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After sightings, ‘posse’ will roll out to find stolen bike

Posted by on May 18th, 2010 at 8:42 am

The Rubin family is making an all-out
effort to find this bike.
(Photo: Len Rubin)

This is turning out to be one of the most interesting stolen bike stories we’ve ever followed here on BikePortland.

Len and Tamara Rubin — owners of the prototype, one-of-kind folding bike that was reported stolen yesterday and which held the key to their future business (not to mention having immense sentimental value) — have been working non-stop to find it. The story has been picked up all over the local media (including a spot on FOX’s ‘Most Wanted’ segment) and Tamara Rubin reports that they’ve received four separate tips on the bike’s whereabouts as a result.

“We would like to organize a bike “posse”… We’ll plan on spreading out along the corridor and staying in touch via cell phones.”
— Tamara Rubin in an email to friends and members of the local media

Tamara is very encouraged by the sightings because they all described the same two suspects in the same locations. “As a result of this,” Tamara wrote in an email late last night, “we would like to organize a bike “posse” and invite you to join us.”

The bike was seen being ridden by what people reported as “transients/homeless people” on the Springwater Corridor Trail in the Johnson Creek area between Sellwood and outer Southeast Portland.

Tamara says they plan to roll out with as many volunteer posse members as they can round up to patrol the Springwater from 3 to 6pm this afternoon. “We’ll plan on spreading out along the corridor and staying in touch via cell phones.”

Pizza, beer, and hopefully a recovery celebration will follow.

A friend of the Rubin family has donated a $200 reward for whoever finds the bike and a website has been created at with more details. If you want to join the Rubins and help find this valuable bike, contact Tamara at (415) 609-3182.

A quick bit of advice from a story we did back in August: If you see the bike, call 911 and don’t let it out of your sight until the police arrive.

NOTE: We love your comments and work hard to ensure they are productive, considerate, and welcoming of all perspectives. Disagreements are encouraged, but only if done with tact and respect. If you see a mean or inappropriate comment, please contact us and we'll take a look at it right away. Also, if you comment frequently, please consider holding your thoughts so that others can step forward. Thank you — Jonathan

  • beelnite May 18, 2010 at 9:02 am

    Please… No violence. I hope the posse just takes the bike back and sends the transients on their way. It’s prob not worth PPD’s time… unless this posse turns into a mob.

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 9:17 am

    I posted in the other thread and I’ll post it here:

    Please don’t get the police involved. It’s not worth taking the life of a transient over a stolen bike. Simply bring an “offering” with you, like a cheaper, more useful bike for the transient (possibly a cruiser with a cart or rack) or some money or food.

    I would not risk getting the Portland Police involved unless you want the person who stole the bike shot to death, and I hope no one wants that.

    Good luck to you all and be sure to let us know if you find the bike! Can’t wait to hear of its safe return. 🙂

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  • Caroline May 18, 2010 at 9:42 am

    Sounds like this bike went down the “bike path to nowhere.” Good luck!

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  • Frank May 18, 2010 at 9:48 am

    Where do I pick up a torch and pitchfork?

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  • Rob May 18, 2010 at 10:00 am

    Ah, yes, a posse! I notice on the linked site they suggest bringing your kids (middle schoolers). Gotta start ’em young!

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  • Aaronf May 18, 2010 at 10:17 am

    Good luck!!

    I hope you find the bike!

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  • matt picio May 18, 2010 at 10:24 am

    Jackattack (#2) – These people had a bicycle stolen from them, one representing dozens of hours of hard work to design and construct. They have solid information on how to recover their stolen property, and will likely receive little support from the police, because police resources don’t allow follow-up on most cases like this.

    In the absence of support from official channels, they intend to use volunteers to find the bike, and presumably call the police to recover their property. There is nothing wrong with that.

    Yes, Portland police have made mistakes dealing with homeless, transients, and the mentally ill, some very eggregious mistakes with fatal consequences. Most of the interactions are not of that character. Right now, with that fact in the public eye and a new police chief eager to repair the PPB’s relationship to the community, that type of mistake is highly unlikely.

    My concern is that this group of people obey the law and not take it into their own hands, or provoke a violent confrontation. While I have sympathy for the plight of those who do what they must to survive, there are consequences for one’s actions. Someone made a choice to illegally enter the Rubin’s yard and take a bicycle that did not belong to them. That was their decision, and there are consequences to one’s actions.

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  • Marid May 18, 2010 at 10:24 am

    #2, police handle thousands of incidents without resort to violence. Your advice is actually rather poor considering violence is more likely when a ‘posse’ of untrained undisciplined citizens is involved. Transients aren’t always known for predictable behavior either.

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 10:45 am

    @ Matt # 7 –

    Completely and wholeheartedly agree with everything you said. However, until the PPB and Chief Reese prove themselves to We the People (and they’ve got a lot of proving to do after last week’s debacle), we have every reason to be fearful of them and we every reason to settle matter ourselves (which means NOT resorting to their level of violence).

