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Crunch Time.
Editorial by Tom Demerly.

Tom with US Marine

You've seen the speeches. Read the papers. Watched CNN.

We're going to war. Within 90 days.

Many concerns surround this, most much larger than this- however, this does have an impact on the sport of triathlons and specifically on buying a bike. I would be irresponsible if I didn't devote at least a few hundred words letting you know in advance what the ramifications of a war with Iraq are on buying a triathlon bike and going to triathlons will be this year.

In the past two weeks I have received two letters from our U.S. Colnago Distributor (Trialtir) and our U.S. Felt Distributor, Felt U.S.A. They both mention there will be a price increase of between 6% and 10% owing, at this point, to the weakness of the U.S. Dollar against foreign currencies, especially the Euro.

Last week I had a long conversation with a West Coast bicycle company who told me that in 2000 it cost $21 to ship a bike to us from their address via UPS ground. Now it costs $35. By the end of this year they told me it will be $85. Read that again- it will cost $85 to ship a bike from California to Dearborn, MI. That adds almost 5% to the price of a $2000 bike.

This morning in the paper (The Detroit News and Free Press, Business Section) there was a story about sales taxes being applied to Internet orders. This summer.

One of the primary terrorist threats that face the U.S. is seaborne cargo. If you saw the movie "The Sum of All Fears" you know what I am talking about. Homeland Security, The C.I.A., F.B.I., I.N.S. and Customs Service are all alert to the fact that organizations unfriendly to the U.S. are trying to smuggle everything from biological pathogens to nerve gas to dirty bombs to shoulder-fired anti aircraft missiles into the U.S. As a result, when a load of bicycles hits the West Coast or East Coast it gets inspected thoroughly. That results in a delay.

On January 4th a container of Felt bicycles landed in San Francisco or Long Beach, California. In that container were 16 bicycles we had sold. We have since received 4 of them. The rest are delayed. I am on the phone with either Felt or our Felt rep every single day. It's February 10th and those bikes still aren't here. The only thing I can do about that is beg you to buy your bike early.

Welcome to the post 9/11 world. Gas is going up, freight is going up, shipments are being delayed by security concerns.

What is my point? If you are going to buy a bike this year (or even NEXT year) buy it now. You will save a lot of money (maybe as much as $300 or 11% on a $2000 triathlon bike that will be $2300 by July). You will also get your bike in time for the racing season if you act on this within a week or two at most.

If you don't you'll either have to do without or pay more and wait longer. That isn't my fault, it isn't a sales tactic to try to get you to buy now. It is just the truth. If you've been watching the news you know what I'm talking about, you know it's true. If you think it won't have a real effect you're still living in the Sept 10th world, and that world is gone forever.

Also, all this is assuming nothing else happens.

I hate to be the bearer of bad news, but this is reality. There are many, many great things about America and Americans but one bad thing is that Americans continuously live in a state of denial and this naïve haze where they think, "Everything will be alright." Everything isn't all right. The world is in the process of going insane and there are real ramifications for all of us.

I've been doing this for a long time and I know that this information will fall of deaf ears for almost everyone. That is frustrating. This summer when someone comes in to buy a "Brand A" triathlon bike and we have to tell them it is $2399 and will take about 8 weeks to get they will say "But in February you told me $1999 and two weeks…." Problem is, it isn't February anymore.


© Tom Demerly, Bikesport Inc.
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