Recovering a Stolen Bicycle Takes Luck Jun 20, 2017

Perhaps you remember when my Geekhouse touring bike was stolen from my house in Silver Lake? Well, that happened, for those of you who missed that note. It sucked. I wept and I was very, very pissed off. Especially since we had video of the dude and the cops weren’t being any help. Granted, this is Los Angeles and real crimes happen every day. Then, a few people sent me a link to the app Offer Up where a seller had my bike. I went to the police station, showed them the app – which they had never seen before – and told them I wanted to go down there with a few people and get it back. They laughed. Rightfully so, but they were also assuming I had no “street sense” or something, I forget what they said exactly.

The thing that sucked though was when this popped up, I was getting ready for a flight to London, so I had little to no time to do this. I just wrote it off, not wanting to endanger myself or my friends over a bike. Then a miracle of stupidity happened. Kyle met Geoff McFetridge and Nicholas Haig-Arack for a ride on a Saturday, when the thief rode passed on my bike, prompting Kyle to chase him down, knock him off the bike and steal it back. All while the thief was yelling “I just bought this bike for $500.” A lie. The video footage we had as an identical, 100%, match to the dude riding my stolen bicycle.

A victory! But with a lot of luck. Unfortunately, the bike had a few dents in the TT, parts were missing and other things were wrong with it, so I called up Marty at Geekhouse, who said he’d be stoked to repair the frame and make a few key changes to it, which I believe he’s in the process of doing right now. Stories like this are so few and far between when it comes to bike theft and with the latest surge happening across the US, I thought I’d share some positivity to the mix… Thank you, Kyle, Geoff and Nick for being such rad dudes!

  • Lars

    A friend had her road bike/ only mode of transportation stolen about 5 years back. She did what you did, she was upset and angry, but ultimately ended up buying a new bike. Flash forward 6 months and my 5’2″ petite friend sees a guy easily 6′ tall riding her old bike across the town green. She went into full Kyle mode there and rammed this guy off her old bike, scolded him out in front of a large crowd and then rode both bikes home. I love happy endings.

  • Tim Guarente

    Stealing bikes sucks. I’ve helped a few friends recover bikes over the years. The last time I saw their distinctive rear rack in a recycling pile outside of an apartment building. The bike was on the back side of the building and was returned to the owner a few hours later.

  • Joshua Eric Sawyer

    Hell yeah street justice.

  • breed007

    I can’t believe the idiot was riding it around L.A.

    • floody

      Nah I can believe it. Let’s face it, if you’re stealing things like bikes you’ve already suspended or are lacking the kind of social obligation the rest of us have.

  • Nicholas Petersen

    I can’t imagine the the thought’s going through those dudes heads when they just randomly saw it in the wild.

  • The mental image of that bike chase made me smile. Stoked that you have it back.
    It’s really sad that most stories of bike reunification (that I have heard at least) Involve some act of vigilante justice.
    I bet if it were a car of equal value its theft would actually be taken seriously.

  • Jason Berkey

    Glad that you got it back in the end. Having gone through the stolen ordeal and searching kijiji here in QC for the thief to be reselling. It is good to hear a victory story of getting things back.

  • Mehdi Farsi

    That is badass . Kyle is a G

  • Phil Nigash

    Great to hear that this story had a fitting end. I hope your friends put a few dents in him as well. All thievery sucks, but bike thievery is the worst.

  • Don Gouda

    Ill give you $500 for it.

  • boomforeal

    few things suck as much as having a bike stolen – but few things rival the exhilaration of getting one back! i’m 2 for 4

  • sturtlovinggood

    Hell yeah

  • Thomas Alexander Peralta

    YES! Congratulations! I had faith that it would come back someday; you didn’t deserve to lose it. Also, it was too nice and too famous to stay stolen.

  • Jacob Mitchell

    Happy to hear of the great result. I had my gravel bike stolen last year and was fortunate enough to find it on Kijiji being sold by a naive bike restorer. A small Ontario, Canada police force seized the bike for me last week making it mine again.

  • Sebastian Burnell

    That is so good!!! Especially looking at Kyle with the peace-sign-hand just knowing that he knocked down the thief before. Lionheart!!!
    With friends like these…

  • John Baker

    Always put your name and address on a piece of paper and stick it in the handlebars or seat post. All you have to do is threaten to call the cops and advise the rider that the cops will find the paper and it will prove that it is yours.
    Also, never confront a thief unless you are armed in some manner.

  • PGH_small_adventures

    That’s amazing! So glad you got your bike back. And how about that price, the guy had no clue what he took.

  • Duuude! That rules. Stoked to see it was recovered.

  • KevinSF

    That’s awesome. Super happy you got it back. Chain that thing to your home’s foundation!

  • Brian Sims

    So rad you got your bike back!

    My father’s lugged, steel bike was stolen for me a few years back. It showed up on CL the next day. Pasadena and Alhambra PD coordinated a buy back “meeting” with the seller and retrieved the bike. Awesome police help!

    Key take away from the experience:
    1) Register your bike with your local police department to ensure proof of ownership BEFORE your bike is stolen
    2) Review locking best practices from Sheldon Brown: https://www.sheldonbrown.com/lock-strategy.html
    3) If stolen, watch places like Craig’s List, eBay, and OfferedUp

  • Kawika Samson

    Bra, so good! Chee!

