Does this bike lock belong to Tyler Brady?

Did this lock belong to Tyler Brady?
(Photos by Dan Schafer)

Several local media outlets are reporting that the autopsy results of 22-year old Tyler Brady showed that he died of an accidental drowning. Brady was reported missing on February 27th, was last seen riding his bicycle in Southeast Portland, and his body was found in the Willamette River near OMSI yesterday.

The news of Brady’s accidental death came as I was working on a story speculating about the same scenario — that he accidentally fell into the river and drowned. This speculation began with a comment left yesterday on this site that bicycle matching the description of Brady’s had been locked to a tree just upriver from where his body was found.

This morning, I spoke to the author of that comment, Dan Schafer. Schafer also sent me several photos from an area just south of OMSI (map) where he thinks Brady locked up his bike. Schafer said he commutes on the Esplanade through that location every day and about a month ago (Brady was last seen on February 17th), he noticed a bike locked to a tree adjacent to and on the eastern side of the path:

“I ride through there every morning, and there was a bike locked to an oak tree that just wasn’t right. I watched it every morning.”

Schafer says the scene “made no sense” because no one ever locks bikes up there. He also said the bike he saw was a black single-speed and that it took about two weeks before the bike began to get parted out by thieves. It eventually disappeared completely, leaving only the lock in its place (see photo).

Note the security surveillance
warning sign in the upper left.

“It was obviously a bike someone cared about.”

Schafer also noted that there was a foot trail leading down to the river right across from where the bike was locked up. There’s also a sign on a fence near the lock (see upper left in photo) stating that the area is monitored by video surveillance.

Surveillance photo of Brady.

The location of the lock and the sign is near a small bridge that goes over the trail. The location of the bike and the lock also give weight to speculation that it belonged to Brady. The Portland Mercury reported last week that the last place Brady was seen was a bar in NW Portland called Tube, where he was refused service for being drunk. Brady was living at SE 11th and Division, which makes this part of the river one of the closest access points from his house.

Before hearing the autopsy results, Schafer speculated that perhaps Brady stopped along the Esplanade on his way home from the bar (or, after dropping some stuff off at his house and going back out for some fresh air), then wandered down the trail to the river’s edge, hit his head on something, and fell in.

I’ve left messages with the Police Bureau throughout the day but have yet to hear back. Hopefully they can view the surveillance video (if it exists) and check out the area near the bridge closely for clues (shoe tracks on the trail perhaps?).

Regardless, this is a tragic story. If indeed this was where Brady was last alive on the earth, perhaps it’s a fitting location for a memorial. My heart goes out to his family and friends.

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor)

Founder of BikePortland (in 2005). Father of three. North Portlander. Basketball lover. Car owner and driver. If you have questions or feedback about this site or my work, feel free to contact me at @jonathan_maus on Twitter, via email at maus.jonathan@gmail.com, or phone/text at 503-706-8804. Also, if you read and appreciate this site, please become a supporter.

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JW
JW
14 years ago

Interesting, and sad. Note that according to your map, the lock was actually found *upriver* of his body, not downriver as you state above (darn confusing north-flowing rivers!), which makes more sense as the body would float downstream, not upstream.

— Thanks JW. I’ve made that edit.

Anonymous
Anonymous
14 years ago

What does this story have to do with bicycles other than the deceased owned a bike?

Adams Carroll (News Intern)
Reply to  Anonymous

Anonymous,

I’ve asked myself that same question. I originally covered this story because he last seen on his bike and he was missing. Given that hundreds (thousands?) of people that read this site live in the areas where Tyler was last seen riding and was known to ride, I thought spreading the word was important.

Then, once I’d cover the story initially, I felt like it made sense to continue to cover it.

That being said, I agree with you in some respects that I always feels a bit strange to cover stories that aren’t specifically “bike stories” but simply have a bike in them. Thanks for asking.

Daniel (teknotus) Johnson
Daniel (teknotus) Johnson
14 years ago

That’s a conveyor belt for the big pipe project. There is usually a barge at the end of it making it easy to move large volumes of material without using trucks.

Sharon
14 years ago

Anonymous,

I would add to what Jonathan said that his father described him as someone who loved his biked and commuted everywhere. I got the impression that he was an avid bicyclist.

I also think there was always a possibility, before we knew, that he died from a bike accident of some sort, since it was likely he was on a bike when he disappeared.

