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How did your bike get stolen?

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How did your bike get stolen?

Old 09-27-20, 09:13 PM
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How did your bike get stolen?

For those of you who have had the misfortune of this happening, what were the circumstances?

Where was the bike (e.g., outside of a store, restaurant, work, school, etc.)? How long was it unattended?

Was it locked? If so, what kind of lock?

Did you ever get it back?
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Old 09-27-20, 09:22 PM
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rosefarts
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First time, I was 16. Left bike outside of work unlocked, I have no idea why I thought that would work. Gone. Got it back a few months later minus the paint.

Second, locked in front of a grocery store for about 15 minutes. It had a Bell brand cable lock that was cut. Looking at it, it had a thick plastic sheath and very little cable. I felt ripped off.

I don't ride to get places anymore, so chance of theft is very minimal. That and I'll only use u-locks now.
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Old 09-27-20, 10:12 PM
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First bike stolen was a 1969 Raleigh Record that I bought from my buddy Freddy for $10.00. I locked it to a light pole outside of Goldblatts with a hardware store chain and Master combination lock, the kind you would lock your school locker with. I went in to buy a pair of Levis bell bottom pants. When I came out of the store, the only thing left was the chain and lock.

Second bike stolen was my beloved Miyata 912 that I had built from Campy and other but not lesser parts. I rode that bike everywhere for about 6 years, all four seasons in Chicago's sometimes brutal weather. After work one Friday, my co-worker and I decided to get a few beers at a bar so I threw my bike in the back of his van and we looked for a place to throw back a few. When we returned to the van, it had been emptied out, bike, back-pack and my coworkers tools. That one hurt.
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Old 09-27-20, 11:49 PM
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Only had a bike stolen once. A 1981 Schwinn LeTour. Was in the Navy living in a ship yard. Only place to lock it was some distance from the ship. Can't remember what lock it was, but being a shipyard and all the industrial tools available it really didn't matter. I must have missed the thief by just a bit, there were still wet tire tracks through a dry part of the pavement.
Never saw the bike again, but to the Navy's credit they reimbursed me for the loss, than made a bike rack available on the barge we were living on to reduce the risk of future thefts.
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Old 09-28-20, 04:30 AM
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The first time was when I was 18. I rode my new Dawes Galaxy to high school and locked it to the rack, near some other pretty good bikes. Mid-morning, a flatbed truck with 4-5 guys drove into the school parking lot (back before school security was a thing) and loaded the entire bike rack, with 5-6 bikes still locked to it, into the truck and drove away. No bike recovery.

The second time was in 1990 in Monrovia, Liberia. My home was looted during the civil war there, including my Schwinn Super LeTour 12-speed bike.
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Old 09-28-20, 05:35 AM
  #6  
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In my house. Not locked. We inadvertently left the door unlocked a week before Christmas. Thief took my LHT, probably because it was oriented to roll out the door quickly. Left the two custom IFs that were hanging on a wall mount behind. We were home watching the late news in bed.
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Old 09-28-20, 06:09 AM
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I have had many bikes stolen but the one that stung the most was this fixie conversion I’d done myself for sixty five bucks and a lot of pulls out of my take-offs bin. An old Bridgestone touring frame that fit me perfectly and was as comfortable at the end of the day as the beginning. I would ride that bike out to Coney Island from Lower Manhattan and back again probably five times a week. Its theft was especially regrettable because it was so easily preventable.

This was back in the day and my then gf had just gotten her second apartment in a slightly less questionable neighborhood than her first/previous one but still in a pretty crummy part of the city. I was about to bring the bike into her building to drag it up the six flights of stairs to her apt when she goes, “Oh, you don’t have to do that. You can just lock it up right down here. I do it all the time. It’s fine.”
I tell her I’ve already had a couple of bikes stolen in the area and ask her how familiar she could possibly be with the neighborhood when she just moved in like a week ago. Also, if it was so fine, why weren’t any of her three bikes locked up down there then?

As I voiced my concerns, she got this irked look on her face. And rather’n fight over it, I relented and locked up the bike at the racks right outside her building. Even though I was pretty sure it was a bad idea.
Next morning, I actually walk by the empty spot where my bike was, until I notice it is missing and there is a cut link of my old chain on the ground...

The next one stung less but was just two streets over. One of my buddies had moved into the neighborhood and I was helping him paint and move stuff in. Same as before. Pretty decent chain cut and bike missing.

Because my gf was living in the neighborhood, I was a pretty frequent visitor. So I’m cutting through the projects nearby one day to get to the FDR underpass when I notice that last stolen bike chained up with a bunch of other bikes. Like twelve or fifteen bikes. Right next to a bunch of wheels and tires all chained up as well.

