Recovery Stories

How to Get Your Bike Back

I let a friend use my 20 year old Gary Fisher HKII. I gave him explicit instructions to lock it up if it was ever unattended--even for a minute--and handed him my 20 year old Kryptonite. Three weeks later I saw him on a girls bike. Here's what I did to get my bike back.

I drove up and down every street within two miles of where it got stolen. I drove past bike racks in front of stores hoping to find my lost ride. Well, my efforts paid off last Sunday when I saw what looked like my bike in front of the Raleys near my house.

When I jumped out and strode up for a closer look, there was no doubt about it, that was definetely my bike. My 1990's era, Gary Fisher HKII, with an unmistakable paint job (hunter green with silver spots) was right there within reach. There were a couple of guys there too, but by now the adrenaline had kicked in and I just walked up, and without saying a word, grabbed my bike and started toward my Jeep. Right about then I heard a metalic sound. But before it had a chance to register, I looked over and noticed an open padlock on the ground behind the bike. His lock had popped open and fell on the ground when I grabbed the bike!

Needless to say the guys were a little stunned. When the now-bicycle-less-one realized what was happening, he jumped up and challenged me like "hey man--what'd ya think your doing"! I said "I'm taking back what's mine", and procedeed to open the back of my Jeep. He wasn't done. "How do I know you're not stealing the bike from me"? This guy accused me of robbing him! Resistance was the last thing I wanted.

All I can say is thank God for cell phones and 9-1-1 because after about 30 seconds with the emergency operator, he put up his hands and said "whoa, I guess it must really be your bike" (and something about being mad at his friend for loaning him a hot bike). Incredibly, I had not only found what, by rights, should have been gone forever, but it was in the back of my Jeep.

I noticed the rear wheel had been changed so I wasn't ready to leave just yet. Say what you will about scummy bicycle thieves, but A) I wasn't sure he was the one who stole it, and B) The guy was cooperating. So I threw him a $10 bill and said, "here you go, thats your reward for finding my bike". He looked confused and showed his buddy the $10 bill. As good a time as any to ask him, "Hey, do you know where the ARAYA wheel is"? "I'd really like to get that back too". He said he'd call me if he had any info on the wheel and gave me his cell number. I called his phone so he'd have my number too.

I got a call at 9:22 that evening from "Chris" (actualy probably his real name). "Meet me at the gas station I've got your rim". OK, I'll bite. I had no back-up, but went and checked it out anyway. With the guys Huffy replacement rim in hand (my sense of fair-play is making me sick by now too), I pulled into the Circle K off Mather Field near Rockingham (Rancho-Cor-bad-part-of-town), and he was there with my wheel. My HKII is sporting it's original ARAYA's, and I'm still in one piece--unprecedented.

Anyway, if someone is in a similar situation, and wants to find their recently stolen bike, spend some time every day looking for it. All you need is a little faith that finding it is at least a possibility. And what the hell, you just might get lucky.


Turbo Monkey
Feb 3, 2004
NORCAL is the hizzle
I was working at a shop and one day a test rider never came back with his carbon giant mtb. The owner jumped in the shop van (a clapped out toyota) and went looking. A couple hours later he spotted the guy and gave chase. That included hopping a curb and chasing the dude around a public park - in the van. Eventually the guy crashed, and the shop owner tackled him, threw a few punches for good measure, and took the bike back. Owner returned to the shop triumphantly. Nobody really believed it but after work we rode over to the spot and saw tire tracks running across the field. :thumb:


Turbo Monkey
Aug 9, 2001
Nevada, 2 hours from Mammoth
Moron me used to ride my Mantis ProFloater to work every day. Locked it up in front of the security-manned employee entrance, foolishly thinking it would be even slightly watched by a person or the security cameras viewing that section. Went out after work, look cut and bike gone. Asked surveillence if I could take the time to view the tapes, only to be told that particular camera was broken about that time. Yes, I was a fool to ride that particular bike for commuting, and yes, if it is ever found (we're talking 15+ years later), I'm going to either have a hey-day on the person, or be overjoyed since I loved that bike........