As a member of the bicycle community I find this a very relevant story to talk about.

trail user
trail user
14 years ago

Ask the people at his work if his old roommates have moved away. They would have likely seen his bike locked up with such a noticeable chain.

b
b
14 years ago

I’m sure folks are already on this but perhaps the OMSI and opera security cameras caught something. Think there are a couple on the pipe project too that I have seen when biking through there.

bahueh
bahueh
14 years ago

perhaps climbing/riding on the conveyor belt for fun and fell in?

we could all speculate all day long…

as for the lock, can’t any of his friends ID the thing?

jimmy
jimmy
14 years ago

I don’t know if it’s the same tree but there was a bike locked up in that vicinity for at least a few days a couple weeks ago. I noticed it on a number occasions as I ride that stretch twice daily. The bike looked abandoned to me. I don’t remember many details about the bike or the lock but I do know it had a Brooks saddle and I was surprised the saddle was not stolen after seeing the bike there day after day.

Paul "Pablo" Laak
Paul "Pablo" Laak
14 years ago

I live just off of SE 17th and Tolaman and come through this area after closing late at night. Another concern I have, especially as the weather warms up and the economy gets worse, more people are camping along that southern section of the Springwater. I do have my concerns about coming across hostile types down there lately!

RyNO Dan
RyNO Dan
14 years ago

Why didn’t he have his messenger bag that night ?
Was he wearing a coat (it was february) ?
How can the coroner rule this an “accident” ?

paul
14 years ago

more likely scenario as follows.

Take a look at the bridge that goes over the Will. If I’m a crusty punk, that thing looks like a great opportunity to get my UrbEx on, esp if I’m drunk. How awesome would that thing be to climb!!!

As I’m wobbling back and forth, walking and hanging onto precarious railings, I slip fall into the river either a) hitting my head on the way down and getting knocked out b)falling in the freezing cold Will.at 2a, and can’t must the motor skills to get out of the water b/c I’m too drunk and cold.

jim
jim
14 years ago

J.- I thought it was a really good idea to report this story in the first place. hundreds more people would be on the watch for Tyler or his bike in all parts of town and on many miles of road. Kind of an amber alert. This would be a good thing to do for missing children also. A good chance for cyclists to contribute as is in their good nature to begin with. So thank you to Jonathon for heading up a valuaable comunity service

KWW
KWW
14 years ago

I believe the speculation that it was an accidental drowning was that there was/is probably no overt physical injury to his body, and he drowned, and he was most likely drunk at the time – though I don’t know if there was a toxicology report to that effect.

If there was a bump to the head, I believe the report would be labeled suspicious.

I hope that bikeportland follows up on these details, as sometimes authorities come to the obvious solution in a case, and it is not always obvious.

I agree that this story is relevant and I thank bikeportland for its reportage.

hm
hm
14 years ago

so the lock was found locked to the tree…but all of the bike was stripped off?
did he not loop the chain through the frame at all?
if that’s the case, i’m surprised the bike wasn’t stolen much earlier.

chrehn
chrehn
14 years ago

…bummer… it shouldn’t happen to anyone.

Todd Boulanger
Todd Boulanger
14 years ago

Hm…the bike sounds like it was picked off piece by piece…then perhaps someone cut the frame to get at “some” remaining value (assuming it was not locked to the wheel only).

From the photo (and angle if it) the lock looks to be an OnGuard Mastiff 4 number combo chain lock.

http://www.rei.com/product/752231

Sponser
Sponser
14 years ago

It’s not his lock, Ty used a U-Lock.

In regards to the question about what this has to do with bicycles…well, like most questions, Google for a couple minutes and the answer should become clear. But if thats not enough….

Ty-Brady expressed his enthusiasm for bicycles constantly, perhaps vehemently. I can remember when he built up a particularity short frame for one of his friends birthdays who didn’t have a bike that properly fit. Every one at the party was just incredulous at how nice and well tuned the bike was considering it took him months to piece it together with the little money he had. The only motive behind this gift was simply Ty wanted all his friends to enjoy bicycles the way he did…and that’s the naked truth.

It’s because of people like Ty Brady that bikeportland.org even exists for us to blog our opinions and to share our love of bikes.

So when a comrade of the true pedal-heads falls, despite the nature of their passing, you’re damn right we’ll take special note and cover every inch of ground others in the community deem important.

RIP TY

john
john
14 years ago

I am a friend of Ty’s father and mother and have known them for decades. I’ve known Ty since before he was a toddler. This loss has shaken the Brady’s to their core, and broken the hearts of all who know them. thank you, to all of you who cared about Ty, and who are trying their best to understand.