On Wednesday, 11/10 at 12noon, I got a phone call I never thought I’d be receiving. My precious Viva Kilo, which was stolen in July of 2014 had been found, and the very bike that started everything over here at Pedal PT was finally coming home. Elated, I retuned the gentleman’s call, and spoke to ‘Wes’ about the circumstances and how he came to acquire the bike. From our conversation, it sounds like he had purchased my bike from a neighborhood riffraff kid named “June-Bug” for $80 over a year ago, acknowledging that he new the bike was likely stolen. My bike then assumedly sat idle for a year at his place off of 82nd Ave and Clatsop.
Wes said he recently had some work done on another bike over at BackPedal CycleWorks on SE 72nd and Harold, and spoke to Dave about the Viva, and it’s likelihood of being stolen. Dave looked for it on BikeIndex.com, found my post from July 2014, and got Wes my phone # to call me with the great news. I called Dave, just to be sure, who confirmed Wes’ story. Later that evening, I drove to meet Wes at his place, the adrenaline pumping in anticipation.
When I arrived, there was no mistaking that this was indeed my bike. The Viva Kilo had been stripped of saddle (Brooks B67s) and seat post, and the headlight/rear reflector had also been removed. Some mild rust spots on wheels/spokes. A random old saddle, and a jerry-rigged seat clamp had been installed (see pic). However, to my surprise, the roller brakes and NEXUS internal geared hub all were in absolutely perfect working order, and the custom fenders and front/back racks, brass bell, and leather handgrips were also left unaltered. No (new) dents, dings or scratches. Wow. I lovingly brought the bike home in my car, and unfortunately had to immediately get to PDX to catch a plane to Orlando for a conference. Yesterday, I finally got a chance to take it all in, clean and polish her up, tighten bolts, and get her closer to getting back to it’s ‘pre-stolen’ status. I seriously can’t believe my Viva is back home!
With that said, I am SO eternally grateful and thankful to everyone who made this recovery possible. My situation is likely not too extreme, but it took some very heads-up thinking from Dave, and of course without Bryan and the BikeIndex.org site, my bike would have likely never been returned. So, my advice: To ANYONE who values their bike, no matter if it’s worth $50 or $5K, take the time now to register your bike on BikeIndex.org. It’s 100% free, it takes less than 5minutes, and IT WORKS! Take it from me, getting your stolen bike back is possible, and I’m living proof that the bikeindex.org system works!
Someone has to win the lottery. Nice outcome.
I’ll probably be hated for asking, but did you pay the person who bought your stolen bike the amount he spent? Sure, he said he knew, or at least suspected, that the bike was stolen, but it was good of him to (finally) come clean.
Hey B Carfree-
Good question- I definitely had to think about it beforehand, and he did specifically say he didn’t want anything back for returning my bike. With that said, I did end up paying him a little something, because like you said, he took action and got the bike back.. Well worth it! 🙂
That is an interesting ethical question, is it unethical for the person who bought the fenced bike to ask for payment? And, is it more ethical for the person whose bike was stolen to offer payment to the person who bought the stolen bike?
Once I left a wallet with a bunch of cash in a restaurant. When the guys in the restaurant, migrants who didn’t make much money, held onto it and returned it to me with all the cash in it, I gave em about ten bucks, to reward their ethical behavior. Maybe what Pedal PT did here is the same thing, sort of.
I would expect to be reimbursed the money I spent on buying a stolen bike, and would pay the same to somebody returning my stolen bike…
this is assuming that I’m sure it wasn’t the same person that stole it originally…