TriBike Transport is struggling to re-establish financial footing today, with some athletes' bikes in transit facing an uncertain destiny, while IRONMAN stepped in to backstop the fate of athletes traveling to and from its events. Below is the immediate situation facing athletes who have recently used or intend to use TriBike Transport to get their bikes to races.
The two most important TriBike Transport (TBT) partners whose athletes are caught in logistical purgatory are IRONMAN and USA Triathlon. Facing the specter of bikes-in-transit stranded, and drivers idled, IRONMAN stepped in to backstop TBT and took over certain critical logistical tasks. Athletes whose bikes are on their way to IRONMAN Cozumel and Arizona should not be concerned that their bikes will not greet them at these events nor – says IRONMAN – will their bikes fail to make their ways back to the participating TBT bike shops from whence they were shipped.
IRONMAN’s white knight commitment to its athletes’ race experiences commenced last week and will extend through IRONMAN Arizona. It will cease for races beyond these. The use of TBT for IRONMAN events in Indian Wells, CA, or Haines City, FL, is in doubt, which means participating athletes would likely need to consider potential alternatives for bike transport to those events. Athletes scheduled to compete in the CLASH Daytona event, taking place the first weekend in December, are in the same boat.
Athletes who have not gotten bikes back yet from Kona, or Nice, France, or Lahti, Finland – other races serviced by TBT in recent months – should probably not be concerned about bikes making their way to the TBT partner bike shops from whence they came. They are – says TBT – unaffected by the current cash crunch threatening other TBT customers.
Bikes belonging to those who used TBT for the World Championship race in Pontevedra, Spain, are in a logistical purgatory. TBT claims the freight forwarder used by TBT to transport those bikes from the U.S. – Horizon Entertainment Cargo (HE Cargo) – is holding that consignment of bikes pending unpaid invoices. The bill for the Pontevedra shipment is roughly $70,000, but TBT also owes for travel to Nice and Lahti and the total outstanding exceeds $300,000.
TBT claims that HE Cargo cannot legally hold hostage a consignment not owned by the customer, nevertheless HE Cargo has not released these bikes so that they can be returned to their owners. TBT says it has filed and was granted a restraining order, in North Carolina court, but HE Cargo has these bikes in a facility in metro-Chicago. TBT intends to pursue the matter in the North Carolina jurisdiction, while HE Cargo has filed its own lawsuit against TBT in Los Angeles, CA. "TBT made every effort to negotiate the release of the bikes but has not been able to reach an agreement with HE Cargo," wrote the company's owner, Marc Lauzon.
Telephone messages to Alex Knowles, the manager of HE Cargo signing the California-based Complaint, and to Robert Aronson, the attorney of record, were not immediately returned.
TriBike Transport adamantly maintains that the current events notwithstanding, it is not bankrupt but is continuing to operate and is in a period of restructure to bolster its financial foundation.