Portlanders are rallying to the aid of a man whose bike — and all of his belongings — were stolen last week.
“My dream has gone.”
— Kim Minhyeong
Kim Minhyeong is from South Korea and was passing through Portland on a once-in-a-lifetime bike tour from Canada to Argentina. Just a few weeks into his trip he stopped into the Fred Meyer on Southeast Hawthorne for supplies. On Friday (6/30) he locked his fully-loaded touring bike to a rack and went inside for 10 minutes. When he came out, everything was gone. “Laptop, a tent, clothes, panniers, camping gears, and food. Someone cut my lock and stole my bicycle. I couldn’t believe, I thought that I mistaken for a different entrance. I got a shock, and I got into a panic,” Minhyeong wrote in a post on his Facebook page.
He called 911 and talked to the store managers about security camera footage. So far he has no leads.
“I really regret why I couldn’t be careful, and I have cried and I felt guilty, anger and sadness, I haven’t slept well so far,” he wrote. “I had worked and saved money for 1 year for this journey… My dream has gone.”
As his story spread on social media, Portland’s bike theft avenger Bryan Hance of Bike Index got wind of the story. Hance immediately swung into action to help find the bike and support Minhyeong. Local television news reporters from KGW and KATU picked up the story.
As more people heard about the situation, more people wanted to step up and help. Now Hance has organized an event to make that happen.
“As a Portlander and cyclist, this kind of theft drives me absolutely crazy,” Hance wrote in the event description on Facebook, “and I want to help Kim get back on the road! A lot of other people do too!”
Here’s more from Hance:
“There’s not a lot of time to run a Gofundme or similar effort, so I figured the easiest way for people to help Kim would be to come do it in person. Let’s show Kim the real Portland – the one that takes care of fellow cyclists and bike theft victims. (Also, beer. Yay!)
So: Come help support Kim Minhyeong and help him get back on the road for his epic journey!”
The event will be Thursday (7/6) at Apex Bar (1216 SE Division) from 6:00 to 8:00 pm. Check out full details on the BP Event Calendar or on Facebook. Show up to show Minhyeong that Portland isn’t a place where bike dreams die — it’s the place where they can be restored.
— Jonathan Maus: (503) 706-8804, @jonathan_maus on Twitter and firstname.lastname@example.org
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His gear is most likely at any one of the city-tolerated bike chop shops. Welcome to Portland.
Yes, after what seemed to be a few months of these chop shops going under cover, they are now back to operating in plain daylight in the usual locations. The city’s tolerance for blatant criminal activity excused under the cover of homeless camps needs to be re-visited.
Is it possible Wheeler is actually as ineffective as Hales? I didn’t think that was possible but from what I’ve been witnessing not much has improved.
Welcome to America!
Your insufferable nature streak continues, unbroken. Congratulations.
Is he incorrect?
🙁 bummer this has to stop.
>Fred Meyer on Southeast Hawthorne
That area is ground zero for criddlers with sticky fingers. Though those passing through wouldn’t know this.
Thanks for introducing me to a usefull ( unfortunetly) new word “criddler.”
The area needs more bikeninjas to battle the criddlers 🙂
If it happened within 10 minutes, that suggests people are just waiting for something like that to be parked there. Which means a sting might be pretty easy to do.
I just got back into town, and in addition to the lone wheel that’s been locked to their rack for weeks, there is now a mostly-stripped bike. And I park mine there probably every other day.
I think it highly unfortunate that some here automatically feel the need to tar the homeless. Bike theft and homelessness (in Portland) are both large, complex, diverse, fraught subjects, and I don’t think there is any benefit to be had from collapsing the two like this.
The event sounds like an excellent idea and gesture.
Not every bike thief is homeless and certainly not every homeless person is a bike thief. However, if all the homeless folks magically disappeared there would be a significant decline in bike theft. Similarly, if all the bike thieves were to suddenly disappear, there would also be a measurable, if much smaller, decline in homelessness.