    There are many, many other options of resolution than violence. Practically every problem has a non-violent solution.

    I appreciate your input on this.

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  • jim May 18, 2010 at 11:04 am

    It probably wasn’t transients that stole the bike. It probably went for a joy ride and got dumped (perhaps on springwater trail) where it started getting some use from transients. better them than the meth heads that would take it to the metal recyclers

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  • jim May 18, 2010 at 11:14 am

    The police are not going to kill everyone they encounter. All of the people that did get shot were not co-operating in some way that got themselves dead. This last one that Sam Adams was all sad about had shot at and tied to kill a police officer.
    If you do what the police say you will not get shot or manhandeled like some people with attitudes that are quite stupid as an end result….

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  • Tamara Rubin May 18, 2010 at 11:31 am

    Hi guys – we’re not planning on anything violent here of course. Just a group of people casing the trail.I’ve got the numbers of the police (milwaukie, gresham and Portland) on my speed dial – hopefully we will not need to call them. We are going to thank the guy for taking our bike for a test ride and ask for it back (if we find him / her – there are two people a man and a woman and 6 sightings of them so far) we are meeting at our house today at 2:30 and leaving at 3:00 and we have flyers you can help us hand out and if we find them great – if we don’t… more people know about it. Thanks for all of your support. If you want our address please e-mail or call: 503-702-2708 or We are right next to St.Agatha’s church in Sellwood and our driveway is on Miller if you want to come meet us there at 2:30. Our son is 13. He is 5 foot 11-1/2 inches tall – his friends thought they saw the bike yesterday and were excited about the $200 reward money – so we thought it would be good to harness their energy if anyone has other 13 and ups that want to help (I was not thinking little kids – but there is no reason any kids can’t come on the bike ride too – it’s just a ride -eh?) I also just got a donation of another $100 in reward money – so we are up to $300.

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  • ekim113 May 18, 2010 at 11:32 am

    While I agree that another death is not warranted, I disagree with not having the police involved. Here is my reasoning:
    1. If it escalates to the point where an officer uses force (i.e. transient pulls a knife), what chance is a cyclist (or posse of) going to have? I see the potential for someone to get really hurt and if you have never been responsible for that, take my word and avoid it.
    2. I do not believe it is a good idea to perpetuate the cycle of buying stolen goods (which is what is happening if you give a person another bike in exchange for a stolen one).

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  • ekim113 May 18, 2010 at 11:39 am

    I do not see what the size of your son has to do with having him witness a possible confrontation.

    13 years old is as good an age as any to become traumatized.

    Please consider you are setting out to confront a man and woman over stolen property. You will be approaching them as a mob. They will feel threatened and while you may be going in the mindset of peace and harmony, that is not the world they live in.

    Possibly everything will work out pleasently, but then again, be prepared for anything. Including your tall son seeing someone die.

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  • jim May 18, 2010 at 11:41 am


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  • Tamara Rubin May 18, 2010 at 11:44 am

    What I was saying is that he is a big kid – not a little kid – and he is another pair of eyes for looking for the bike and another pair of hands to hand out flyers – that’s all – I’m not suggesting kids confront homeless people – we’ll play it by ear. We may call the police, we may not. We’ve had some nice conversations with a lot of homeless people on the trail over the past couple of days and they are mostly on our side – wanting to help… they even suggested we bring a bunch of food as an offering in trade for the bike – which I thought was a great idea. We are totally pacifists… These are the definitions I found for Posse on the internet (if it helps): “a body or force armed with legal authority”, or “A search party.” also “A group of friends or associates” – all from

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  • ekim113 May 18, 2010 at 11:48 am

    Rubin Family-
    I do wish you the best and hope for a peaceful recovery.

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  • Len Rubin May 18, 2010 at 11:51 am

    We are non-violent types (okay, we can both be loud and strident under the worst circumstances, but certainly not “physical”!) We just want the bike back; we don’t condone and won’t tolerate violence from anyone involved in this effort! We hope to find the bike current riders and persuade them to return the bike in exchange for gratitude, 15 minutes of fame if desired, or whatever cash incentives we can offer otherwise (some kind friends have donated some dough to the reward kitty already)

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  • Len Rubin May 18, 2010 at 11:53 am

    We live in a great community. We hope this can be resolved as a community – with the resources of our community. – Tamara (& Len)

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  • Stigx May 18, 2010 at 11:54 am

    Get close enough to identify the bike, keep your distance and call the police immediately. If on the trail, have someone ride casually past in case they bolt.

    You have no idea how dangerous these people are. Any attempt to confront them, however peacefully and sincere you may be, unnecessarily risks escalating the situation.

    Let the police do their jobs.

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  • Tamara Rubin May 18, 2010 at 12:00 pm

    Great advice Stigx. Thank you! That’s our plan.

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  • matt picio May 18, 2010 at 12:02 pm

    Jackattack (#9) – I agree that we should be wary, and that we should hold the police accountable. When the public is afraid of the police, there’s something wrong with the system, not the public, and usually not the police officers (of course there are individual exceptions).

