One of the most memorable adventures for us this summer was riding across the Golden Gate Bridge with the girls. Although Alan and I did it once with our nieces a few years back, Bridgette was too young to ride then. This time, Brianne and Bridgette were ready for a tandem bike, and we couldn’t have been more excited!
We stopped often to rest, to snack, and to just simply enjoy our beautiful surroundings. We especially loved the vast span of green in Crissy Fields, with a spectacular view of the Golden Gate bridge behind us.
Going down hill towards Sausalito was a bit scary for the girls, but we made it!
After a very fulfilling meal at Fish, we were ready to ride to the ferry station in Sausalito to catch the last ferry back to San Francisco. That was when Mimi started having trouble with her bike. Something felt loose and the pedals didn’t work properly. Since Brianne’s bike was attached to hers, she rode really slowly to be safe, and lucky for us, we stumbled across a bike shop not too far along the way. They were just about to close, but agreed to take a look at the bike for us.
God must have been really watching over us that day. The bike mechanic reported back that one of the primary screws were missing from the rear wheel of Mimi’s bike. Had Brianne’s bike not been attached to hers, the wheel would’ve probably flew off somewhere along the way. We were shocked, and none of us wanted to think about the “what if’s”……had it happened while she was going downhill towards Sausalito, or on the Golden Gate Bridge….
We called Bike and Roll, where we had rented the bikes, and they were very unhelpful. They basically told us we were too far away and that we can try to keep the receipt from the bike repair shop to ask for a reimbursement when we returned the bikes that night. The kind mechanic stayed late to help repair Mimi’s bike, thank goodness, and we were able to catch the last ferry back to Fisherman’s Wharf!
When we finally got back to Fisherman’s Wharf to return our bikes at Bike and Roll, I explained to the manager on duty what happened, and showed him photos to prove that the bike was missing the screw at the onset that morning. The fact that a rental bike could be rented out in such an unsafe condition showed a lack of professionalism on their part. They put their customers’ lives at risk by their carelessness and I felt strongly that they needed to take responsibility. To our disbelief though, he still charged us for the bike rental and when I tried to dispute it, he kept repeating his one liner of “sorry ma’am, there’s nothing I can do.”
Those who know me can probably predict what I would do the next day. The righteousness in me just couldn’t let this one slip. I called the store again the minute it opened the next morning, and asked for a corporate number to get a hold of someone who could make some decisions. After some bouncing around, I got hold of a senior staff member, who was appalled to hear what happened and how the situation was handled by his team. He immediately made arrangements to credit back our bike rental fees, and to reimburse us for the bike repair, along with a series of sincere apologies.
At the end of the day, it wasn’t so much the money that we wanted back. It was for the company to recognize their unsafe practices, and to take responsibility for them. Hopefully, our incident was a wake up call for them, and that no other rider’s life would be put at risk by someone else’s lack of training or pure carelessness!