Esplanade closure begins February 1st

Megan Holcomb has recovered her stolen bike!

Posted by on July 24th, 2015 at 2:59 pm

Reunited and it feels so good.

Great news Portland: Megan Holcomb, the woman who was visiting our fair city and got her beloved touring bike stolen a few nights ago, has found her bike and the two have been united.

Here’s what she just posted on her Facebook page:

UPDATE. MAJOR UPDATE: The good in Portland prevails.

Another beautiful story to add to this tour in an entire chapter of its own. . .
My 2-wheeled companion and I have been reunited. We are both slightly changed – for the better. My bike angel, and Portland’s new hero, Andrea Gellatly, recovered the bike. Although I still can’t believe it, this is real. The community who came together over this, who shared my post, who told their friends, who wished me luck… it worked. We did it. My heart is so full of love for this city, and for everyone far and wide who somehow heard my story and took a moment to care and empathize. Not because it brought the bike back, but because it brought us all together. This city is definitely weird but dang do you all have heart!!! Incredible. Its really beyond words. Thank you! Every single one of you.

Her story was shared on Facebook over 46,000 times in just a few days and this theft is definitely the largest community effort to recover a stolen bike I have ever witnessed. Amazing.

I’ll update this story as I receive more info.

UPDATE: Megan said she got a text about her bike at 1:30 pm today and she’s leaving town at 5:00. “An hour or more later and would have missed this opportunity!” “I was very very prepared to never see a single part of this bike again. So lucky I honestly almost feel guilty. This happens everyday to people.”

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  • Joe Rowe July 24, 2015 at 3:05 pm

    Good news. Hint: Use a U lock even inside your home.

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  • Adam H. July 24, 2015 at 3:11 pm


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  • colton July 24, 2015 at 3:17 pm

    Nice way to end a Friday!

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  • Todd Hudson July 24, 2015 at 3:23 pm

    Awesome. How/where was it recovered?

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  • Granpa July 24, 2015 at 3:25 pm


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  • reader July 24, 2015 at 3:32 pm

    Awesome news. Give us the deets!

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  • John Lascurettes July 24, 2015 at 3:45 pm

    Now let’s rally and get those track bikes back.

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  • onegearsnear July 24, 2015 at 3:46 pm

    Looks like the racks are gone but glad the rest of it looks relatively unscathed. So happy for her!

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    • 9watts July 24, 2015 at 3:52 pm

      bottle opener.

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      • q`Tzal July 24, 2015 at 4:08 pm

        Fire sprinkler

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    • hotrodder July 24, 2015 at 8:53 pm

      Fenders, racks, decals, but at least it still has the Brooks.

      So happy she got it back!

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  • patrickz July 24, 2015 at 4:24 pm

    I kept hoping to see this!! To all Surly owners and Megan especially, here’s looking at you!

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  • Bella Bici July 24, 2015 at 4:27 pm

    This is great news!

    But, bummer, for her recovery, I’d guestimate that there are a thousand bikes not recovered. :'(‘ Makes me so sad that Portland is such a bike theft mecca.

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  • Tomas LaPallela July 24, 2015 at 8:59 pm

    People tried to tell me that my cable lock was no good, but they were wrong. The goodness of mankind will always keep my bike safe. Yes, my $6.99 Fred Meyer cable lock is like an angel watching over my $8000 road bike, stored every night on the shadowy streets of Old Town. If you believe that mankind is good, your bike will not get stolen. Praise Jesus

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  • wsbob July 25, 2015 at 12:12 am

    It’s got to be some kind of minor miracle that Megan Holcomb got her bike back in ride-able condition, if not exactly as it was before being stolen. More of the story behind the recovery would be interesting to hear. Maybe some thieves, or associates of thieves that read the news and facebook, and that still have a scintilla of compassion and conscience, played a part in getting the bike back to its owner.

    Megan…have a happy ride back home, and good luck!!

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  • Dave July 25, 2015 at 10:34 am

    Yeee ha! Doesn’t happen often enough. Mazel tov, Megan.

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  • resopmok July 25, 2015 at 12:30 pm

    I’m glad she got her bike back, but I feel like the rest of the story is missing.. How was it stolen? How was it recovered? Sorry if it seems nosy but without these details there’s honestly not much of an interesting story here..

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  • Alex July 26, 2015 at 9:38 am

    Such a bigger story here. She paid a ransom to a lady who seems to be connected to the theft ring, was shown the bike in a house full of other bikes, and just walked away?

    This exact thing happened to my friend a few months ago. Bike stolen, then the theft ring contacted him through a Craigslist reward post, said they knew a guy, sent a photo of the bike (same method as hers, spray painted and stripped of racks), and agreed to meet him in a parking lot. My friend brought the police with him and the guy was arrested. Unfortunately I don’t think he stayed in jail for more than a few hours.

    Really disturbing how established and routine bike theft is here.

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    • 9watts July 26, 2015 at 2:16 pm

      I’m going to go out on a limb here and say
      ‘Really disturbing how established and routine leaving $2,000 bikes unlocked on the street is here.’

      Do people routinely leave their $2000 laptops unlocked on cafe tables when they go to the bathroom? Do people routinely leave their cars with the keys in them out at the curb at night? If people did either of these things routinely, what would the public’s reaction be to learning that someone opportunistically stole these laptops or cars?

      I think there is a middle ground here that we’ve not adequately explored, or keep forgetting. Bike theft is rampant and hurts deeply when it is your bike that has been stolen. I know this from personal experience. But I also know that a real U-lock is the kind of thing you always take along just like you wear shoes, and take your keys and wallet with you when you leave the house. If people with bikes don’t know this, have failed to understand it, then we need to do a better job of communicating this.