I couldn’t hardly believe my eyes, I was so shocked. After confirming it was my bike (it was a distinctive baby blue Fuji track bike with this three color sticker pattern), I rushed over to where a friend worked as a building super and borrowed bolt cutters. Went back to the stash of stolen bikes, clipped the locks and “liberated” the entire bunch of bikes, wheels and tires. Threw the entire pile into a friend’s van and drove off.
I tried to get the cops at nearby Police Plaza to do something about possibly reuniting some of those bikes with their owners. No one cared enough to do more than listen disinterestedly to the story of how I got my hands on close to fifteen presumably stolen bikes.
So I ended up with a considerably larger parts bin...
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Old 09-28-20, 06:16 AM
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I was 13 with a 26er Korean fully rigid steel MTB with assorted Korean parts and a Shimano groupset.

I was jumped by a gang on a stop and just took my bike from me. I still live in the same neighborhood and only ride with cheap bikes and even the cheap bike I own is "uglified" with fake rust and a layer of paint that made the original paint look faded and old.
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Old 09-28-20, 06:17 AM
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I got my bikes stolen 2 times, next to the same supermarket, it was locked but the wire was very poor, now I use different type of lock. One of the bikes was actually found by the police quite fast. The other gone forever...
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Old 09-28-20, 06:33 AM
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I had ridden to school and parked my bike in the provided bike racks. It was stolen during the school day. It was later found and returned to me by the police. The bike was not locked. I was unaware that such a thing as bike locks even existed.

The year was 1966/7 (to the best I can recall because of the side of the school on which I would have entered), and I was in 2nd or 3rd grade. The bike was a Sears Spyder 5-speed.
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Old 09-28-20, 06:54 AM
  #11  
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I lost my beloved Murray sting ray type bike ,that I cobbled together out of parts ,when I was in ninth grade. I would not ride it to school for fear of it getting stolen and I didn’t have money for a lock. As I was walking home , down my street I see a kid riding out of my driveway on my bike. He had broken into our rickety garage and stolen it. I never saw it again. From that day on, I don’t let my bike out of my sight when I am out. At home and my shop the bikes are kept insured and out of sight. I have photos of my bikes(who doesn’t) with serial numbers. Of course anymore the police won’t even take a report on stolen bikes. We are all vulnerable to bike theft and some of us have more than just monetary value on our bikes. At 65 years old my bikes are just as important to me as when I was ten!
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Old 09-28-20, 07:49 AM
  #12  
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First time, I left it outside overnight and didn't lock it. A kid down the street saw someone walking off with it in the morning and stopped them. I got it back.
Second time, at my bro's house, in the living room, his wife's son stole it and ditched it. It wasn't locked. Never got it back.
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Old 09-28-20, 08:26 AM
  #13  
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Originally Posted by Phil_gretz View Post
I had ridden to school and parked my bike in the provided bike racks. It was stolen during the school day. It was later found and returned to me by the police. The bike was not locked. I was unaware that such a thing as bike locks even existed.
Exact same thing happened to me! 1968, sixth grade. Sears Cruiser, it was actually my brother's but he was six years older and hadn't ridden it in years. So I took it to school one day, he wasn't happy...
Locks? Nobody that I recall locked their bike back then


Not actual bike, but I searched and found this picture...
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Old 09-28-20, 08:55 AM
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This is the story of how someone else's bike got stolen, Still puts a smile on my face.

One summer, in grad school, I shared an apt with a fellow grad student. One day his bike got stolen from campus. He came home grumbling about it - said it was probably stolen by "some dirty Mexican."

Couple months later, roomie comes home and asks my opinion on a plan. He walks past a bike rack every day on campus, and has noticed a bike parked in it, locked and untouched for the past couple months. He assumes the bike is abandoned, and wants to remove the lock and take it. He asked for my opinion, so I gave it to him: (1) the bike may not be abandoned, but rather could belong to someone who has nowhere else to store it, or is on a trip, or has a broken leg, and (2) even if it is abandoned, it's not his right to "liberate" the bike; campus police would eventually seize it and auction it off. Roomie listens to my opinion, then the next day he takes a hacksaw and liberates the bike.

Couple months later, roomie comes home late one day. Tells me that, at the end of the workday, he came out of our building, went to where he had locked "his" bike in the rack, and found the owner waiting with a campus police officer -- the owner who had returned from his overseas research trip to find his bike missing. Roomie got arrested and booked.

I tried not to smirk.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:07 AM
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Had quite a few BMX bikes stolen over the years. Almost all of them the direct result of leaving unattended for a moment, or being around bad folks.