  • John Lee

    Working at FBM Bikes i get calls from time to check frame models, history etc… One day i got a call from Austin TX about a small sword that someone had picked up from a police auction. As they described the bike, it reminded me of a friends build that was stolen over 4 years ago. Lucky enough i was able to put them in touch with each other and the bike was returned to the original owner.

  • Gregory Ralich

    Very stoked for you!

  • Brian Koll

    Fuck yeah, that’s some solid work. If I ever cross paths with you dudes, beers are on me.

  • Pablo Castanon

    Damn John, how did Kyle knock the thief off the bike? Such a James bond move lol.

  • DopePedaler

    hell yeah!

  • Nathan Fenchak

    My roommate and I managed to recover 3 of 5 bikes stolen from our garage last summer. The cops in our city were helpful though when we found the bikes on OfferUp and asked for help, because it turned out that the guy had some other outstanding warrants.

  • Charlie D

    nice

  • Will Ashe

    Hell yeah! Good job dudes!!

  • patrick

    Hell yeah cowboy!

  • Froste

    FUCKING CAPTAIN AMERICA THAT KYLE CARACTER

  • Mark Reimer

    Damn!! Awesome job Kyle. Glad you’ve got your bike back, I love that frame

  • Brian Richard Walbergh

    Glad that thief was a total amateur, a pro would have sold the wheels, crankset, and brakes for more than $500 and ditched the frame. Stoked to see what is next for it as long as it stays with rim brakes and olive drab!

  • carterofmemphis

    Awesome John! Super glad you got your bike back. Fuck yeah Kyle, way to be! <—-Somebody got this dude a Club®.

  • AdamBike99

    Yes. YES. FUCK YES!!! Thanks for sharing the good news John. And Kyle, you da’ man! And Geoff and Nick, too.
    As for the thief, “stupid is as stupid does…” There’s a special place in hell for bike thieves.

  • debineko

    Any chance of posting the surveillance video or a screen grab of the guy to get his face out there, especially if he’s local?

  • Unreal. I love it when a plan comes together.

  • Don Ald

    looks like kyle has blacked out maxxis on his stinner now
    what tires is he running now?

    • WTB 45mm

    • I won’t post the video for my own security but I’ll try to rip a grab of his face at high res.

  • recurrecur

    That is awesome beyond words.
    What a great human being.

  • Rob X

    Kyle, you a real one!

  • floody

    Wow man, fantastic outcome. Kyle, Geoff and Nick should be heroes to all of us out there who never got ours back! Never give up.

  • Frank

    Nice one. That’s the kind of outcome that you daydream about … or that only happens in movies. Well done Kyle!

  • Time to buy Kyle a cape cuz that dude is a superhero!

  • Joao E. R. Bola

    wwwwwooo soo lucky!!! that bike is sooo great! 1st time i saw that crank ever! its like magic! :)

  • George

    Mint!

  • M H

    I had a similar thing happen to my friend a few years ago. His Cannondale F1000 had been stolen about 5 years earlier. We were out getting drinks and saw another F1000 and he started reminiscing about the bike. He happened to mention that he had super glued something to the stem which fell off, so there was a distinctive super glue circle on top of the stem.

    Two days later my friend called me and claimed he saw someone riding his Cannondale while stuck in traffic. He got out of his car and tried to chase him down on foot. I simply wrote it off as him being crazy. Well that weekend I was riding down to the beach to meet my friend and I passed someone on a Cannondale F1000 with a super glue ring on the stem. I quickly called my friend, unsure of what to do, fortunately the person on the bike turned off to the beach. As soon as I told my friend this he hung up, and the next thing I saw was my friend sprinting across the parking lot screaming like a mad man “That’s my bike!”. My friend is far from an intimidating guy, but his screaming was enough to terrify the bike thief because he stopped, got off the bike, dropped it, and just started running.

  • S. Harris

    holy crap, nice work fellas.

  • Kyle Kelley: Bike Shop Owner : General Conversation : Heavy Lifting : Crime Fighter

  • Ace Metric Cycles

    would love to see the take down footy!

  • Sean Quill

    McLovin STD!

  • Fuck yeah! Nicely done guys.
    I’m loving the OfferUp photo with presumably the dickhead’s license plate in the background.

  • Billy Lad

    RAD!

  • Adam Leddin

    Good shit!

  • Andy Moore

    Hell yeah!!! Congrats to you, and chapeau and fist bumps to Captain Kelly!

  • Noel Smith

    Sweet justice! Ill never understand why cops care more about recovering a $500 shitbox car than a 5K custom-made bicycle..

    • Jesse Rinyu

      because the person with the $500 shitbox probably really needs that car to survive. Also, they may still see $5k custom bikes as luxury items.

      • Jesse Rinyu

        None of that makes it right, btw.

      • Noel Smith

        What I was getting at is any car is more important to cops than pretty much any bike. I live in a city where most young people who live downtown need their bike to survive (myself included).

        • to be fair, cops don’t give a shit about getting a car back either.

  • Splendid stuff and fantastic that Geekhouse can sort the TT out

  • kasual

    Daaaamn. Finally, some good news to read. Shout out to Kyle for taking it to the thief.

  • so, so good.

  • caliente

    Nice job! Don’t steal bikes bro!