    I’ve met Mike Reese. He was instrumental in the PPB working *with* last year’s World Naked Bike Ride to help manage traffic, and PPB did an outstanding job. He’s very community-oriented, very experienced, personable and professional. He’s just been handed a thankless job, possibly the hardest job in the city, where he’ll be under pressure from Adams, the neighborhood associations, advocacy groups, the police union, the city’s watchdogs, state and federal agencies, and his own police force. Reese once led SERT, Portland’s equivalent to SWAT. He’s worked high-stress environments, and he did it without losing an officer and without any fatalities of suspects or civilians. I’m not saying we should loose oversight of the police in general, or even Chief Reese in particular, I’m just saying that we should give the PPB room to succeed instead of assuming they’ll fail.

    and I appreciate your input as well – there needs to be people arguing for oversight, transparency, and community input and supervision. I don’t disagree with your points, I’m just hoping we can help each other keep the discussion in perspective.

    Rubin family – Good luck and best wishes in recovering the bike, and take the discussion here with a grain of salt.

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  • Stigx2 May 18, 2010 at 12:07 pm

    ‘We live in a great community. We hope this can be resolved as a community – with the resources of our community.’

    You need the police on your side and they will surely frown upon bonehead vigilante cyclists.

    Have you considered that the suspects may be violent towards you, but not the police? You’re not trained and equipped to deal with these situations. Identify the bike and call the police.

    Don’t engage the suspects, putting your family and friends at risk over a bike. Please reconsider.

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  • q'Tzal May 18, 2010 at 12:09 pm

    As you pass down the areas in question post fliers showing the bike and the reward. Include your desire to avoid law enforcement involvement and a statement like “no questions asked.”
    That is if you just want your bike back and don’t have any interest in having someone arrested.
    Assuming that a homeless person has this $300 will pay for a lot of food and clothes.

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  • matthew vilhauer May 18, 2010 at 12:12 pm

    what matt picio (#7) said.

    don’t be a criminal in dealing with criminals. for good or bad we have police for just that reason.

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  • Stigx3 May 18, 2010 at 12:13 pm

    Tamara @21
    Ah. Cooler heads are prevailing. Nevermind my last post. Best of luck this afternoon.

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 12:14 pm

    @ Matt –

    Fully aware of Chief Reese’s efforts and I also agree with you: I honestly think he’s the right person for the job. I am also quite happy with Mayor Adams’ decision to oust Sizer and Saltzman of their duties.

    I’ve been advocating and researching these issues the past year and while I’m not as close to City Hall as you, I am certainly paying attention and doing my homework.

    So far I am happy with the decisions made last week and feel as though we really have a chance to make our Police force more respectable. I’m not an anarchist nor do I condone the activity.

    I just want people to think twice before they call the PPB until we know…for certain…that they are capable of escalating situations and even handling situations that require a gentler touch.


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    • Jonathan Maus (Publisher/Editor) May 18, 2010 at 12:16 pm

      Just want everyone to know that as per the PPB’s previous advice about what to do if you see a stolen bike…. Please don’t hesitate to call 911. riding a stolen bike is a crime in progress and should be treated as such. good luck on finding the bike.

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  • beth h May 18, 2010 at 12:24 pm

    This really feels like a bad idea to me on so many levels, not the least of which is the potential example — or worse, precedent — it could set as the paradigm shifts and more and more of us rely on bikes as primary transportation. It just makes me nervous as hell. I sincerely hope no one gets hurt.

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  • trail user May 18, 2010 at 12:39 pm

    The homeless don’t need food, they need cigarettes. You want to catch the thief don’t you?

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 12:45 pm

    This just in at 12:03
    I just saw this bike on the front of a transit bus, heading north on mlk blvd, at the corner of alberta. The # on back of bus was 2316. I was working out at me fitness when I saw it. Tried to chase it down, but couldn’t get it.

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 1:10 pm

    Tamara you should call the Rubin’s:

    (415) 609-3182

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  • Len Rubin May 18, 2010 at 1:17 pm

    We just spoe with Tri-met, bus #2316 is a line 72 bus headed out 82nd, scheduled to arrive at Clackamas Town Center at 1:45 P.M.; we’re headed over there right now. If anyone can get there sooner than us, please do. (Obviously, there’s a possibility that the bike may no longer be on the bus, but it’s our best lead so far!)

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  • Caroline May 18, 2010 at 1:25 pm

    Man, if I were a Rubin I’d be on 82nd tracking that bus, not waiting at the transit mall!!!

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 1:28 pm

    That’s exactly what we are doing!

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  • Caroline May 18, 2010 at 1:36 pm

    Heh heh, awesome. Is the bike actually on the front or is it a blind chase?

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 1:40 pm

    It was on the front
    but it’s gone now
    but len hopped out of the car
    and got on the bushes talking to the driver
    to see if we can get their security video
    I’m. Driving behind the bus!