Many of my friends have recovered their stolen bikes at known homeless camp chop shops because they were aware of the correlation. Ignoring it isn’t going to make it go away.
Who said anything about the homeless before you brought it up?
With the number of bike tourists losing their bikes in Portland one would think this is the only City one needs a u-lock. But it’s not.
If Kryptonite makes thick burly version of the U-lock and puts New York on it. Maybe they can come out with a full bicycle encasement made of titanium alloy with an auditory and visual alarm with some souped up version of Lojack and call it Portland.
Does anyone have a more detailed description of his bike and gear? Seems that some of it may have come from Korea and be somewhat distinctive here. His touring rig has certainly been dismantled, but maybe some of it will pop up around town and give us some leads.
This is his bike:
SCOTT Scott sub 40 – stolen along with laptop, a tent, clothes, panniers, camping gears, and food.
Perhaps if there are photos of his equipment… the tent, the computer, etc… someone might be able to recognize it if it is spotted out there.
Also, the report on TBI said cable lock. While the lock is likely gone (probably dumped in the first available trashcan), what kind of cable lock was it? I ask so that perhaps others might learn what NOT to use to secure their bike.
Cable lock – aha. I suspected as much.
Selling cable locks should be outlawed.
The false sense of security is not worth the price of entry.
A cable lock is really handy for affixing my bike to the roof rack. It’s enough to keep someone from snatching my bike off the roof when I’m stopped a signal or when I stop at rest stop.
OK. sell them but – borrowing a page from Rene Magritte – label them ‘Ceci n’est pas une antivol’.
U-bolts also give a false sense of security. At best, you can secure the frame and a wheel. The rest of the bike can be stripped very quickly.
In any case, U-bolts can also be defeated though it takes a bit more motivation.
If you read carefully, the first two commenters were not really tarring the homeless. They refered to chop shops, and chop shops set up under the cover of homeless camps. That these chop shop exist is well known, and that they are in the proximity of homeless encampments is also easily observed, what would be an unfair generalization is to accuse all or most homeless folk of being bike thieves. If we assume that most homeless folk are bike thieves ( not true in my opinion) then we have no solution that does not involve the difficult task of erradicating homelessness. And if we assume that bike thieves are never found within the proximity of homeless folk then we are again at a dead end. But if we assume that most homeless folks are not bike thieves and that the real bike thieves operate in the proximity of homeless encampments we have a logical solution . This logical solution ( though tough to enact) would be to find a way to economically empower the great majority of the homeless population to observe and turn in the thieves. This would be a win-win for everyone but the theives.
One could even say the homeless would be incentivized to do so, in order to sever the linkage people make between the homeless and bike thieves.
We can finally dispel the false notion that chop shops are somehow linked with the homeless, who simply seem to have a disproportionate number of bicycle collectors amongst them.
Unless he gets a better lock and keeps a closer eye on his bike he is not going to make it very far. Bike theft is very common anywhere bicycling is popular. San Francisco has an even higher bike theft rate than Portland and any college town is going to have a bike theft problem.
That’s a very busy location, didn’t anyone notice what was going on?
No. Even the people who stand at the door have so much going on around them they can’t keep an eye on everything, and bike thieves that hit that location are aware of that.
I live just a few blocks from the Hawthorne Fred Meyers and have been thinking about sitting and video recording the site for later analysis of how the thieves work the area.
I’ve been in contact with one houseless man who exclaims that he hates thieves. I met him when he stopped my bike from being stolen at Hawthorne FM. He gave me insight on how the operations are conducted to steal bikes from there. That was two years ago and I did not follow up on conducting surveillance of the area. Now that I have my Hero4 I think I’m going to sit on the location randomly and see what I can find, and possibly publish.