      Because what I see happening is that unlocked bikes (and I’m including $2000 bikes tied up with a piece of cable as unlocked because Leroy Parsons* and his buddies admit to seeing it that way) are being stolen every day. But this is not really news and it should not really surprise us.

      I too would like our law enforcement to crack down on this, make it go away, etc. But compared to a lot of other problems that are also not getting any attention, the theft of bikes that are left unlocked doesn’t for me rise to the level of priority when persuading everyone always to lock their bikes to something stationary with a real U-lock we might actually make a much bigger dent in this problem.

      Or am I mistaken? Are U-locked bikes also being pinched right and left?


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      • resopmok July 27, 2015 at 9:16 am

        I haven’t seen anywhere in the story that it was stolen after being left unlocked or underlocked. It’s good speculation that’s how it happened, but without the actual story, we have no way of knowing. Do you have some information the rest of us don’t?

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        • John Lascurettes July 27, 2015 at 10:29 am

          She admitted in the original reporting in the Oregonian to not buying a U-lock because it was too heavy for the ride.

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        • 9watts July 27, 2015 at 10:52 am
          • resopmok July 27, 2015 at 12:30 pm

            I guess more reason I wish there was complete reporting in this story in particular. So ultimately she does admit it was locked with a cable lock and was stolen from outside (on the street then, I assume, and not from behind?) her friend’s apartment overnight. Having to jump around from this story to a previous one on this site, to find information posted in the comment section from another source just to get the whole story is rather irritating.

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            • 9watts July 27, 2015 at 1:04 pm

              I agree. But my larger point remains: would someone whose laptop was stolen from a cafe table get 46,000 Facebook re-posts, two Oregonian articles and two Laptopportland articles?

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              • resopmok July 27, 2015 at 1:42 pm

                With some compassion, one might be able to empathize with a person who didn’t really make the connection, after riding safely across the country with little need for security of a u-lock, that they would need one in order to leave their bike locked up outside for a single night. Those of us living here and who have plentiful experience and stories with bike theft know very well how bad an idea that actually is, but it’s not a very compassionate position to take for the person who is the victim.

                And to answer the anecdotal comparison, if I were in a small town coffee shop I very well might leave my $2000 laptop in plain sight while I go to the bathroom. And then if I came to the city and continued my habit, only to return and find it missing, my heart would certainly sink to my stomach and I would probably already feel pretty dumb without someone telling me I shouldn’t have done that.

                As for the half zillion retweets, most of us probably aren’t that well connected via social media. But ultimately it was luck that it reached one person able and willing to help with the initiative of recovering the bike. The other 45,999 tweets went off into the ether.

                Frankly, I just want to read news stories that say who, what, where, when and how things happened. All the dangling questions lead to heresay, speculation and misinformation, and it’s hard to develop either compassion or judgement based on those.

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    • George H. July 27, 2015 at 7:54 am

      According to the article in the O the bike had gone through several hands and ended up at this stolen bike house. It was spray-painted and the racks/fenders were stripped.

      In other words, the original thief brought it back to their homeless camp, stripped the valuable/unidentifiable parts, and rattle-canned it so it couldn’t be identified by passers-by. It eventually found its way to this house whose occupant is connected to the bike theft rackets.

      It is time for some sweeps again. Some collective punishment is warranted because of Megan went through – the camp folks need to know that if they get involved with or condone bike theft, the camping ban will be enforced.

      The camps under I-5 near the Eastside Espalande are once again becoming chop shops. Can we please do away with the political correctness so we can stop bike theft?

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      • Gary July 27, 2015 at 10:24 am

        Isn’t this the plot of The Hunger Games or something?

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    • UncleMuscles July 27, 2015 at 8:56 am

      The lady who got it back for her already has a record for theft so I’m guessing this was a similar situation. Maybe she can provide us with some more details on the house where all the other bikes were. I’m worried that paying these ransoms will encourage bike thieves as it’s probably easier to collect a ransom from the original owner for “finding the bike” than it is to try and strip it and sell it.

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    • wsbob July 27, 2015 at 9:51 am

      “…She paid a ransom to a lady who seems to be connected to the theft ring, …” Alex

      May be well to hold off making incriminating suggestions about the woman that helped locate Megan Holcomb’s bike unless there is something solid to support such suggestions.

      The name of the person, Andrea Gellatly, that helped find the bike, is given in the Oregonian story. Gellatly, self described as a Hillsboro resident formerly having lived on downtown Portland’s streets, is quoted in that story, offering some explanation as to her efforts to help find the bike; contacting long time acquaintances, making a good pitch to them to help her to recover the bike.

      (No mention in that story, of a ransom being paid to recover the bike, a thought considered by UncleMuscles, commenting below.)

      At least so far, all indications are that Gellatly did an entirely good thing by helping recover Megan’s bike. Better a messed up, but usable bike, than none at all. If they thought they’d risk coming under pressure from the police, by helping Gellatly recover the bike, they may not have helped her.

      It seems very lucky that this bike was ever recovered relatively intact. Selling off the accessories and rattle canning the bike itself for resale kind of figures. There may be more sophisticated theft operations completely stripping stolen bikes for less easy recovery and identification, and to make more money.

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      • Alex July 27, 2015 at 11:31 pm

        Maybe I am speculating. It’s hard not to considering that Andrea Gellatly knew exactly who to talk to for finding a stolen bike.

        A good friend had this same exact thing happen, got the cops involved, met the dude in parking lot, got his bike back, and arrested the dude.

        Who knows, maybe the cops are chasing leads from this.

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    • Alex July 27, 2015 at 9:07 pm

      All I am saying is: missed opportunity! She should have brought the cops along with her. It was clearly a sketchy situation. She had so much attention behind her! This could have potentially uncovered something bigger than a single bike being stolen. But she got her bike back and just got out of town?

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