Earlier this week we reported that after it had failed to get payment from TriBike Transport (TBT), New Jersey-based shipping company Horizon Entertainment Cargo was holding 180 bikes that belonged to athletes who had represented USA Triathlon at the world championship in Pontevedra, Spain.
In a lawsuit filed in California, Intelligent SCM, LLC (doing business as Horizon Entertainment Cargo) says it is owed US$319,731.27 and “has exercised its lien rights and is currently in possession of these 180 bikes” and maintained that it had the right to sell the bikes “at public or private sale or auction” unless it is paid by TBT.
The lawyer who filed the suit has told Triathlete Magazine that the company has no intention of selling the bikes and intends “to contact each of the bike owners to arrange of shipping cost and prompt return.”
Three of the 180 athletes with bikes that are being held – Bruce Williams, Robyn Williams and Tim Lundt – have now started a class action suit against Intelligent/ Horizon which claims that the shipper only has the right to seize TBT’s property in the case of breach of payment, not the property of the athletes using the TBT service. The suit cites the potential for over 100 additional claimants and also puts the value of the bikes being held at over $1 million.
“Day 56 we haven’t got our bikes back”
We caught up with one of the complainants in the class action suit, Tim Lundt, earlier today.
The race in Pontevedra was Lundt’s first world championship and, because he was travelling with his daughter and there were lots of flight connections, he decided to spend the US$785 on the TriBike service. He also spent an additional $50 to insure his bike, too.
Lundt says the TBT service came highly recommended, and found the company’s service in Spain was excellent. Well, until he got home and was waiting for his bike.
“It’s a mess,” Lundt said when asked about the situation. “I’ve worked a long time to be able to afford a tri bike, and then the first overseas world championship I go to, my bike doesn’t come back. This is day 56 that we haven’t got our bikes back yet.”
Lundt had intended to compete at the upcoming USA Triathlon Long Distance National Championship in Daytona, but has now pulled out because he “hasn’t had the quality of training without his tri bike.”
After getting his knee replaced three years ago, Lundt started to compete in Aquabike events and “is just getting strong enough to be competitive at a national level.” He finished ninth in the men’s 60 to 64 age group in Pontevedra and was the third American. He’s already qualified for next year’s World Triathlon Multisport Festival in Townsville, Australia, and intends to compete there. He says he won’t be able to afford the trip, though, if he has to pay for a new triathlon bike.
Lundt invested about US$6,000 in his A2 SP bike, which he figures is on the low end of the cost for many of the bikes being held by Horizon. Formerly a high school teacher in Alaska, Lundt moved back to Colorado a few years ago to be closer to his family. He started teaching again in Colorado “to be able to do the races and buy the bike.”
USA Triathlon looks to help find bikes
Lundt says that he and the other athletes affected by the TBT issues “didn’t hear a lot from USA Triathlon other than they were working behind the scenes.”
“I don’t think USA Triathlon has the money (to be able to recover the bikes),” Lundt says.
On Thursday TBT confirmed that it wouldn’t be providing any service to athletes competing in Daytona. Aware that there were athletes like Lundt who were hoping to compete in Daytona who still didn’t have their bikes, USA Triathlon has been trying to reach out to triathletes in the area to see if they can loan the athletes bikes they can use for the race.
Bikes in a warehouse in Chicago
Lundt says that some athletes have AirTags on their bikes and were able to trace them to a warehouse in Chicago. He spoke to an employee from Horizon at the warehouse who appeared to be sympathetic, but felt they had to hold onto the bikes because “that’s the only way we’re going to get our money back.”
TBT owes the shipping company over US$300,000. The shipment from Pontevedra wasn’t the only one that was at issue – Ironman has stepped in to help its athletes get their bikes from over five different events, including the Ironman World Championship in Kona, and has also helped get athletes bikes to Ironman events in Cozumel and Arizona. A source has confirmed that this is all at Ironman’s expense.
Earlier this week we did hear from TBT founder and owner Marc Lauzon who reiterated that “we have been and continue to do everything we can to get the bikes released as soon as possible.”
TBT did file a TRO (temporary restraining order) in North Carolina ordering Horizon to “relinquish possession of the bikes to TriBike so they could return them to Plaintiffs,” which is why, presumably, the bikes were moved first to New Jersey and then to Chicago. Horizon’s lawyer told Triathlete Magazine that “the order issued in North Carolina does not apply to the named defendants in the class action suit.”
None of which helps Lundt or the other athletes whose bikes are currently being held. Lundt is hopeful the situation will be remedied soon, but fears that “if, for some reason, Horizon does sell those bikes, that class action lawsuit could take some time.”