Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Portlanders rally to find Megan Holcomb’s stolen touring bike

Posted by on July 23rd, 2015 at 7:35 am

Megan’s stolen Surly.

It feels like all of Portland wants to help Megan Holcomb recover her stolen bike.

Here’s her story:

As many of you know, I just rode across country from Washington DC to Portland OR. My 2nd to last day visiting Portland, my touring bike, that I built myself, was stolen this morning sometime before 8am PST on west Burnside St (NW). I am absolutely heartbroken. I dont have many friends/connections here in Portland but posting this anyway to get the word out for those who are nearby. If you know people in Portland or surrounding area, please tag. Could be already in the marketplace or several weeks before the culprit sells it.

In less than 24 hours, her Facebook post has been shared over 16,000 times and I’ve received several voicemails, texts, instant messages, and emails about it.

This is sad not just for Megan, but for Portland in general! Let’s find this bike. The full description is below:


    Surly – Long Haul Trucker
    Black 46cm frame
    26” wheels (Continental Tour Ride)
    Honey colored Brooks leather saddle (possibly under black seat cover) and matching tan handlebar tape
    Teal cable housing
    Headset has a unique spacer thats a lime green beer bottle opener
    Shimano bar end shifters
    Black front rack (old man mountain) and back rack **the front rack cannot be removed unless they find a new quick release for hub mounting**
    Front and back Planet Bike fenders **with lots of bright yellow reflective stickers**
    The right of the top tube only says “Trucker” on it (compared to all/most LHT bc I scratched it off).
    27 speed. Large chain ring is black, middle and small are silver.
    Pedals are MKS step-in **flat on one side, clips on the other**
    I had a nameplate on the back fender that said “Megan” from Natural Bridge, VA but likely was removed.

As of this morning, Megan says the bike is still missing. And while she’s bummed about that, she’s also feeling good from the outpouring of support she’s received. Here’s what she just posted to Facebook a few minutes ago:

My bike and I are still apart. I am still hurting. BUT, the love, support, and community I have felt from social media is unbelievable. You all sharing my story has made a HUGE difference in exposure. The local news picked up my story as well as the Oregonian. Unfortunately, there is nothing new about a bike theft story in Portland… but the story is not about theft. Its about people caring. And relating to my loss. And not wanting their beautiful city to be known for this. I promise you all I will not remember Portland for the loss of my 2-wheeled companion. 16,000 shares? That has given me more hope than I could ask for. Its a community search party! And we are going to find this bike to show what all of the “good” can do to outshine the few “bad”! Thank you. Deeply.

If you see this bike, or even think you see this bike, please call the police non-emergency line at (503) 823-3333, and tweet @PPBBikeTheft.

Please support BikePortland.

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  • Scott Mizee July 23, 2015 at 7:39 am

    Yay! So cool to see the community come around her. Especially when the vast majority of us have never met her.

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    • Gman July 23, 2015 at 2:32 pm

      I have held my tongue long enough regarding the out of control bicycle theft, homeless camps and meth addict problem in Portland long enough!

      We are moving to the pacific northwest in a couple of years and would really like to move to Portland, but your lack of correcting the above listed problems will keep us from moving there I am sorry to say.

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      • K July 23, 2015 at 4:51 pm

        Awesome! I wish more people would decide not to move to Portland.

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      • bendite July 23, 2015 at 7:42 pm

        Sounds like a small town is more your speed. These are city problems not exclusive to Portland.

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  • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 8:01 am

    I hope it is found.

    But this part: “my touring bike, that I built myself,” I didn’t understand. It says Surly Long Haul Trucker on the downtube. I know lots of people who own that bike.

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    • Bryan B July 23, 2015 at 8:12 am

      Built doesn’t necessarily mean she manufactured the frame (which obviously in this case is a surly frame)… it means she likely customized a lot of the components to her needs/preferences, and assembled it. Which is pretty impressive to me, given my cursory bicycle maintenance knowledge.

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    • delingren July 23, 2015 at 10:25 am

      She bought the frame and built the bike.

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    • LC July 23, 2015 at 10:30 am

      The process of adding specifically chosen parts to a frame and fork versus buying a complete bike is referred to as building the bike up. It is not meant to imply that the person who built the bike is the manufacturer of the frame.

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      • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 12:03 pm

        O.K., thanks for those explanations. Once upon a time that sort of thing was called assembly, as a way to differentiate it from building something (frame, stem, racks, wheels, etc.). There are, after all, still people who build bikes or parts of bikes. Joseph Ahearne, for instance.

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        • daisy July 23, 2015 at 12:13 pm

          Sure, and I’ve generally heard those folks called frame makers. They may build up bikes, too, and make custom bikes, but buying the frame and turning the whole thing into an actual bicycle = building a bike. You can often buy a frame only or a whole bike from frame makers.

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  • GirlOnTwoWheels July 23, 2015 at 8:51 am

    This was my biggest fear during my solo tour. I am so sorry to hear that it has happened to someone else. I hope we can find her bike.

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  • joebobpdx July 23, 2015 at 9:35 am

    I made the mistake of reading the Oregonian article (and comments – oy!) on this. The article was fine, but the comments – which I did not finish – are just toxic. As is always the case when bicycles are involved. That’s just a bad neighborhood and I should avoid it.

    So glad that there’s another side to this story and that it gets reported here. Thanks.

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    • Andrew July 24, 2015 at 3:55 pm

      The Oregonian is a rag. And 98% of the commenters are made by mouth breathing knuckledraggers.

