Raincity Bikes and discovered that even though the bike was three-quarters paid for, they sold my bike to someone else.

Now, to be fair, they were chagrinned and deeply sorry. And they’ve said they would try to make things right and either move heaven and earth to get me the bike I’d been paying for from Fourth Floor Distribution, or they’d take a bike from their floor stock and upgrade it to a seven speed hub. I’ve half a mind to tell them I want the Workcycles Oma – a bike that cost one-and-a-half times what I paid for the Breukelen, but that just seems vindictive. I eyed the Pashley Princess Sovereign and the Batavus Fryslan, each a wonderful bike on its own, but I knew I wouldn’t be satisfied with either of them because they weren’t my bike. I only want my Breukelen.

But in a way, that’s almost beside the point. I’m not a lawyer, and we never signed a contract; essentially, all I have is a record of payments I’ve been making and an email from the owner saying he’d be willing to work out a payment plan with me. What I also don’t have is my bike.

I feel… cheated, and I’m not exactly sure if I even have the right to feel this way. I know they’re doing what they can to make amends, and when I speak to people in the store on the phone and in person, you can see all over their faces and hear in their voices that they realize just how badly they screwed up, and just how eager they are to make amends. I know all of that intellectually. But emotionally? It just effing sucks beyond belief.

It looks like I might end up with a Batavus Fryslan that has been upgraded to a 7-speed hub for at least a little while. I’ll keep you posted.

Author: Cecily

Cecily Walker is a middle career librarian who writes about libraries, management, front-end development, user experience, and life. She manages systems projects at Vancouver Public Library.

15 thoughts on “A Bike Dream Deferred”

  1. Ugh – that does really suck! They should do everything in their power to make it up to you, including giving you a big discount on whatever bike you want!

    1. They told me I didn’t have to make the final payment, which was nice, and made me feel less squeamish about paying so much for a new bike. I’m hoping to hear from them today with some news.

  2. wth? that sounds like one of those ‘it’s better to ask for forgiveness than ask for permission’ kind of deals. why are you worrying about being vindictive? hello? work them like they worked you. business is business. tell them you want that oma if that’s what you really want. it never hurts to anti up. what’s the most that can happen? either way, i’m glad they are willing to work something out with you. use that leverage to your advantage if possible.

    i ride a workcycle oma and love it to pieces. it’s the heaviest bike in town, but i still love it!

    1. What I really want is the Breukelen. I like the Work Cycles Oma, but I just can’t see riding such a heavy bike up hills. Maybe if I were thinner, I could, but the Breukelen felt lighter. Now, if they had a Work Cycles Secret Service in stock, that would be a different story.

  3. that secret service is so nice too! we hardly have hills here in the flatland of west palm beach. whenever i do encounter one, i am grateful that my oma has 8 speeds. i put it on a low gear and keep it s-l-o-w-l-y moving while i chant “healthy heart, healthy heart, healthy heart.”

    *i love your reply avatar. it cracks me up.*

  4. Hi Cecily- Carlossee’ here (pronounced car-low-SAY) from Cycle Chic America in Detroit, MI http://cyclechicamerica.blogspot.com/ It seems to me that the adage “this was not meant to be” comes in to play here. You will get the bike that you need when you need it is what I hope/believe for you. It seems to me that this LBS has given you an impression of how they might treat yo after the sale. Seems the shop could have contact you to say we might sell the bike and ask if you wanted to excelerate the pay time frame. Too bad for them but, no one I know would buy from them after such a thing. I did not get the chance to comment on your thread called Cecily Cycle Chic in which you pointed out your size and such and that the subculture was for women. Just an FYI there are loads of hetero, cycle chic men (I am an American born, English-American raised, Afro Cubano) who love women that look just as you described yourself so, do not use the models you describe as you rbenhmark for real beauty. I am a professional photographer, as well as, a custom pannier craftsman http://www.slide.com/mscd?nxcid=aCh5SwbzzD_jpSo-ekbnZiV1ERvcWMLr and I welcome a new attitude toward advertising for ANY product that uses real women with real curves as real men enjoy the confidence of a woman willing to ride her bike (dutch or ottherwise) in heels and a cute outfit. I wish we lived close so we could ride dressed to the nines whenever the spirit hit us. Be well!

    1. Sadly, they’re the only bike shop in Vancouver that carries this type of bike, so I either deal with them or not at all.

    1. So do I, Cathy. Part of me is thinking I should just get my money back. I don’t know why I’m being so wishy-washy about this.

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