The first time my bike was stolen was out of the yard/side of the house. Recovered that bike from the police impound a bit later after going over there to look for it. It had a 'registration sticker' thing they had done at the school, but no one called.
That same bike was stolen by a bully after school one afternoon. This dude was a real bad ass and decided that he didn't want to walk home. I just followed him and stole it back out of his yard. That lovely fellow went on to murder a deputy and then be killed before he was 20. Super nice guy.

Later on had a really nice BMX get stolen off the front of a store while I was playing a video game. The dude that stole that bike was also a pretty bad dude, and I knew he did it. I never recovered that bike, have no idea what he did with it...lol, but I stole HIS bike which was a pretty good replacement for it. I have to be honest that I am glad he never pieced it together. He would have beat me up pretty good.

The last notable one I can recall, a buddy of mine wanted to borrow my 'other' bike to ride home. He lived a couple of miles down the street and we were pretty good friends at the time. He decided to break into a fellows Jeep on the way home on the borrowed bike. The guy caught him since this was a recurring thing (the guy had previously had some drugs in the Jeep) and beat him up really badly before the police took him to jail. My bike, apparently, was left on the street or in this guys yard, unbeknownst to me until some days later when "buddy" got out of jail.

I have not had one of my "10 speed" bikes get stolen. I always lock them within sight/reach, or take them in with me.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:10 AM
  #16  
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Originally Posted by Koyote View Post
(1) the bike may not be abandoned, but rather could belong to someone who has nowhere else to store it, or is on a trip, or has a broken leg....
I figure, that unless they look like this, the possibility exists that the owner may show up one day and take the lock off and ride away:

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Old 09-28-20, 09:15 AM
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Originally Posted by Reflector Guy View Post
I figure, that unless they look like this, the possibility exists that the owner may show up one day and take the lock off and ride away:

Every bike rack at every train station in town looks JUST like this, with multiple skeletons hanging. I have noted that even with bikes that appear to be getting used, that the owners will take away every single part that comes off, not able to be chained. Either that or the thieves are super quick.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:28 AM
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Originally Posted by Juan Foote View Post
Every bike rack at every train station in town looks JUST like this, with multiple skeletons hanging.
Crazy, isn't it? I spent most of a Sunday a few months ago, driving around to a couple dozen stations on Chicago's Metra system and came up with pics of about thirty abandoned bikes. A few stations had none but some had a half-dozen or more. Affluent areas or not, there were a crazy number of abandoned bikes!

The strangest one was one really ragged Raleigh bike that apparently someone rides, because it comes and goes multiple times a week (I ride by it all the time). The owner takes the seat... Take the seat away and it really looks like its abandoned, with tons of rust. The perfect disguise I suppose.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:31 AM
  #19  
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My very first bike that was stolen was a 1982 black Schwinn World that my parents bought be as an 8th grade graduation gift, I had the bike for about a year and literally rode that bike all over town, that was back in the days when we went out as kids and just spent the entire day in the summer outside. I road that bike practically all over Oak Lawn, IL. where I grew up, one day I had ridden to my friends house on the other side of town, parked in her fenced in backyard just like I had done so many times before but then one day it was stolen out of her yard. I always had a suspicion it was stolen by one of her idiot younger brother's friends but of course I could never prove it and never got it back. My parents were upset with me, but as a 13 year old kid I never thought about chaining it up at my friend's house especially not inside her fenced in yard, crime was not really a big thing back then and it was all the way in the backyard so someone just walking by could not have seen it, that's why I figured it was her brother's friends that stole it.

Then a few months after that they bought me a cheap ugly poop brown old lady looking 3 speed bike, the kind of cruiser now that I would enjoy riding at 52 years old but as a 14 year old kid at the time that was the ugliest thing ever compared to my beautiful sleek black Schwinn World with the toe clips on the pedals I bought with my graduation money. I hated that ugly brown old lady 3 speed so much I road it to the library one day and left it unlocked in the bike racks on purpose hoping someone would steal that ugly thing, and low and behold someone did... I had forgotten that I rode it to the library I hated it that much and ended up leaving the library though the other set of doors and started walking home totally forgetting I rode the ugly bike so after I was halfway home I had to walk back to the library only to find out that it was actually stolen and someone took it from the bike rack. I rejoiced with such great joy and then got home and lied to my mom and dad and told them I had the bike locked up but it was stolen anyways, and took the bike chain and stupid me threw it all the way in the corner of the garage thinking they would never find the lock because the garage was a holy hell mess filled with crap. But alas one day they decided to really clean out the garage and my parents found that bike lock that I told them was on the ugly 3 speed when it was stolen and they were mad as hell that I lied to them. Sadly after that debacle I never had another new bike and road a cheap fixer up the old man down the street had for sale, he was one of those old guys that fixed up bikes and sold them for a couple of bucks displayed in his driveway.

