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Oregonians come to aid of stranded bike tourist – UPDATED

Buffered Bike Lane with a bike symbol and arrow pointing forward

Ian, a bike traveler from Darwin, Australia, as seen by
Salem resident Chad Butler on Sunday.

[Publisher’s note: We have confirmed that the man in this story might be running a scam. A commenter below (whom I have also contacted directly via email) met “Ian” back in 2010 and heard a similar story from him. The commenter loaned the man money and then later saw him in a bar drinking and playing video poker. The generosity of strangers is a great thing to see; but be advised about this man’s history. — JM]

An Australian man on a bike tour through Oregon has learned first hand how supportive and compassionate our community is.

On Sunday, Salem resident Chad Butler was on his way home from participating in the Sisters Stampede mountain bike race when he came across a man from Darwin, Australia named Ian (no last name given) whose rear wheel had been badly damaged after being hit by a van. Butler spoke with Ian, and then shared what he learned on the Oregon Bicycle Racing Association email list:

“This was actually his second bad adventure of the day, as earlier he stopped at a rest area to use the restroom and someone stole one of his panniers with his cash, I.D., passport, etc. He’s now hoping to get to Seattle to the nearest Aussie Consulate.”

After offering to help Ian himself, Butler then made an appeal for others on the OBRA list to step up:

“I’m hoping I can help him find a heavy duty 700c touring wheel. Being that he’s currently without the ability to access his bank, I’m willing to be his benefactor, but I’m hoping to find a killer deal amongst our loving OBRA community. Bring it on guys. This fella started his bike journey here in Toronto and has pedaled his way all the way to Oregon, a mecca of U.S. cycling, only to find bad luck. I think we can change it around.”

And then, as I’ve seen happen numerous times over the years, our community responded.

Today Butler posted a follow up to the OBRA list:

“We got him a new wheel and put some bucks in his pocket. He’s now back out on the road with all his gear repaired and replaced. He’s now making his way towards Seattle to go visit the Australian consulate there to get new issues of passport, bank cards, phone, etc… so he can put his life back together…

… The support and concern you shared has definitely made a huge impression about the quality of individuals that make up the OBRA community.”

Ahh, the solidarity of the wheel strikes again. The support bike lovers show each other never ceases to amaze me.

Butler tells us Ian is headed to a hostel in Portland. I hope his streak of bad luck is over.

UPDATE: “Ian” is a con man who has scammed dozens of people over the years. Please read the full update to this story.

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