A note from Ryan, SoCal Sessions Editor-in-Chief
“You dirty muther-fucker. You sonova…you low down, thieving squirrel eater. You dickwad, jerkfaced, asshole. You, you, you…you BASTARD.”
That moment when you realize someone has stolen your bike from you is hard to describe. Anyone who considers themselves a “Biker” will understand. The sinking feeling in the pit of the stomach. Instant panic. The burst of anguish, quickly engulfed by anger usually expressed in the form of stuttering curse words. A part of you has been taken. A part of you has been stolen.
These emotions run through their life-cycle quickly turning into resignation. The odds of recovering a stolen bicycle are generally slim to none. They say between 2-5% depending on the survey you find. And that is even with our ability to get on social media and spread the word instantly.
Someone entered my gated 4-unit complex. Walked past my front porch. Past the neighbors into the common area. They knocked over an unlocked bike, cut through a cable I was assured was the strongest thing out there like it was butter and stole the black on black Schwinn Cutter that we named The Night Rider. The Night Rider is the main character in the short film we’ve been working on all summer.
The bike was chained to another much more expensive bike, underneath a security floodlight, blocked on all sides by other courtyard type stuff. It is not visible to any street or alley. It was a targeted attack. Someone knew it was there and decided to take it. Those dirty scoundrel muther… You get the picture.
Once it’s gone, and it was gone, then what? Then I had to decide if it was worth any effort to try and get it back. And the answer was yes. It is YES. Do what you can. That was MY bike.
My Wife & I hit social media early, fliered local bike shops, filed a report and on and on. My bike is still gone, probably for good, but something else happened too. People reached out. My “Stolen Bike” flier was reposted over and over on Twitter, Instagram & Facebook. People texted me with stories of their bike and promised to keep their eyes peeled. Local bike shop owners posted fliers & spread the word. People threatened harm on the thief (don’t do that please!) if they happened upon them, or swore an oath to steal the bike back if they came across it. Some of these people were close friends and some I had never even met. It didn’t matter because to them I was a fellow biker in need.
In a few short hours I was overwhelmed. First with the emotion of losing my bike and my friend. Then with how hard the bike community will support it’s own. Not only will they support you but they will lift you up. They will make you realize or remember that 90% of people are good, do good and want good things for you. The other 10% are dickwads. Fuck them. The important thing is to focus on the 90% good & not let the other 10% get you down.
Thank you to all who have helped, liked, shared etc our stolen bike. You are CHAMPIONS! Fucking Champions all. Thank you all for helping me, us maintain our faith in community. Though the trail is growing cold we still have hope. And if it is gone forever I hope it ends up in the hands of someone who doesn’t know it was stolen. Who loves it. Who rides the shit out it, and someday passes it along to someone else to do the same.
Things you can do if have your Bike Stolen:
- DOCUMENT: Take pictures and notes about the theft. Where, when, what etc.
- FILE A POLICE REPORT: In San Diego you can do it online. The sad truth is that bike thefts rank somewhere below jaywalking & somewhere above…well nothing we can think of in the list of police priorities but having a report will help if you try to file an insurance claim or end up discovering your stolen bike somewhere.
- PLASTER IT ON SOCIAL MEDIA: The more people that see pictures of your bike the more likely it is to be recovered or noticed.
- GO TO LOCAL BIKE SHOPS: Do this as fast as possible. A bike stolen to resell might end up there quickly. Plus bike shop owners & employees have a pulse on the stolen bike market in your neighborhood. Sometimes they even know who does a lot of the stealing. It helps to have a printed flier to give them with a picture and details. Doesn’t have to be fancy.
- POST ON CRAIGSLIST: Post a “Stolen” bike in the bikes for sale section. And monitor the “Bikes for Sale” category for a time to see if your bike pops up. It happens.
- Don’t ever, ever risk getting hurt to get your bike back. We get it. Your bike should be avenged. If you see your bike on the streets be careful. The person who stole it is obviously a deranged nutbag with no soul. They are capable of anything and likely on drugs that make them feel bad instead of good. Confronting someone physically generally leads to more bad than good.
- Don’t get arrested either. That’s more of a headache than buying a new bike.
Things you can do BEFORE you have your Bike Stolen:
- DOCUMENT: Take pictures of it & record the serial number to provide to the police or verify it’s yours if recovered. If you don’t have the serial number it will be hard to prove it’s yours even if it does have the New Belgium sticker on the post you put there after last years Tour De Fat.
- LOCK IT UP & MAKE IT LOOK DIFFICULT TO STEAL: When you lock your bike make sure you get the frame and both tires if possible. Combine U-Locks & Cables or Chains. Do as much as you can to make it look like it’s gonna be a huge pain in the ass to steal.***
- MAKE IT VISIBLE or INVISIBLE: Lock it up where you can see it or it would be hard for someone to steal without taking as big a risk as you can make them take. If there are security cameras around even better.
Or if you can, bring it inside. The more barriers between a thief and your bike the better.
- PERSONALIZE IT: Put a sticker on it, or document a scratch or unique mark that will help make it identifiable later on.
Good luck. Stay biking. Stay Golden.
***If some D-Bag wants to steal your bike and is motivated enough to do so there isn’t much that can be done to stop them. The fact is a little motivation & a lack of morals can create a fairly successful bike thief. They are part of the 10%. Don’t let them bring you down. Fuck ’em.