Ok, this one was basically a cargo carrying fail, saved by desperation. That's a whole lotta disassembled bike piled up in the back, plus the kids. TL;DR is below.
First off, shout out to BicycleBlueBook.com in San Jose -- if you want a used or potentially new bike for cheap, add them to your list. They're on eBay and they ship, too. This is my third bike from them in the past year. They're not perfect, but many of their bikes are a really good deal.
I loaded up my SeaSucker folding cross bars + Yakima BOA bike mount and a pair of bike helmets, along with some of the usual payload: my overnight and messenger bags, one kid backpack, some parts for a school science project, along with both kiddos, for a jaunt from Oakland to San Jose to pick up a bike.
With the lockdown and all the "free" time, I decided to pick up an electric bike for my wife for riding around our hilly neighborhood. Our bike rides together always involve loading up the mountain bikes and driving to a trail, and I was thinking it would be awesome for her to have a utilitarian bike as a means, something she can use instead of the car, without it being "a bike ride."
Anyhow we arrived at Bicycle Bluebook and I rang the COVID-approved doorbell with my elbow
for our pre-paid pick-up. The first thing I notice is the 500-mile used Trek I'm being handed is the Wrong. Friggin. Size. They had it incorrectly listed as a Medium (17"), which would have been right at her threshold of being too big; in actuality it was a Large (20") which wasn't even close to cutting it for a 5'6" woman.
As an aside, I don't know how it is in other areas, but my county has deemed bike shops "essential service" status under transportation. As far as I know, they're closed as walk-in showrooms, but are permitted to service bicycles and can sell bikes, and the ones I'm familiar with are doing online purchase / in-person pick-up. Granted, we've driven into the neighboring county, but seems similar rules are being followed. During our 45 minutes we were there five other like-minded customers pulled in to complete similar transactions -- one in a brand new Model Y. 8o Nobody else got the wrong size bike or required disassembly to get them in their vehicles, so as you're about to find out I was just double-blessed with stupid luck / inept planning this day.
The employee there sincerely apologized for the size listing error, and swiftly refunded my PayPal. But I had had my eye on another bike they listed with all of 2 miles on it, a Raleigh that they took as overstock from another bike shop. I gave him the oh woe me
and he disappeared inside. When he returned he politely chopped the price down to within $200 of the used Trek's price. In keeping with policy, he emailed me a new "invoice," and I paid "online" -- from my phone, 6 feet from their front door, all legit and contactless. It wasn't the deal I was hoping for, but nevertheless a steal for a last-model-year essentially new bike.
I wheeled the new bike over to the i3 and installed the Sea Sucker crossbars on the roof, grabbed my Yakima Boa, and... WTF? The Yakima round bar clamp diameter is different than the Sea Sucker! Yep, today's SECOND size discrepancy! I don't know how this significant detail escaped me. The Yakima High Road racks that I normally use with these crossbars have done away with the familiar Yakima clamps / brackets, and use straps instead, so this was the first time I've run into this problem.
Well dang, now I've got this full-sized 48 pound bike, 700x50c wheels / tires, full fenders, and I'm one person short
of a fully loaded i3. Visions of both boys strapped into the front seat scooched all the way forward, faces up close to the dash, just wasn't cutting it for a 30 mile drive home.
I don't want to make this ordeal out to be an unmitigated disaster, but I busted out a 5mm allen wrench and removed the stem, so that I could remove the fork, so that *clink clink clink
* I could drop pieces of the headset all over the parking lot. Thankfully the ball bearings were caged and they more-or-less stayed put. Both wheels and the seatpost removed, and we managed to squeeze just about everything back in the car to where my youngest had a comfy wheel to lean against / doink him on the noggin for the schlep home. The cargo bay lid slid into the gap between the front passenger seat and door. Only one minor tire scuff mark on the headliner! I left the naked crossbars attached to the roof; there was really no good place to put them inside.
Moral of the story is... make stories!
Today was the first day my 8 year old excitedly wrote a complete full-page journal entry without much cajoling. Guess who got the first ride on my wife's new bike once we cobbled it back together?