I’ve received a lot of support over the past month or so from all sorts of people regarding my stolen bike and I’d first like to say thank you. I had hope– even certainty– that the bike would return, but your kind thoughts soothed my questioning mind from wondering how humanity has come to this.
Those of you that did not notice (and this would be surprising considering how impatient everyone’s been to hear this dan story!), my bike was snatched Monday, March 24th. Anyone paying attention to my Facebook page surely noticed me rejoicing at its return two days later.
It’s taken me so long to share the story of its trip back home because of my workload as of late has about doubled, due to external factors (good weather means cyclists come out of hibernation) as well as internal ones (Paul Adkins leaving us!).
It turns out though that we must forgive Paul as he was instrumental in the safe return of said bicycle. And it should come as no surprise that I was at work on Wednesday, March 26th trying to bust out some after hours emails when I get a call from him. See, Paul and his family of six are carfree and so their Family Triple Tandem is like a Eugenian Escalade.
Paul and his olde kids, son Torrent and daughter Rainey were on the way from their Whiteaker (Eugene’s “ghetto” to the clueless, this is the hip, happening “heights” to the true Eugene downtown) home to Cosmic Pizza to see a performance by Uncle Bunkle. The kids noticed a tikit riding by– in fact, one that looked a lot like a certain salesperson’s recently stolen bike. An alarm sounded through the chain of command until, at last, the captain was notified.
BRING ABOUT! FULL SPEED AHEAD! The stokers cranked hard whilst the captain steadied the wheel and at last, they were upon her. Paul explained the situation and the lady who was riding it seemed generally compliant.
She explained that someone, perhaps being chased, had jumped the fence around her relatively quiet southwest Eugene (where the bike was stolen) property and ditched the bike! She didn’t see it but, her grandma apparently did. She called the cops and they told her to hold onto the bike until the odd chance happened that they found the owner (really?! this seems fishy).
She was excited that perhaps a free bike had appeared on her doorstep and her husband seemed even more thrilled. He stripped the bike, removing the decals (again, fishy), the headbadge, even the little plastic logo plate on the FMF cranks. He then proceeded to remove every accessory except for a white blinky light, including a bar end bell, a Planet Bike light, a Detours seat bag, and a Soma coffee cup holder, an adjustable wrench, a Crank Brothers multi tool, a Quik-Stik tire lever and a Crank Brothers pump, my beloved Park glueless patch kit, my BF double sided front rack, a couple rack bungees, and even my CatEye bottle cage and tikit handle! Seems like a lot of time and effort to put into making a distinctive bike all the less distinctive, no?
Well, it gets weirder. So Paul calls me while detaining her and I rush down there with the showroom’s Travel tikit and a BikeRev heavy duty trailer big enough for another. We agree to meet at a certain location she dictates off Blair and 5th. Worse yet, when I arrive, no one is there. I guess they had to move. Paul almost thought he might need to go into pursuit mode, he later tells me, as she takes off real fast at first but either decides it’s futile or just calms down. Anyways, I call Paul’s home after wandering around a bit and get redirected to an apartment on North Grand.
At long last, there she was! I could barely contain myself. Paul’s magnetic personality had drawn a crowd of interested local folks who were as much amazed by the bike’s engineering genius as its price. In between appeasing the masses with folding demonstrations, I checked my baby for signs of abuse. The aforementioned rape and pillaging notwithstanding, she was in as good of shape as when I last saw her. I made some adjustments to the sizing to better fit her to me.
Well, I was hoping to stick her in the trailer and take off but we had to let the lady ride the bike to some other place where her husband was or something (never quite could make sense out of the story) which interestingly enough was on W 5th Alley, right nearby the locale I thought we were first going to. Along the way, she road all over the road, in the other lane, no helmet, lackadaisically telling us a tale about how when she first tried the bike she almost got bucked off by the fixed gear. Then when we get there, as collateral and proof that she would get back to me all the accessories, she gave me her phone number and the holder to her MP3 player. In retrospect I probably should have demanded the MP3 player, but oh well.
I say this because at first she said she would come visit and never did. Then when I called she said she was busy and would have to call me back. Then she hung up on me. Then I left messages on her voice mail. Then her voice mail message became a generic message. When I called the police to report the bike found, I explained the whole story and told them about this so clearly they tried to call the number, with the same results. I have, to this day, never seen the stuff returned. But I still have the holder to the MP3 player for evidence, if I could ever convince the cops to do any sort of fingerprinting. Unlikely, sadly.
There was good that came out of this whole experience. For one thing, I learned to take seriously everyone’s caution to lock the bike up, despite how short of a time you expect to go in the store or how visible the bike is. If I’m going in for the long haul, I make sure to fold the bike up before locking it, but I always lock it, even if it is just to itself. As suggested by one of the folks on the Bike Friday security page, I bought a set of Master Lock Street Cuffs (I use the single link version). What’s really cool is that fitting it onto the tikit, just ahead of the piece that holds the seatmast when folded, it does not get in the way of folding, and it means that one half of the locking process is already done.
Secondly, I got a bunch of new bits, including a hyperfold cable again (I think she tweaked the stem clamp when she almost bit it), Dimension moustache bars (WAY cheaper than Nittos), a Detours Digi Midge stem bag, which is perfect for the garage door opener, an Arkel seat bag, and a cool SKS Revo Alu pump with an integrated gauge. I had some lights kicking around that I fit on and got all the rest of the other bits. Still trying to figure out what I’m going to do as far as covering the bars is concerned. That electrical tape kind of stinks. I’m thinking of getting, despite the vegan in me screaming “NOOOOOO!” the Ciclo Di Cuoio leather sew-it-your-self tape. We’ll see.
As a final touch a few days ago I finally fitted on the tikit Aardvark Safety Upgrade Kit. You can see it here in a highly polished version so as to stand out and make it clear what the final product will look like for all you people wondering. On that note, the kits are currently in production and are relatively simple, so don’t sweat it. No machine shop or even bike shop needed. They are currently being installed on all bikes being shipped out. I believe the plan is to eventually make the upgrade a permanent member on the frame, but Rob’s on vacation and even discussion about that will have to wait until he returns.
Another change is planned: the new Sturmey Archer S3X three speed fixed gear hub! At long last it is finally going to be made again. I talked to the guy who distributes for them in the US and he says they’re going to make a freewheel driver for them first at request of some of their bigger OEM buyers, though I’m not sure why they don’t just get a standard three speed. In any case, it will be nice to share the joy of some new exciting bike part with my best bike buddy.