Join Date: May 2000
Location: Dammam,Saudi Arabia
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There are approximately 150 good cyclists here in Saudi Arabia that I know of. I'd say approximately 10 are category 1 and 2 standard and there is a good club in the centre of the Kingdom. Almost all of us are expatriates from all over the world. Mostly British, with quite a few Americans, French, Danish, South African etc. There are no Professional cycling shops here, so everyone orders through mail, mostly from the UK. It works well, duties are 12% and most of the times if it comes by air mail there, is no duty. I use to buy mostly from the USA, using Colorado Cyclist, Bulltek Sports and later Excel Sports, who has the best service and International Shipping experience. I recently bought a complete bike, Colnago C40 from the UK and saved US$1400 compared to the best prices I could get in the USA. With the Internet we are becoming a global village and if I lived in North America, I would have saved at least US$1000 on the above purchase, taking into account the 15% duty you mentioned.
I listened to a talk by Tom Peters yesterday, where he explained how he ordered a Sony palmtop, specially configured for his needs, from his farm in Vermont. He did this over the Internet and had it delivered at his hotel in Scotland two days later where he was speaking at a conference.
I train with a French cylist who tells me prices of cycling goods in France are a lot cheaper than the UK, but as I don't speak good French I have not followed this up yet.
With the Internet, I guess it is just a matter of time, before anyone will be able to buy at the best price, from anywhere.