We get a steady drip of inquiries from near San Francisco for bakfietsen. We’ve sold a few, but often, the ~$500 cost of shipping these rather large and heavy bikes one at a time kills the interest, what with no opportunity even to touch and take a test ride first. Well, what if we were to fill up a big rental truck with them to get the per-unit shipping cost down, and make arrangements to show them and provide some support? We’re pretty confident that several truckloads would sell pretty quickly this way (as they have in much smaller Portland), with the probable result that an (unaffiliated) full-service Bay Area dealership would open sooner rather than later.
We’re talking with people about making this happen. So, if you live near the Bay Area and would like to get on board for close to the Portland cost, speak up! Leave a comment. Will you, for one, welcome your new bakfietsen overlords?
UPDATE, 6 November:
WeÃ¢â?¬â?¢ve thought this through. It doesnÃ¢â?¬â?¢t make a lot of sense for us to bring bikes down to San Francisco without them being pre-sold. ThereÃ¢â?¬â?¢s too much uncertainty in terms of storage requirements, and in time required to arrange test rides. Also, as Mark points out, if the sale occurs in California, the tax is significant. What we can offer, however, is free shipping and a chance to test ride and still get most of your money back if you just donÃ¢â?¬â?¢t like it.
HereÃ¢â?¬â?¢s what we propose:
- Tell us what you want in terms of color and size options, where applicable. When we make a match, weÃ¢â?¬â?¢ll hold the bike for a 1/3 deposit. The deposit is fully refundable if you change your mind.
- When we get enough bikes on hold to fill a truck and generally make it worth our while to drive them down (say 8-12), weÃ¢â?¬â?¢ll set a small delivery date range (such as the weekend after next), and we will request full payment, no tax. Then weÃ¢â?¬â?¢ll deliver your bike, no charge.
- Test your bike. WeÃ¢â?¬â?¢ll adjust it and walk you through the modest maintenance weÃ¢â?¬â?¢d normally do after 30 days. If you donÃ¢â?¬â?¢t want the bike, we will still refund all but $300 of the purchase price to mitigate our costs in trucking it down and back (20 hours in an ornery rental rig). Consider taking up owner DennisÃ¢â?¬â?¢ gracious offer of an advance test ride in his comment below. WeÃ¢â?¬â?¢d love not to have to drive bikes and the truck back up.
If not enough people order bikes in a reasonable timeframe (say 6 weeks), weÃ¢â?¬â?¢ll offer to ship the bikes for half of the actual shipping cost.
WeÃ¢â?¬â?¢ll deliver to one or more places central to the majority of people ordering. This means you should be prepared to ride the bikes home, or else have the means to haul them. For bakfietsen, forget car racks: think pickup with 8Ã¢â?¬â?¢ bed. Larger wagons can usually handle city bikes. WeÃ¢â?¬â?¢ll try to be accommodating of door-to-door delivery requests but need to avoid what could turn into several days of motoring around from Santa Rosa to Gilroy to Stockton and so on.
We have very limited supplies of certain city bike models and sizes, so reserve the right not to offer all of them for free or discounted delivery. This is mainly a bakfiets promotion, to help defray their normally very high freight cost.
The success of this plan depends on us getting enough orders in short enough a time, so tell your friends; spread the word.
We lived in San Francisco for 9 years before moving to Portland in 2004. We know there are many vanguard families in many communities down there for whom a bakfiets can replace a car, just as many dozens of Portland families have discovered to our proudest satisfaction.