I did not have a new bike until I was in college in 1988 and that is when I bought my 1987 Raleigh Seneca Mountain tour brand new at the Bike shop. I still have that bike today, that is my vintage Raleigh that I absolutely love, I have kept it indoors for most of the 32 years I have had it, except for two winters when I lived in an apartment and it was chained up under the breezeway in an apartment building. Silly me even tried to sell that Raleigh just this year thinking that It just didn't fit me right anymore because of my weight gain and my bad back, but I took off the straight handlebars and put riser bars on and put better tires on it.

I have never really gotten over the butt hurt anger I had when my 1982 Schwinn World got stolen, I think because I knew my friend's brother had something to do it, but we could never prove it. Had it never been stolen I know I would have still had that bike today. It may have been the cheapest Schwinn that they put out but growing up in the Chicago Suburbs in the late 70s and 80's any Schwinn from the Bike store was a holy grail bike in our eyes at the time.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:36 AM
  #20  
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3 bikes 10 yrs

First one. Fall 2010 I was attending evening classes at one of the community colleges. Locked it up at the rack out front. Just a cable lock. Mid October I came out to go home and the bike was gone. The cable was cut. Never saw that bike again.

Talked to Security. They pulled up the video but it didn't work well after sunset. The officer told me cable locks didn't do much good. He said nobody reported a bike stolen when locked with a U-lock. So I bought a Trek FX7.1 with a U-lock.

In 2014, stopping at a convenience store, there was no good place to lock it to with the U-lock. I used the cable lock. No problem. I stopped there almost ever weekend for a chocolate milk on my way home. In and out in 2 min. Except this time the bike was gone. A few months later I got it back. You can read about it here:

Got my bike back

In the interim I purchased a Trek 3700. In 2016, again at a place where there was no good place to lock it with the U-lock. I was clever. Locked the bike to a lamp post in view of the fast food restaurant with a cable lock. Locked the front wheel to the frame with the U-lock. Sat where I could see the bike out the window. This was before sunrise. I like to savor my coffee and read in the mornings. The lock was cut, bike gone. The thief must have cut the lock and carried the bike away. In my full view if I had looked up more often.

Almost a year later the police found my bike in a pawn shop. After the legal proceedings were over, another year, they told me I could pick it up. When I went to the property impound it was gone! You can read more about it here:


Stolen Bike

Lessons to be learned? Lock it to something solid with a U-lock. Lock it in view from the front window. Most of the time I can follow the first rule. The second? Not always practical.

What's funny is I see people ride up to the convenience store, turn their bike upside down, and go in. Most of the time there's no problem. After 3 bikes stolen in the last decade I'm kinda paranoid. Always thinking about it when I stop.
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Old 09-28-20, 09:40 AM
  #21  
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Originally Posted by AndrewJB View Post
Exact same thing happened to me! 1968, sixth grade. Sears Cruiser, it was actually my brother's but he was six years older and hadn't ridden it in years. So I took it to school one day, he wasn't happy...
Locks? Nobody that I recall locked their bike back then


Not actual bike, but I searched and found this picture...
I had received one of these, mine was all red, for Christmas one year. It was actually too big for me but I rode it anyway and put side baskets and a Sears speedometer on it, which i got for my birthday. One day around 5th grade a kid smashed the speedometer while it was parked in the school bike rack, I watched him do it from a 2nd floor window but didn't recongnise the kid. My parents bought me another speedometer. A few months later someone stole my bike right out of our yard, this was the summer 1969. I have no idea why anyone would steel that bike but someone did. Our homeowners insurance paid and I got a Ross Barracuda 3 speed stick shift and was thrilled.

A few years later someone stole my Robin Hood 3 speed from a bowling alley I just left it unattended for like 30 seconds. That was fall 1971, I used that bike to deliver my newspapers. I actually got that bike back from the police 3 days later. The thief sanded off part of the name on the seat tube. Rode that bike again for about a year before I bought my first 10 speed with my paper route money.