Sorry to hear it happen…speaking as a frequent bike tourer in North American and internationally, it is always a mental debate as to how much gear to leave on one’s bike when locked and parked for a brief grocery stop…
I would have to agree that it was likely less of a crime of opportunity (then only the laptop, panniers and camping gear would be gone if the bike was locked) as the “lock” was cut, as someone added in the comments.
As for the fundraiser event…perhaps in addition to any cash raised for the touring bike replacement…bike touring folks can coordinate and bring appropriate gently used solo bike touring gear (racks, tent, pots, frame pump etc.)…and perhaps link him up to other bike tourers who are going his way so it does not have to be solo and thus more vulnerable …
Decades ago, my wife trained a graduate student from S. Korea. He had a wonderful time and within a couple of years we had another fifty students from his alma mater in our department. Soon we had several hundred S. Korean students working at all levels, simply from this one graduate student’s recommendations.
This theft may end up costing the region lots of tourist-type money. How much can one tourist from S. Korea spend? Well, how about how many other tourists from S. Korea will now avoid Portland, and perhaps all of N. America? How many of them might have had a great time and eventually moved a company here to employ people?
We’re way overdue for taking bike theft as seriously as we take car theft, or more so. Imagine car chop shops operating openly, or not being able to park overnight outside.
I don’t disagree with you, but the city doesn’t take car theft seriously either.
I am sadly way out of town now. Would definitely love to pitch in to a GoFundMe if one is set up.
Also, did the cops check the chop shop behind pho dalat? Seems like a high possibility.
GFM is not doable because a) Minheyong has no US bank account and b) the guy can’t wait around for weeks for a GFM to complete.
If you want to donate though – email me at bryan@Bryan Hance (The Bike Index).org and I’ll send you the paypal we’re using for this.
Freddie’s always has guys working security (sorry, “greeters”) at the door right next to the bike corral. Would it kill them to take a glance over at the bikes every few minutes? They wouldn’t even have to move.
It’s highly likely someone saw this. Even if a greeter saw the theft occur, this would occur so fast that the thief would be gone unless someone were willing to engage in a confrontation — a bad idea.
One thing that blows my mind is that for all the things people advocate for here, secure bike parking is really low on the list. Services like the Bike Valet should be much more common. Bike lockers should be available — I’ve been able to rent these in other places I’ve lived. And why do people ask for staples rather than racks with built in locks? Yes, they’re more expensive, but they’re far more secure and some designs secure wheels as well as the frame. This is much more convenient and awesome for those who can’t afford a lock that’s worth as much as their bike.
Knowing your bike isn’t safe discourages riding. Given how much everything costs out here, some people aren’t going to want to tool around on beater bikes secured with a U-bolt that weighs more than a steel frame or heavy chain that weighs more than gallon of milk.
I spend way too much time on my bikes to ride something I don’t love, and if you want people to give up cars they love, they’re going to need to love the alternative as well — riding a beater or having legitimate worries about their bikes isn’t going to cut it. Speaking for myself, I’d ride to the airport except for the fact that there is no reasonable way to protect a bike. Anyone who U-locks to a staple and leaves for days shouldn’t expect anything rideable when they return.
Any update on the event?
Just a heads up on this, yes – the event was a great success, see
We raised a ton of donations, a lot of gear, about 40 folks showed up from the cycling and local Korean community, along with press and so so many well wishers. @grindmusubi brought a ton of yummy musubi and @showerspass donated a bunch of store credit, and @apexbar was a super awesome host.
I was blown away at the support shown for Minhyeong Kim by the PDX community. So so so many good folks came out and shared their own stories, their support, and their awesomeness. It was overwhelming, I won’t lie 🙂
I’m just now back in town (I had travel shortly after the fundraiser) but I’ll be posting a FB update shortly over at https://www.facebook.com/bikeindex – so please stay tuned
Why do we rely on a municipality to deal with things the citizens could fix with a coordinated effort?
Because vagrancy is tolerated in this city, and YOU would be in trouble for interfering with the fine folks operating the chop shops.