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 1:41 pm

    Tamara please don’t text and drive!!! LOL

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  • K May 18, 2010 at 1:42 pm

    Looks like this is rapidly developing into a bizarre Portland version of the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase: a bike on a bus chased by a posse of pacifist cyclists with their kids in tow. I’m loving it!

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  • Caroline May 18, 2010 at 1:47 pm

    Oh no! Don’t let the mania take hold, stay calm (as calm as possible)! And yes, please do not text and drive.

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 1:48 pm

    was texting quickly at bus stops! LOL Hence the typos. Bike not there…will follow up in a minute with more…

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 1:51 pm

    Just wanted to say, this is awesome. I do so hope you get the bike very soon!

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  • Pliny May 18, 2010 at 1:52 pm

    Chances are the driver will remember what stop the bike came off at. Who wants to bet on the Springwater xing?

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 2:04 pm

    This is Len texting from Tamara’s iPhone–
    the driver said the guy got off at PCC, Cascade campus (@NE Killingsworth); when I asked for a desciption of the man and the bike, he said the guy was “super-buff”, maybe 5’6″ (not the “5’11”-6′ tall” guy of previous alleged sightings; he went on to say that the guy was missing all his top teeth (I think he said top), and that he said he just got out of prison and that his wife had been keeping the bike for him while he had been in prison. He said that it was “one of them fold-up bikes”, with a “ripped seat” and no front bag; he opined that it seemed like an “old” bike…

    Certainly doesn’t sound like mine at all, but human perceptions and recall are notoriously inaccurate, either the oringinal tipster’s perception or the driver’s–or likely both–is liable to be quite a bit divergent from “reality” (whatever that is!)


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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 2:12 pm

    #39 LOL!

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  • Spiffy May 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    “Looks like this is rapidly developing into a bizarre Portland version of the O.J. Simpson slow-speed chase: a bike on a bus chased by a posse of pacifist cyclists with their kids in tow. I’m loving it!”

    haha! awesome! we need a live webcast showing an overview of the city as we watch dots representing Rubins…

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  • ekim113 May 18, 2010 at 2:18 pm

    Definetly want to think twice about confronting a “super-buff” ex-con that is already missing alot of teeth.

    He may not be interested in honey; but then again I have never been to prison. Perhaps he is a sugar junkie and that’s why the teeth are gone.

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  • ekim113 May 18, 2010 at 2:20 pm

    Googlemap app for bike chases!

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    Heading home to meet the “posse” with beer & pizzas–at least you guys are keeping our spirits high with laughter!

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  • RikS May 18, 2010 at 2:30 pm

    Hmmm… there are other fold-up bikes.
    I suppose so.

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  • RikS May 18, 2010 at 2:33 pm

    Some dude freshly paroled is probably not too eager to go back in. If he’s legit with his own bike, he’ll grumble a little but show off the bike to assure that it is not stolen.
    Then he might join the posse? 😎

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  • q'Tzal May 18, 2010 at 2:46 pm

    Perhaps this search needs to be spread further than BikePortland and a posse.
    The audiance here is rather small compared to thr whole of the metro area.
    Is there some twitter feed like way to let all the unemployed people in Portland know that a quick buck can be had by just finding this bike?
    Maybe post it as a “JOB” on Craigslist?
    And of course TV, because this is a small group and 20000 eyes are better than 20.

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  • Joe May 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    I see a new app being created soon, plant a chip in your bike and track it using google maps 😉

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 2:53 pm

    Where are you guys! Two news crews here & just three riders! Come on down guys (& we didn’t “invite” the news crews- they just showed up!) Fox 12 & Channel 8!

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 3:07 pm

    I tweeting on Twitter @tamararubin

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  • Ely May 18, 2010 at 3:12 pm

    I would totally microchip my bike.

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  • Shetha May 18, 2010 at 3:45 pm

    I believe the purpose of “microchipping” is to give something a unique RFID. It’s not traceable by GPS. That’s a much larger, more expensive unit. Microchipping serves as much purpose as your serial No. Only useful when the item is found. I’m going to ride a different route home from work today to see if I can spy the bike. Good luck, Rubin family.

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  • ekim113 May 18, 2010 at 4:04 pm

    You can place a small chip in an item an track it via GPS, they already do it for pets, phones and cars.

    Here are the obstacles yet to be overcome for this application:

    1. These chips requires power. You will need a way to provide juice to this thing all the time. If the battery dies, it no longer is working.
    2. This will require satellites, which you can pay to use, and software which hasyet to be created (for this specific application). Both of these things are easily overcome, providing you have tens of thousands of dollars to throw down to get the program started.
    3. Lastly, cyclists can be cheap. Are they willing to pay $50/bike and a monthly fee (~$15/bike/mo.) for tracking their bike? Not likely. Most people on BikePortland cry foul for a $5 per bike registration.
    It can be done, but if it was truly feasible (economically), Garmin or the like, would already be doing it.

