Tuesday, October 4, 2016

my second bicycle stolen

My first bicycle got stolen the moment I left it locked on College St with a crappy lock. I learned my lesson and only used the worst looking (but still functional) bike I could find. I thought it would never get stolen. But it did, and this is its story.

StolenPosterSingleLet me start with the quick poster I made.

I had purchased my first stolen bicycle many years ago from Costco. It was an Infinity Telluridebike, like many others (Costco sold it for a few years in large quantities). Even at my uptown residence, somebody stole the seat post. I suspected some new neighbours and ended up replacing it.

This bicycle had been with me while I weaned myself off my car addiction. I managed to sell my last car, then gradually stop renting cars and rely solely on bicycle, TTC and an occasional taxi for transportation, but it took me a few years.

When I started to live downtown I used a U lock from a girlfriend. We then broke up and I returned the lock, buying a cheap one from Chinatown. The cheap lock was broken overnight on College St, on the S side, about 50m W of Augusta Ave, within  hours of having been left there.

My next bike came as a gift from an acquaintance. It was a simple yellow bike and I used for a few months until he wanted it back. He asked me to bring it back for only a few days and then said it disappeared. I thought such an elaborate “return” was unnecessary. I wasn’t going to keep it if wanted back and tried to explain that to him, but perhaps he had a cautious nature.

I then came to rely on Bike Share. I hated the idea of having my bike stolen again and bike share was there when I needed it, even though its coverage area was quite limited at first. Bike Share worked fine, even though I couldn’t go for longer rides through High Park or Waterfront and I got the membership at a significant discount, via Groupon. Meanwhile, I kept looking around for my bicycle. I kept seeing it in all kinds of places, but did not have the certainty it’s mine.

So when a friend offered me her bike on account of leaving Toronto for Vancouver, I got her to sign documents and accepted it. I parked it at the College Backpackers Hostel, at 280 Augusta Ave, where it stayed a few months until my BikeShare membership was all used up.

Of all the bicycles similar to first stolen bicycle sightings, one stood out as the most likely to have been mine. I spotted it in the garage of the hostel where I had left my gifted bike. Its new owner was in fact working on it to change it. I emailed the hostel explaining that I suspected it to be mine, but they never replied. Despite all the uncanny similarities to my stolen bike, I still did not feel confident enough to call the police – and, besides, I knew they don’t care much about it. I hated the idea of having even a slight chance of being wrong, and I had lost the record of the bike serial number, so I let it go.

Year Bike Thefts
2010 3411
2011 3271
2012 3623
2013 3685
2014 3053
2015->June 30 1202
Street Totals
Yonge 367
Bay 296
Bloor St W 240
College 230
Queen St W 214

I parked the gifted bicycle in the hostel garage despite the theft issues, as I figured that it was still better off there, in the garage, where I let people know it’s mine and locked it with a U lock, than outside on the street.

When I went back to this hostel to take my bicycle, it had disappeared. It wasn’t the only thing that disappeared, but things like food and frying pans are perhaps no big deal. The bicycle was and the main owner called somebody and asked for the bicycle to be returned. A few hours later I had it, but without the lock, which had been sawed off. The owner would not tell me who had the bicycle, but I had my suspicions.

The bicycle was old enough (gphoto-album: https://goo.gl/photos/EpZt27KUGrAQZA7QA) for me to trust that the blue-vinyl combination lock was sufficient for it. And indeed, a few times I had forgotten to lock it and always found it where I had left it. I felt as if this bicycle could never be stolen!

Apart from “keeping it real” (i.e., rusty), I stayed away from anything flashy. I refrained from buying anything new. I also registered it with police (torpol-reg). Here’s the data:

  • Brand: Mongoose
  • Designed in Canada
  • Made in Indonesia
  • Serial: FSD10A00682 (not sure of the first character – letter or random markings?)
  • Model: 04MGG09A
  • Size: (21”) Medium
  • Color: Gray
  • Police report: T16017214

The most important 3 videos of it are:

I will be getting a new bike soon. In the meantime, if your bike was stolen and would like to reuse my poster (change the text and background photo), it’s at go.zamo.ca/sbikead.

Other things to do: sign the petition, post in The Stolen Bike and Find My Bike on Facebook, . For the next bike, follow the IBikeTO and Bike Shepherd guides, check out City, reddit, gnews and YouTube for other similar happenings. And if you ever want to track your bike next time it’s stolen, check out Amazon.ca or .com, eBay, for GPS trackers; also: snagg, sherlock, spybike, portscapes, fieldtech, int.

Sources / More info: tst-stats, torpol-core, sbike-cl, sbike-kj, gphoto-album, torpol-reg, gphoto-poster, wiki-kenk, dm-revenge

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