November 26, 2014

"We prepared ourselves mentally to lose everything"

Here's a bona fide recovery story for you, folks, after last week's downer.

The theft happened in August. A month and a half into their year-long bike trip from Alaska to South America, Australians Anna Suthers and Billy Barnetson stopped at Mt. Vernon, Washington's Skagit River Brewery for dinner. But before they had finished eating, their bikes—laden with gear and valuables—were gone:

All was not lost, however. In mid October—by which time the intrepid Aussies had made it to Los Angeles—the Skagit Valley Herald reported not only arrests but also recovery of at least some of the stolen property, bikes included. Then, late last week, the Herald informed its readers that a 24-year-old man was sentenced to 43 months in prison in connection with the theft of the Australian couple's rigs. Two others also face charges and will go to trial in January. No word on where Suthers and Barnetson have gotten to now...

November 21, 2014

Douglas in Dallas

A guy in Dallas named Douglas has Reed Albergotti's bike. Albergotti's 2008 Ridley Noah with its custom blue-and-orange paint job and its owner's last name emblazoned across the top tube.

Albergotti's Ridley was stolen from his apartment's locked bike room in San Francisco, sold at a flea market in San Jose, and bought on eBay for a third of its retail price by the aforementioned Dallas Doug.

Wall Street Journal reporter Albergotti knows all of this, and can't do anything about it.

When I read the title of Albergotti's WSJ piece—"The Day He Found His Stolen Bike on eBay"—I assumed it would be a recovery story. I was primed for the pick-me-up: Whoever bought the writer's bike online, I figured, would, when s/he learned it was stolen property, return it to its rightful owner, cutting a loss, sure, but maintaining a clear conscience.

Not Douglas. When Albergotti at last contrived to get San Francisco police on his case—this alone took some doing—a sergeant spoke to Doug the eBay buyer. Doug soon stopped returning calls, though, and the sergeant told Albergotti there was nothing he could do.

So there's more resignation in Albergotti's story than resolution, but it just might convince you to get renters insurance. (Albergotti credits a policy with making his loss "a lot less painful," and he credits his "responsible wife" for securing the policy.)

November 12, 2014

GBC=Giant Bike Chain?

I've written about bike racks before, and a slideshow of those I've encountered on my travels now appears in BTB's sidebar. I got wind (from my father—thanks Dad!) last week of a half-dozen sculptural bike racks recently installed in downtown East Lansing.

Funded—to the tune of $20,000—by the Lansing Economic Area Partnership, the Downtown Development Authority, and the East Lansing Arts Commission, the installation is "part of the city's efforts to bring more art into the everyday life of residents" (according to the State News clipping my dad sent me).

My parents saw the racks being installed and claim that they're more impressive in real life than in the State News' photos. Still, I like what I see. I'd gladly lock my bike to GBC with its 694 pounds of stainless steel, and I applaud the message conveyed by Budget Friendly. My perennially tight hamstrings may not permit me to assume the position, but Bicycle Yoga's interpretation of the standard bike rack geometry makes me smile. As does this quote from Paul Such, the creator of the colorful Circle Back: "We wanted to do a circular thing because bikes have a lots of circular motion going on."

Check out the gallery and, never fear, signage on the sidewalk underneath the racks will inform cyclists of the practical purpose the artwork is intended to serve.

November 5, 2014

That Special Place in Hell

Gearing up for ARTCRANK DC on Saturday, I came across this piece by Denver artist Josh Holland while perusing the ARTCRANK Facebook page:

Now I have a "Death to bike thieves" sticker on my bike and considered using that phrase as the title of this blog, so I get where Holland's coming from. Here's how he puts it on the print's page in his online store: "My design is dedicated to anyone who has ever had their bike stolen, and to the special place in hell reserved for bike thieves. Catharsis!