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  • Rob May 18, 2010 at 4:16 pm

    A friend of mine developed a much simpler – and cheaper – product for recovering stolen bikes. The “Ramseat” consists of a simple explosive charge placed in the seat tube and directed upward towards the seat. Prior to riding the bike, a safety mechanism must be set. A bike thief, unaware of the need to set safety mechanism, will trigger the charge resulting in an orifice deposit. The end result is that the authorities will be notified and the bicycle will be returned to the proper owner (it is recommended that the seat be replaced). Unfortunately, my friend rode his bike recently after drinking a few beers and forgot to set the safety mechanism. As a result, full production has been put on hold until he recovers…)

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  • q'Tzal May 18, 2010 at 4:24 pm

    Watch the local “news” spin this as:
    From the looks of the comments so far it looks like a fun scavenget hunt. Can we make this an annual sport?

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Yes a scavenger hunt… But let’s use YOUR bike next year… Okay?

    Len says: nice day for a ride!

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  • Vance Longwell May 18, 2010 at 4:41 pm

    J #28 – Say, you wouldn’t happen to know if that is a felony, or not, would you? If, in fact, it is a felony to ride a stolen bicycle then a citizen’s arrest may be effected. I’ve been going over statute and can’t even find the statute you are referring to, or I wouldn’t waste the space here. Sure do wish a citizen’s right to effect an arrest weren’t limited to the commission of felonies. Pretty tough to maintain that level of knowledge about statute without a law degree, IMO.

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  • trail user May 18, 2010 at 4:44 pm

    Grand theft? The bike is worth more than your typical high end titanium road bike. A lot more.

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  • Jackattak May 18, 2010 at 4:52 pm

    That’s a good point, trail user.

    Vance you might be on to something.

    Is there anyway to price a prototype? Or are they considered priceless?

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  • Cruizer May 18, 2010 at 5:15 pm

    RE comment #28
    Calling 911 about a bike theft in progress works.

    I called 911 on the afternoon of March 11 when I saw a bike theft in progress — in Sellwood — and two police arrived in 12 minutes and retrieved the bike from where the thief had stashed the brand new looking Giant (He’d been hauling it on a scruffy, barely holding together trailer). The police put it in the trunk of their car and took it to wherever they keep stolen property.

    I was impressed with the quick response time. The police expressed appreciation that people are looking out for each other. There was nothing confrontational about this situation. I saw a person with a bike that obviously wasn’t his, I acted unaware and kept walking until I was far enough away so I could observe his actions from a distance, and I called the police. The thief got away (again, I wasn’t being confrontational) but at least he didn’t get to keep that bike. I hope the owner called to report the stolen bike so he or she could get it back.

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  • Justsayin May 18, 2010 at 5:37 pm

    Normally, you can judge the value of a prototype by how securely it’s kept.

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  • Jacob A. May 18, 2010 at 6:19 pm

    Seems to me the Rubin’s may have stolen the design from Brompton of England..?

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  • Cruizer May 18, 2010 at 7:01 pm

    66 & 67, Why so snarky?

    If you refer to yesterday’s story:

    “… after getting the blessing from Brompton founder Andrew Ritchie to clone his design, Rubin went to work refining and perfecting it.”

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  • Tamara Rubin May 18, 2010 at 7:02 pm

    Brompton designer gave us permission to use his design and then he took our improvements over the years and implemented them on the Brompton. We have had his blessing every step of the way because we have been free R&D for him. His bike weighs 26 lbs as a 3 speed ours weighs 17 lbs as a 27 speed. Len and our bike were recently featured in the new book “The History of the Brompton” – there is a whole section on Len and his work over the years. We used the basic fold of the Brompton and improved on it.

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  • Tamara Rubin May 18, 2010 at 7:10 pm

    So there were a total of 8 posse members spread out over time. Cole, Len and I (all Rubins) – Kirben & Rik Smoody (and AJ Rubin) also went out posting flyers – and Drew and Steve… Thank you very much to the non-Rubins for helping us out! We probably handed out and posted about 100 flyers over the course of the afternoon. And based on the tip from the homeless guy I met, we need to check out Clackamas Service Center tomorrow evening around dinner time (seems like the sightings of the bike were headed there at dinner time and that would be consistent with the observations that said the thief was a homeless couple.)

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  • twilliam May 18, 2010 at 7:30 pm

    @#66 justsayin:

    You mean like Apple’s latest n’ greatest iPhone debacle?

    After all, if Apple loses the next generation iPhone, can’t some local bike folks lose their ride?

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  • q'Tzal May 18, 2010 at 7:41 pm

    So the established value of this bike is years of salary and time? Ouch.
    The response you’ve generated is amazing considering the normal response to a bike theft.
    Meant no disrespect of your current situation but for a while there, earlier, it seemed like a crazy city-wide internet assisted scavenger hunt was starting. Would have joined up if I wasn’t at work.
    Considering the wide variety and frivolity of rides organized here in Portland it hit me as suprising that there isn’t. A “”

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  • q'Tzal May 18, 2010 at 7:46 pm

    So the established value of this bike is years of salary and time? Ouch.
    The response you’ve generated is amazing considering the normal response to a bike theft.