Not a complete bike but when I was in HS I bought a set of Campy High Flange hubs and Mavic tubular rims as laced up a set. This was for me at the time (1973 or 1974) a huge outlay of money. Since I used my bikes to deliver my paper route I tended to use clinchers day to day but on special rides put on the sew-ups. I wrecked the bike I made these for, threw away the frame but kept everything I could salvage. Shortly after that I gave up my paper route which I had for 5+ years. I Didn't have a bike to ride and was headed to college soon and my sister gave me her 10 speed a real tank (AMF Roadmaster). Anyway, someone stole the rear wheel out of my parents garage, which was hanging from the rafters, along with my Garcia Conolon 5 star 5' ultra-light fishing rod with a Mitchell 308 reel while I was in my first semester of college. For some reason the thief missed the front wheel and so I have the Campy hub still but not the rim. I cried for days over the fishing pole.

My brother also had several bikes stolen, one was his first 10 speed right off the front porch. He had that bike about 2 weeks when when it was boosted. After that we always brought our bikes into the house when done riding them. In our "dining room" there was a large (long) steam radiator for heating the room. For years we used that as our bike rack, the front tires fit right in the slots between the fins. I don't know why our parents put up with that, I guess when we had company we moved them. It may sound like I lived in a high crime neighborhood but it wasn't really.

Last edited by Thomas15; 09-28-20 at 10:14 AM.
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Old 09-28-20, 10:12 AM
  #22  
Juan Foote
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Originally Posted by tpadul View Post
My very first bike that was stolen was a 1982 black Schwinn World
My first half decent road bike was a Black World Sport. It was a darned good riding bike. I liked it so much that I got my mom one some years later when she was trying to do some healthy stuff. It sat inside her garage for 20 some odd years and she decided to liberate it to my wife when she took up an interest. Age had been very unkind to the spokes and several of them broke on the first ride. I ended up spending FAR more than the bike was worth to refurbish it, thinking to resell it, and lost my fanny on the transaction because they aren't worth squat today. (well, at least before "rona" came to town)
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Old 09-28-20, 10:25 AM
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Originally Posted by Thomas15 View Post
I had received one of these, mine was all red, for Christmas one year. It was actually too big for me but I rode it anyway and put side baskets and a Sears speedometer on it, which i got for my birthday. One day around 5th grade a kid smashed the speedometer while it was parked in the school bike rack, I watched him do it from a 2nd floor window but didn't recongnise the kid. My parents bought me another speedometer. A few months later someone stole my bike right out of our yard, this was the summer 1969. I have no idea why anyone would steel that bike but someone did. Our homeowners insurance paid and I got a Ross Barracuda 3 speed stick shift and was thrilled.
So, the rest of the story...My brother got that bike for Christmas 1962, that was a big deal for a Christmas gift in those days for our family. He was a typical older brother that always enjoyed "picking on me". About three month later I was in the basement and there was the bike, I'm not sure what possessed me, but I took a couple of nails and drove them into the sidewalls of both tires! I can still remember the pleasure of the moment hearing that hissing sound. A few hours later I hear him stomping up the stairs screaming for me. I thought this was going to be the end for me. Luckily Mom & Dad were in the living room with me, so I survived. He asked me why I did it, I told him in a calm voice... "you had it coming"! He still loves to tell the story to this day On the bright side, I watched him as he removed and repaired the tubes and got the bike back on the road...that's how I learned (at age 6) how to patch a tire! We rode that bike until it was stolen with those nail holes still in the white sidewalls!
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Old 09-28-20, 10:30 AM
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My Earl was stolen out front of work when I was out for training, and my Blur was stolen at Bantam when I was out having entirely to much fun in my Jeep.
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Old 09-28-20, 10:36 AM
  #25  
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I think it was in 1993, I was moving my family into a friends apartment building. The apartment was undergoing a renovation, I was traveling for work and my wife and son were visiting family out of town. My 82 Trek 710 was in the basement, unlocked, with my tools and some other stuff. I had just repainted the frame orange. When I returned from my trip I took the El and a bus home and as I passed a second hand sporting good store I noticed a bike hanging in the window and thought that it looked a lot like my bike but didn't think twice about it. When I arrived at my new apartment, my family was sill out of town, my friend told me that my tools had been stolen from the basement. It seemed that the workers had left the door unlocked when they wen to lunch and someone had gotten in and stolen my tools and some of the workers tools. I told him that it sucked but as long as my bike was still there it wouldn't suck too bad. He then said "What bike?"

I then put two and two together and went back to the second hand store and there was my bike hanging in the window. It was Sunday so I had to wait till the shop opened on Monday, I took my receipt for the frame and confronted the shop owner who said we needed to call the police. When they arrived they validated that it was my bike and questioned the owner who told them he had a policy requiring a driver's license and he issued them a check not cash. When the police asked for the seller's information he told them that the seller didn't have his driver's license but he had his "girlfriend's" who was in his car waiting for him.

Anyway, I got my bike back and still have it to this day with thousands of miles on it.



I painted it again.
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