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  • zuckerdog July 23, 2015 at 10:28 am

    How lame –
    Thieves really don’t make the best bike ambassadors for our City.
    I definitely feel like Portland has a bike theft epidemic.

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  • Spiffy July 23, 2015 at 10:49 am

    The local news picked up my story as well as the Oregonian.

    the local news, oh, and the Oregonian…

    people are starting to realize that the Oregonian is not a real news outlet…

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    • Brian K Smith July 23, 2015 at 11:45 am

      I suspect that’s just a reflection of the fact that “Oregonian” sounds like it is a state-wide newspaper to someone from out of town.

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  • hotrodder July 23, 2015 at 12:29 pm

    I was part of the Missing Link Century on Sunday and when we were at Crown Point, the ranger was telling us about this woman. I was awestruck that someone would ride solo from DC to Portland, I’m even more amazed that she did it on a LHT. My “hard day” fighting heat and headwinds didn’t seem so hard all of a sudden.

    Goddamnit, this kind of crap just pisses me off. If there’s going to be any sort of fund set up to to make Megan whole again, please post it up here and I will happily donate.

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    • longgone July 23, 2015 at 1:14 pm

      My parts bin is open and ready to help!

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    • Middle of the Road guy July 23, 2015 at 1:42 pm

      That was a hot ride.

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  • Adam July 23, 2015 at 12:36 pm

    How was the bike locked, and for how long was it locked? Always frustrated this ibformation isn’t included in stolen bike listings.

    It would help to determine whether it was a more opportunistic theft, or a serious and more brazen “I have a giant circular saw on me” theft.

    Any info?

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    • Peter R July 23, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      It shouldn’t matter. It was stolen. PERIOD.

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      • Anne Hawley July 23, 2015 at 4:17 pm

        I agree in principle, but the question is worth answering not to blame the victim but to help all of us take better preventive measures ourselves.

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    • LESTER July 23, 2015 at 2:44 pm

      Since it’s said it was stolen sometime before 8am, I’d guess it was locked up overnight. It would take a LOT of locks to keep a nice looking bike from getting stolen off W. Burnside overnight.

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    • John Lascurettes July 23, 2015 at 3:24 pm

      Article on oregonian stated that she did not purchase a U-Lock because she thought it would be too heavy for the trip.

      Holcomb admits she didn’t have the best lock system, but a heavy U-Lock didn’t make sense for such an extensive trip. Plus, the bike was rarely out of her sight, she said. The bike was parked outside a friend’s apartment in Northwest Portland when Holcomb discovered it missing.

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      • Adam July 24, 2015 at 7:09 am

        So it was likely a 2000+ dollar bike, locked up with a cable lock.


        On Burnside.


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        • 9watts July 24, 2015 at 8:58 am

          reminds me of that fellow Leroy Parsons:
          “I’m not a bike thief, I don’t go clipping bikes, I don’t go looking for them, but if you’re dumb enough to leave a $2,500 road bike on the back of your car with no lock, I’m dumb enough to take it. I’m sorry, I’m not going to pass that one up.”

          One of the reasons U-locks continue to work so well for those who use them is that there seem to always be easier fish to catch, for those so inclined.

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        • John Lascurettes July 24, 2015 at 9:59 am

          Article didn’t say how it was locked up at her friend’s house, simply that she didn’t buy a U-lock for the trip.

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          • Max July 24, 2015 at 8:17 pm

            She used a cable lock. It was in the KGW article. “Holcomb said friends have since filled her in on Portland’s bike-theft problem. Her crucial mistake was using a cable-lock, which can be easily cut.”

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    • daisy July 23, 2015 at 6:23 pm

      When something bad happens to a bike or cyclist, BikePortland folks are big fans of jumping in and saying why such a thing would never happen to them. It gets old.

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      • 9watts July 23, 2015 at 8:26 pm

        Can you point to anyone in this conversation doing this, daisy?

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  • longgone July 24, 2015 at 1:06 pm

    Not to be pompous, but after nearly 40 years of the u-locks invertion, it amazes me people still struggle with the minutia of “how” in regards of bike theft. If theives want it they are going to get it. It is sad.

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    • longgone July 24, 2015 at 1:09 pm

      My last comment was in response to Anne Hawley’s statement calling for specifics in the theft of Megan’s bike. Sorry.

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    • 9watts July 24, 2015 at 1:51 pm

      “If theives want it they are going to get it.”

      Do you mean if they want it and it isn’t locked to something stationary with a U-lock?

      I am well aware the U-locks can be defeated, but this (having a U-locked bike stolen) seems like a fairly low probability given the availability of non-U-locked bikes.

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      • longgone July 25, 2015 at 3:32 am

        What? Do you always work this hard to be contrary?
        Argh! Semantics and Portland cycling. No wonder everyone gives up here.

        Please stop.

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        • 9watts July 26, 2015 at 10:43 am

          I’m not trying to be contrary, I’m trying to understand what you were saying. I still don’t know.
          Locking a bike with a flimsy cable is by now well known to be nearly useless. But U-locks (which you specifically mentioned in your post) are as I understand them about as good a piece of theft protection as we have. My comment, which you found so annoying, was an attempt to understand if you were making any distinctions.

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  • Aixe Djelal July 24, 2015 at 2:37 pm

    Good news! Megan updated her Facebook post to announce that her bike has been found and she has been reunited with it.

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