    Meant no disrespect of your current situation but for a while there, earlier, it seemed like a crazy city-wide internet assisted scavenger hunt was starting. Would have joined up if I wasn’t at work.

    No, I was thinking CCC or simiar could donate a fixed up beater, charge $5 to participate, set some rules and have some random person move the bike all over town.
    Considering the wide variety and frivolity of rides organized here in Portland it hit me as suprising that there isn’t. A “find the ‘stolen’ bike” game/ride.

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  • Stig10 May 18, 2010 at 8:58 pm

    Sounds like you’re getting closer.

    If you have the support, maybe you can have some of these areas covered at certain times in response to the sightings. The suspects probably have established routines.

    You could try calling the CSC for assistance.

    The suspects may not openly carry the flashy bike in the CSC so you may wish to consider having approaches covered to watch from a distance for a rider folding it away before heading to the building for an evening meal.

    If the suspects have any sense, they should hand it over to a friend to claim the find and reward.

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  • Tamara Rubin May 18, 2010 at 9:18 pm

    Hey guys – could each of you that gets this/ sees this please get back to me with your opinion?: We are thinking of doing another posse ride on on Saturday or Sunday. Saturday is supposed to rain (just a bit), and Sunday is supposed to be sunny – but seems to be a very busy day already for so many people (Sellwood Sustainability Fair, etc.) Today it actually turned out that 10 people helped us out but they had starting points all over Portland. We could offer our house for a starting point on Sunday 9 to 10 a.m. where we would hand out flyers for everyone to distribute (and maybe have pastries and orange juice and coffee?)and you could all meet Len and he could answer any questions – and then everyone could go out into the world in search of the UFB and then reconvene at our house after a fully day of riding and searching… at 3:00 or 4:00? for Pizza and beer and to report on their stories (we had tons of stories from today already!) What do you think… would that work for people? Would Saturday or Sunday work better for you? Saturday I could start later/ don’t have plans so we could have a 10 or 11 start time – but I am just concerned that the rain will scare people away like it did today. Is beer and pizza and good cycling company enough of an incentive to motivate people to help? If we had people riding all over town in various directions with a goal of posting up flyers / handing out flyers and asking/answering questions as they go – that could really generate some great results. I look forward to hearing from you. Thanks again for your support everyone. I got a bid today for a fence to fully enclose our yard (to keep the creepies out in the future!) Len’s birthday is Tuesday… it would be such a miracle for him to get his bike back for his birthday.

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  • trail user May 18, 2010 at 9:32 pm

    You wouldn’t happen to have a night vision monocle would you? I’ve got some bushwhacking to do tonight.

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  • Jacob A. May 18, 2010 at 9:48 pm

    Tamara…Thanks for the info. Happy to hear of your relationship with Brompton. Hoping you will find the bike. I will be on the look-out!

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  • Tamara May 18, 2010 at 10:03 pm

    Sure – had one. It was in the bag that was stolen with the bike – have fun bushwhacking in the dark!

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  • Tamara Rubin May 19, 2010 at 7:37 am

    As posted on the Oregonian article today… see you Saturday!

    We want to thank everyone for the outpouring of support and we want to keep up the momentum of efforts to find the bike until it is found. Another $100 was donated to the reward kitty – so now there is a $300 reward. Follow us on twitter @tamararubin for updates. We are also organizing another “posse” (others are calling it a city-wide scavenger hunt & right now it is a scavenger hunt with a $300 cash prize!) for the bike for Saturday. We will meet at our house at 10 a.m. on Saturday and leave by 10:30 spreading out in all directions. I will give everyone flyers to hand out and more information about the bike and we will have pizza and lemonade and beer and watermelon for all of the participants when they return to our house (from 3 to 5 pm.) Please e-mail me if you are interested in participating in this scavenger hunt or posting flyers in your neighborhood.

    Since this is a grand theft and the person who stole it could get prison time, we really hope they will come to their senses and just drop it off where they found it – at our house.

    Another person on suggested that the people that stole it should just give it to a friend and have them return it (and say they “found” it or whatever) and then they can split the reward money!

    We don’t care – we just want it back… this one-of-a-kind bicycle is our life and our future together as a family and the reason we moved to Portland eight years ago. My husband’s entire life’s work is this bicycle and if you have something that is your life’s work (a book? a work of art? a home? a cause?) you might understand what this means.

    Len is committed to helping the world by building the best tools possible to enable people to be car-free and lessen the human impact on the planet. The Ultimate Folding Bicycle (the bike that was stolen), versatile cargo trailers and supporting and creating bike-friendly multi-modal transit cities are all parts of that vision.

    In the end – I am just hoping and praying that I will wake up one morning and go out into the back yard and see the UFB there sitting by the garage….

    I will only be using twitter for bike related posts until our bike is found) and please also keep an eye on our website for updates. We have very limited resources right now – so if you are in a position to print flyers and post them in your neighborhood let me know and I will e-mail you the most up-to-date flyer (our you can download a copy from the link in this article.)

