Hassles of getting a new bike


One of the shops could get a Surly Troll over, but it would have cost a fortune and would take a minimum of 2 weeks to get here. We contacted Velo Roy-O in Quebec City, the place where Tiphaine purchased her bike in the first place. The good news was that there was a frame of her size in store. In 48 hours, they could assemble the components and ship them. We told them to go ahead with it (Thanks to Julien!!). Including the shipping, it would have cost about the same as having a local Mexican shop to get us sorted anyway. Tiphaine had a friend with contacts at FedEx who took care of the shipping which turned out to be much more expensive than originally thought.

The bike arrived in Guadalajara’s customs. That’s when I received a call from the officer taking care of our shipment. In a broken English, I understood I needed to fill in some papers to release the bike from the customs, papers he was supposed the send me via email moments after we hung up. Two hours later, no news. I emailed him back and he informed me I needed to provide an invoice for the shipment, which I forwarded him. No news for the remainder of the day. I emailed back the following morning and got a quick reply asking to provide a Tax ID or an RFC number. At that point, there were many emails exchanged to explain I had none of these since I was just passing by with a 180 days allowance in the country. And this was a personal item, why would I have to provide such details? Without this number, he could not release the shipment. I had 2 options; hire a broker (which would cost a fortune) or find a friend/business with an RFC number who could help us. The hostel (thanks Monica and Hikuri Eco Hostel!) Where we were staying at accepted to help us. Andres, the customs agent, unleashed back in an email asking for an enormous amount of papers; financial situation, notary acts of the business, passport photo, legal documents and a bunch of documents we needed to sign. It took two days to sort out the papers and return them to Andres. Without these, the bike could not be cleared from customs.

Once the papers sent to Andres, the long wait started. He told us it would take 1 or 2 days for our shipment to be processed and as soon as he gets an update, he would inform us. But because it was late Thursday afternoon doubt we would hear back the next Friday. Furthermore, we guessed the customs officers didn’t work on the weekend so we hoped for a reply the following Monday. Just before lunch on Monday, I send an email to Andres asking what was happening with our shipment and that we didn’t hear anything for almost 4 days now; I purposely included Saturday and Sunday. This triggered an exchange of several emails regarding the status of the shipment; it would be ready soon, there was an issue with the invoice but it has been solved, that he would tell me as soon as the shipment would be released today or tomorrow. Then he went silent.

Tuesday afternoon, still no email from Andres. We always looked at the online FedEx tracking, just in case. This time, the red color of the timeline was replaced with the FedEx blue-violet and a new event was recorded; shipment had been released by customs. We couldn’t believe it. After almost a week, there was a change. There was even an expected delivery date: and it was on Tuesday! But by 8 PM, no delivery truck had stopped by. Maybe they deliver later here, we thought. We settled in for a long night of not much sleep due to the excitement.

The following morning we were on FedEx tracking not long after 7h to discover a new event was logged; our shipment arrived in San Luis Potosi. At 7h15 I received an email from another employee from FedEx informing us a shipment was on our way and we needed to pay customs fees and import taxes, which we’d pay upon reception. Not long after, the tracking showed the package was on its way. We received news from Andres at around 8h30, saying the shipment left the customs in Guadalajara and it would cost x amount of money, details we received an hour earlier. So long for the trust with FedEx customs agents in Mexico.

As I came back from doing the groceries, I turned the corner of our street to see a FedEx truck leave the front of our hotel. Tips had stayed in case they showed up, we didn’t want to miss that delivery! I walked in the hostel small lobby to see Tiph with a large smile. Her bike had arrived. Despite having been protected when packing, the crankset broke got through the box and was damaged. A few teeth on the big chainring were broken and twisted. We pulled the bike out and saw a brake lever was also damaged beyond repair. But that was it.

We took the afternoon to assemble Tiphaine’s new bike, go to a bike shop to replace the broken brake lever and fix the damaged chainring (Thanks Bicicletas Villasenior!), pick up our laundry and test Tiph’s new ride. After almost two and a half weeks off, filled with emotions while doing nothing much apart from updating my website and catching up with articles, watching movies and strolling around town, it’s time to go back on the road.

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Author: Pascal Lachance

I'm Pascal, cyclist, travel lover, software developer by trade and an enthusiastic photographer. I'm now cycling around the world, take the time to visit as many places as I can!