Thursday, July 15, 2010

Paying it Forward: A Costly Lesson Learned

As you may or may not recall, I recently purchased a 10 speed Motobecane Nobly online with the hopes of it becoming my "beater" or extra bicycle. It was going to be a bicycle to take on our camping/bicycle tour of the Midwest. It was going to be the extra bicycle for a friend to ride while they visited. It was going to be the bike to ride when the Pashley was getting spruced up, or for any other reason that one may need an extra bicycle.

When the bicycle arrived, Sam promptly pulled it out and went to work putting it together because we only had a few days until we were departing on our road trip. When he went to put it together, he discovered that the rear derailleur was broken and that several nuts and bolts were missing. So, I emailed the man I bought the bicycle from and explained the situation. He replied that he stated in the ad that it would be sent not put together. I felt as though I was speaking in a foreign language. I stated that I wanted to return the bicycle and asked for the return address to send it back to him. After a long bout with trying to get the address, I discovered that it would cost me $120 to send the bicycle back to him, at which point I realized I had been had. Now, I don't consider myself a person who falls for much. After all, I had many pictures to see the bicycle and it looked in decent shape for a 70's bicycle, but in all reality it is a complete POS, and without a lot of money and time, it would not be ridable. I was so sad, and we only had a day before we left.

To make this story shorter, we ended up at a garage sale in Ft Collins the afternoon before we left and purchased a 1976 (a fine year, if I do say so myself) Raleigh/Triumph 3 speed bicycle.

Poor Sam only had a few hours to check it out and make it functional for the trip. After buying new tires and tubes, we also learned that the bicycle doesn't have 26" or 28" wheels, but in fact it came with 27" wheels. Regardless, he was able to get it going and it functioned just fine for the trip (though I do have plans to make it a little "nicer" than it is in its current state). Anyway, when we got back from the trip, Sam tried to make the Motobecane work as he'd received the piece he needed for the rear derailleur. It turns out that the front derailleur was also not functional, and it was having some serious issues.

We had some discussion about what to do with the bicycle. We could put the money into it to try to restore it (it would've taken quite a bit), or try to re-sell the bicycle on Craigslist or E-bay, but ultimately, I thought the best thing to do was to take something incredibly stupid and costly I had done and try to help someone else. While I don't want someone else to get stuck with something, I also know they won't be charged what I was for the bicycle, so they will probably have a few extra dollars to put into it. Today, I ended up taking the bicycle to the Longmont Humane Society Thrift Store, and it made me feel good to know that it will at least help the animals still looking for their forever homes. While I feel like a complete dolt for falling for something so stupid, I remain hopeful that it will be beneficial for someone out there who has the time and energy to put into it. After all, how can anyone not want to help faces like Kiley here.
Hopefully, I have learned my lesson from this little round of find-the-perfect-bicycle, and I can only hope that it is a pay it forward kind of situation, and something good will come out of it all.

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