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  • Caroline Wright

On wheeling and dealing

Updated: Jan 14, 2021

I bought a new bicycle, but my excitement peeled away when the salesman who brought it out to me immediately sized me up. Literally - he said he'd like to see me in a medium rather than a small. He continued to show off pieces and parts of the system until I zoned out completely when I realized he had already placed the saddle as high up and far back as it would go. Since I officially owned the vehicle now, his job was to educate me on its features and how—Oh, did anyone tell you?—it's a "final sale."

I rode home uncomfortably, the whole process becoming a pain in my neck after a full year of research and just one short mile home. I went online to look up the FTC's rules on 'buyer’s remorse' and a customer's right to return purchases within three days, like I had done with a Bally Total Fitness membership in my early 20s. As it turns out, the "Cooling-Off Rule" does not apply to purchases made entirely over the phone (whoops), is iffy about motor vehicles (with no mention of bicycles), and states the receipt should show a return policy (missing from my papers).

You see, many bike shops were not fitting people during the COVID-19 pandemic. My height and inseam measurements placed me between a small and medium-sized bicycle and the sales rep who spoke to me by phone felt ‘fairly confident’ a small bike ‘should work.' Since inventories were at a critical low point around the globe, it could be two seasons before I’d be fitted for my preferred bike model in a different size or color than what was being offered. My insides were calling out to me—Be patient...what’s a few more months on an old bike?—but my heightened cortisol levels after several recent tube replacements on a hand-me-down had won me over.

Day Two into my raw deal, I called the bike shop back, who tried to sell me a mountain bike as a trade-in, an offer even further away from what I wanted. Next, I placed the bike for sale online, but found people didn’t want to pay full price for a ride that wasn’t coming straight from a shop. It was right about then I felt stuck as a tire in the mud.

Until, I had a wild thought: I could call the guy. Yeah, that one - the cycle pro who knows everyone at my local bike shop, including the owners. Same one who taught me about breadcrumbing:

When the "crush" has no intentions of taking things further, but they like the attention, so they'll flirt here or there, send messages, or even call sometimes, just to keep the other person interested. (Urban


Varieties of Yellow

Any given day of either season, a woman finds herself at a local grocer,

surrounded by tropical crescents, each giving his best (or worst) display

of affection, so she responds (or doesn’t). Eventually, a gal will pick a fruit

to her liking; handle it. When one makes it into her cloth bag,

labeled, "Please recycle," a lucky one goes home with her for a time.


on a rather slow day in produce,

a selected food is returned, the game


the same player now advertised

‘certified organic.’


I guess I wanted to right my problem more than I desired to avoid a wrong conversation, so I dialed Hansel's number. Additionally, I thought I was ready to fend off any false attempts of affection, this time. A few short rings and he picked up. I got straight to the point, and he got straight to helping, which felt nice. After calling in a favor, he knowledgeably walked me through the various non-mountain bike selections now available to me for exchange at the bike shop, and even steered me in a positive direction for a good bike rack model (win). After getting more than what I needed, and without getting emotionally invested, I gave many thanks, and bid him farewell (win-win).

However, Hansel didn’t say goodbye before insisting on a video chat later that evening to finish catching up. I politely declined, knowing full well his history of wishful thinking. Aware of a likely trap, I insisted we simply “talk soon.” By now, Hansel was throwing tastier breadcrumbs the longer I stayed on the line, and even went so far as laying out a plan of how we’d set up a video chat for that night.

Sure enough, later came and disappeared, without response to my follow-up inquiry about wanting to try again the next day. The only communication that followed, more than 24 hours later, was a wordless image of his stove clock showing the time, 11:11.

Ok, Hansel. One, last bite:

I wish... remember I’m actually not that hungry.


Luigia Zilli (Oakville, ON) is a mostly self-taught artist who gained training in sculpture and painting from skilled professionals in Italy and Canada throughout the years, including techniques such as fresco and trompe-l’œil.

Bicycles are rooted in her past - her father and brother were cyclists who introduced her to the sport at a young age. Growing up in Italy, cycling was the most practical way of getting around. Between trainings and racing, working for a TV show that broadcasted cycling, and watching grand tours on television, bicycles encompassed Luigia's life. When they were not in the forefront anymore, she began painting bicycles and their parts, to keep her memories and artistic muse alive. Her way of immortalizing bicycles drew the attention of several newspapers and magazines internationally.

Featured is her piece, "Thrill of the Win," made using acrylic paint on textured canvas to create a worn out roughness, exhibiting an equally deep and rich perspective.

Check out more of Luigia's works here.

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