    Thanks again. Portland is an amazing town. We have faith that our bike will be returned.

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  • twilliam May 19, 2010 at 7:53 am

    Something good for the Rubin’s is going to come from this, sooner or later.

    At the very least, the prototype bike is now famous!

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  • Tamara Rubin May 19, 2010 at 8:56 am

    reward just increased by another $100 – total reward now $400 – thank you! for more updates follow @tamararubin

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  • q'Tzal May 19, 2010 at 9:18 am

    Who would recycle (pay for scrap metal) titanium? It’s a familiar enough name but large quantities, such as this, are still not seen on a daily basis. A recycler should(?) be able to tell this is not merely aluminum.
    There can’t be a long list of metal recyclers in town. They need to be in the loop on this.
    Similarly, the number of bike “chop shops” in town is insignificant compared to the potential number of bike thieves.
    With the full court PRESS that has cranked up by this point if the thief has any internet, tv or radio access they have to be aware they have something VERY VERY hot that they will be unable to use. Its only value then is what they can get for it.
    By closing the noose on potential sales points you force the thief to either settle for the reward or gamble that they could ransom it for more.
    So, cut off all avenues of escape then apply public scrutiny.

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  • Tamara Rubin May 19, 2010 at 9:23 am

    That’s a great idea – thank you qTzal – we will follow up on that.

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  • trail user May 19, 2010 at 9:31 am

    Maybe you can setup one of the other bromptons and have someone ride up and down the springwater asking people if they’ve seen the same bike, but in silver. I get noticed riding my folding dahon all the time. Something this unusual is bound to be remembered.

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  • Memo May 19, 2010 at 10:35 am

    #66 so Apple did not value its new iPhone when it was left at a bar?

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  • Paul Johnson May 20, 2010 at 12:12 am

    @Caroline: Bike path to nowhere? Fine, you deal with Powell traffic. I’ll take the Corridor: Fewer hills and intersections thanks to it being an old railroad grade.

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  • RikS May 20, 2010 at 11:07 am

    FYA: At the WebVisions 2010 conference in Twin Peaks (convention center) right now, there is a booth about bikes. They have a couple of folding bikes. They will be delivering a talk from the biggest stage (in the exhibit hall) “The (un)Wired Future of Bikes”

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  • q`Tzal May 20, 2010 at 2:56 pm

    Questions about details of the crime:

    In the Oregonian article it states:
    “Saturday night, after a long bike ride, Rubin said he, his wife, Tamara, and four children “collapsed and fell asleep” before they got around to putting away their bicycles.”
    “… disappearing without a trace from his backyard …”

    Was the UFB with, as in in view of ther other bikes?
    Was it the only bike stolen?
    Is your back yard area plainly visible from the road?

    It just struck me that this seems very targeted. Not corporate sabotage targeted but as if someone KNEW that bike was going to be there, knew its value and was only interested in it leaving everything else behind.

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  • Len Rubin May 20, 2010 at 4:23 pm

    Yes it initially struck us that way too, until I started thinking that if it was in fact a crime not only of opportunity, but of practicality, as the tips of alleged sightings are all suggesting (some homeless guy riding all over town, with a bunch of stuff, etc.), then the very qualities of practical convenience that I value so much myself–compactness, super light carrying weight, low step-over height, adjustability, comfortable suspension, large load carrying capacity, lots of gears for any terrain and grade, etc.–might have attracted the thief more than it’s pretty titanium frame and expensive components! Just speculating…

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  • trail user May 20, 2010 at 4:29 pm

    My plan was to take my RV down to the most spotted area and wait while lounging comfortably inside.

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  • Len Rubin May 20, 2010 at 4:35 pm

    Answer part#2: The other bikes were
    1. my small son’s tiny, crappy kid’s yard sale bike,
    2. my wife’s pretty small, (and very ugly) crappy yard sale mountain bike, and
    3. my oldest son’s super-gigantic vintage 1980’s very plain-looking purebred racing bike with downturned bars and super-skinny tires…think Goldilocks and the Three Bears…it was the only bike that was close to looking “just right” for a lot of folks—especially with the bag on the front for carrying stuff

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  • Tamara May 20, 2010 at 5:06 pm

    Wait len – at first glance it looks like you are calling me small and ugly! (because of how the paragraph breaks!) I thought I was big and beautiful!?

    @trailuser – that sounds great to me! I’ll publish a list of all the sighting spots tomorrow night on Twitter / here and on my website & e-mail bulletins. If anyone wants to be added to my e-mail bulletin list send me a quick note at

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  • q'Tzal May 21, 2010 at 9:37 am

    Len 91:
    I agree on your assesment of the ultimate practicality of the UFB but from the standpoint of a practiacal “redistribution of wealth” this theft is a lot like the theft of the Mona Lisa.
    This bike theft has gotten so much press coverage that it is unusable and unsaleable in town.
    I keep thinking that any witness seeing a unrecognizable person slowly walking through their neighboorhood is probably going to default to “it was a homless person.”
    Possesion/ownership of your bike by some homeless guy is really not going to be worth it versus not being in jail. There much more efficient ways to get 3-hots&a-cot from the justice system than stealing a bike and then hiding.
    I think that if the UFB was truely stolen by a homeless person for their own use than the posters, reward money and search parties would have affected a recovery by now.

