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Keep eyes peeled: Thieves nab unique, custom bikes – UPDATED

Posted by on March 19th, 2013 at 10:25 am

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This is artist and bike builder Neal Fegan in September 2008, riding one of three of his bikes that were stolen from an art gallery in St. Johns last week.
(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

UPDATE: Neal says he got the bikes back! “Very happy to get all my bikes back. I guess they stayed in the neighborhood and enough people I know knew they were missing so got lucky. No harm to bikes, seems like whomever took them tried riding them but couldn’t figure them out (or sell them). Thank you very much for the help.”

People list bikes on our Stolen Bike Listings every day; but when I hear about special bikes being nabbed — especially bikes that are custom and one-of-a-kind — I like to highlight them in hopes that it helps lead to a recovery. In the past few weeks I’ve heard of two such thefts.

On March 2nd, Matheas Michaels had his black tandem stolen from N Alberta and Interstate Ave. while he was participating in a bike move. The bike is a custom-build created by Adam George of Bound Bikes. We featured it last June after seeing it on a Pedalpalooza ride.

Michaels says the bike is “very near and dear” to his heart and he now fondly reminisces about its many amazing adventures including; bike moves, dance parties on Mt. Tabor (where he’d haul up a 300 pound sound system), hauling 400 pounds of wine from Salem to Portland (up and over the West Hills!), and the many bike dates he’s enjoyed on it with his significant other. “We had it built specifically for the two of us and we’ve put incredible amounts of time, money, and love into it — it’s totally heartbreaking to have it gone, but it’s distinctive enough that I’m hoping a little publicity in the cycling community could get it back for us!”

Michaels’ missing tandem is full of distinctive features like HALO wheels, disc brakes, single-side drive, integrated air compressor trailer hitch, and more. Below are two photos of the bike:

BikeBOT Radio Ride-28

(Photo © J. Maus/BikePortland)

On March 13th, thieves stole three art bikes from the C3 art gallery in St. Johns. The bikes were built by artist and fabricator Neal Fegan of Montana Transit Authority. We’ve profiled Fegan’s work several times here on BikePortland. His bikes are very hard to miss and I can’t imagine anyone getting away with selling them.

Fegan says two of his lowrider long bikes were taken (including the blue one in these photos) as well as a big, upright creation that’s unpainted and has suspension (his bikes are hard to describe!).

Here are a few more photos of one of the three stolen bikes:

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All of these bikes should be very easy to spot. If you see them, please call the police non-emergency line (503) 823-3333 or drop us a line and we’ll connect you with Michaels and Fegan.

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. Thank you — Jonathan

  • K'Tesh March 19, 2013 at 11:07 am

    Bike Thieves SUCK!

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  • Urban Lace March 19, 2013 at 11:30 am

    We are so sorry Neil! You are an amazing artist and we can not imagine how you are feeling right now. Hopefully with the word out, you will get your amazing sculptural bikes back. xo

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  • Todd Hudson March 19, 2013 at 1:43 pm

    I’ve done a few bike moves, and I’ve always been weary of my cargobike. If it’s not within reaching distance, I lock it so it at least someone cannot ride away on it. I’ve noticed that a lot of others do not do so.

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    • dan March 19, 2013 at 3:41 pm

      Moving heavy objects with your bike can definitely be tiring! 😉

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  • Alan 1.0 March 19, 2013 at 1:56 pm

    That chopper, I sat on it at Pedal Nation a couple years ago. What a tangible sense of power it gave me! I hope that sensation is kryptonite for the thief.

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  • dan March 19, 2013 at 3:43 pm

    Stealing that chopper is crazy…it’s way too recognizable to ride around or sell. I bet that even up and down I-5 there are enough people reading Bike Portland that you couldn’t even sell it in Seattle or San Francisco. So…what are they going to do with it, ride it around inside their house?

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    • Richard Allan March 19, 2013 at 4:51 pm

      Hard to imagine a more conspicuous bike than that one. Kind of like stealing the batmobile and hoping you won’t be noticed.

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    • A March 20, 2013 at 8:54 am

      Keeping an eye out in Seattle, but this piece of art has sadly not unlikely already found its way to a metal recycler.

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      • was carless March 20, 2013 at 11:34 am

        That would be like showing up at the scrap dealer with a brand new yellow Lamborghini to sell for scrap.

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        • A March 20, 2013 at 4:23 pm

          True if you actually believe metal recyclers care more about bikes than making a quick buck off tweakers.

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  • Ted Buehler March 19, 2013 at 7:04 pm

    Hope they all come back home.

    Keep your bikes locked, folks.

    & if you’re surfing craigslist looking for these beauties, Adam mentioned that the wheels on the tandem are valuable enough to be sold separately from the easily distinguishable frame.

    Ted Buehler

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  • Ted Buehler March 19, 2013 at 7:09 pm

    More pics of Matheas’s tandem here:
    (hit “original” for detail on the distinctive drive train)

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    • Marid March 19, 2013 at 10:28 pm

      If you have any familiarity with tandems, the drivetrain definitely sets it apart.

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    • Matheas Michaels March 20, 2013 at 10:56 am

      Thank you kindly Ted, the wheels were worth more than most of my other bikes combined… I’m hoping my baby comes back to me. Or at least parts of her. And thank you so much for the write up Jonathon, I can’t express my appreciation enough.

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  • Opus the Poet March 19, 2013 at 9:46 pm

    Stealing those art bikes is like stealing the Mona Lisa and expecting to fence it on e-bay.

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