Tuesday, February 28, 2006

Back where they belong

Few things are as hard to swallow as having your bike stolen. But sometimes life takes a poetic turn, and bitter pain is rewarded by sweet revenge. The owner of a boosted Eddy Merckx bike in Portland learned that a few days ago when a sharp-eyed restaurant hostess recovered his ride.

Uh, huh. A restaurant hostess. The ripped-off bike owner had put the word out to the local riding community, and the bike showed up at a restaurant when the thieving scumbag showed up to apply for a job. The hostess, who is a cyclist, thought the guy and his bike were a little mismatched, so she called a friend who’s a shop mechanic. He knew about the missing bike and filled her in.

She called the cops, had the thief fill out his job application, and even got him to write a personal check to pay for a pre-employment background check.

Guess what was parked on his front porch when The Man showed up.

Yeah, baby.

One asshole busted. One happy owner reunited with his bike. Read all the details over at BikePortland.org, where Jonathan Maus maintains a registry of bikes stolen in the Portland metro area. Thanks to his site, two bikes have been recovered so far this month.

Who says there are no happy endings?

I know an Anchorage rider who had an almost-new Santa Cruz Blur stolen off his roof rack a year ago last September. He had finally treated himself to a really nice bike after years on and old, entry-level hardtail and then bang, it’s gone. Not to mention that his rack was mauled.

He worked his way through the post-theft funk, replaced his bike with a used Blur and bided his time through the winter.

One day in spring, his phone rang. A piece of human trash had just walked into a pawn shop while a local bike dealer happened to be there. LBS guy saw the Blur and sprung into action. The cops were called, my friend was called, and bada-bing, bada-boom, another bike comes home to daddy. (That's him riding it in the photo, more than a year after it was stolen.)

It was even recovered in good shape. Just a couple of scratches. Battle scars with a story behind them.

Fortunately, it's happy story.

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