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  • Len Rubin May 21, 2010 at 10:21 am

    I truly miss my bike, and the great and comfortable tool that it was for me every day, as no other bike I have (yes, I do realize “how fortunate I am to have other bikes I can ride”) works even remotely as well (and they’re all seriously less comfortable under my old, high-mileage self right now…no money at all to build anything else these days…52nd birthday is in 3 days and I’m feeling pretty depressed about everything, but life goes on…

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  • Stigx3 May 21, 2010 at 11:58 am

    I’ve been taking a second glance at every bike on my commutes in NE and SE Portland including sections of the Springwater and i205 path. No sightings of anything close.

    You might want to stop publicizing the actual reward amount as it keeps increasing. It gives the suspect reason to hold back and watch the $ amount increase. Maybe just word it as a ‘substantial reward’ for its recovery going forward.

    Don’t give up hope yet. There are many sets of eyes all over Portland keeping a look out.

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  • Tamara May 21, 2010 at 3:00 pm

    We got a lead! Someone said it is parked outside a bar in NE Portland. We’re headed there right now. Is anybody available that can help us scour Alberta street right now?

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  • Tamara May 21, 2010 at 3:23 pm

    This is the tip we got today via the Oregonian

    reader tip: Look for the bike parked in front of a cocktail lounge on NE
    Alberta Street. Combination 9xyz

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  • Stig10 May 21, 2010 at 4:53 pm

    A bike lock with an alpha-numeric code?

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  • Tamara Rubin May 21, 2010 at 6:09 pm

    Hello everyone – just a reminder that tomorrow, Saturday we are organizing a bike scavenger hunt with a $400 grand prize (the reward money) for the person that finds our bike. We are meeting at our place at 10 and taking off at 10:30 and we will all come back to our place to celebrate and swap stories of our day’s adventures between 3 and 5. Please e-mail me for the specific location or you can meet us at 10:30/10:45 on the bike path next to the Sellwood Park Playground (between the playground and the pool house) and we will give you flyers to hand out to help you and others in the search. The after-party is pizza and beer – and we’ll take more donations of both of those if you’re inclined to contribute (we’re broke at the moment!) Thanks to everyone who has helped so far. There was another siting today – but not sure if it was bogus or not … on Alberta, a sighting on Lombard and Vancouver, a sighting on the Tigard/Portland border where I5 and 99 intersect, a sighting by the Ross Island Bridge, a sighting on the north end of Naito Parkway, a sighting on the SpringWater trail by Johnson Creek (&46th) and on the SpringWater Trail by Foster (& 100+th – not sure of the cross street.) Most sightings have been with a tall skinny man riding the bike with dark hair t-shirt and long pants and possibly a beard and other sightings have been with a short fat woman – both in the 30 to 40 age range – man may be younger. Sorry to be redundant, but since others have posted on both of the articles I am going to post this there as well. Thank you!

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  • trail user May 21, 2010 at 6:25 pm

    Any luck with Alberta? Did anyone go up and down the street? There are a few bars and lounges according to google maps.

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  • Tamara Rubin May 21, 2010 at 6:30 pm

    no – I just put in xyz in place of the other numbers – so that it would stay locked in case someone found it (and someone could contact us for the actual numbers) – did not think it was a good idea to post the numbers – if it was (in fact) a real tip! I was on the road and did not have time to explain that when I did the post!

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  • Tamara Rubin May 22, 2010 at 9:26 am

    No luck on Alberta we had a car party driving up and down and a bike party that rode up and down twice – no bike. Bike Scavenger hunt continues today – email for more info or follow us on twitter @tamararubin.

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  • Len Rubin May 22, 2010 at 9:27 am

    I spent two hours stopping in front of the dozens of bars, lounges, etc. along the entire length of Alberta twice, scanning each of the hundreds of parked bikes (with our three youngest boys whom I had to watch, and who didn’t enjoy the process after the first hour), It was not fruitful.

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  • Tamara Rubin May 25, 2010 at 8:47 am

    Damnitall! I crashed early last night (10:00 ish) It’s been an exhausting week – we got a call at 11:17 and a call back at 11:19 both calls are from a blocked number and the gentleman left a voicemail (which I just got this morning) He said he has the bike and he will call back (it was a gruff voice – seemed like an older man in his 60s or 70s) I called the police to see if they can trace a blocked call and will call the phone company right now – if you know anything about tracing blocked calls let me know!

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  • Ely May 25, 2010 at 2:27 pm

    I hear you got the bike back. Update please?

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  • Tamara Rubin May 28, 2011 at 11:59 am

    Thank you very much everyone! (one year later) … We’ve finally launched our bike trailer project and once that gets going we’ll be able to focus on the U.F.B. again! Please check out our link and the fun 2 minute video:

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