It’s been an interesting 72 hours. You might want to get some popcorn.
So, for those of you who didn’t see the original MTBR post (which was pulled - edit: it's back up), I am the lucky owner of one of two extant large nude-colored Ibis Mojo HDs in the US (Brian Lopes owns the other one). I got the bike from Avi at Wrench Science in Berkeley, who graciously tolerated my 10,000 email queries, dialed the bike in and set me up extremely well. It’s the first bike I have been able to afford to buy in five years, a present to myself for getting a real job after being in postgraduate limbo for far too long. Biology is fun but academia doesn’t pay well.
I had the bike for eight days and had planned to go for my third ride on it after work on Thursday (the first two were amazing. I won’t review the bike here, but it’s freakishly light, and very fast and stiff in the chunk). The bike was locked with a Kryptonite to my roof rack at work, parked around the back of the Agilent campus in Santa Clara where there are patrolling security guards, a gazillion security cameras, plus the bike was in plain sight of everyone working in my building.
I came out of the door and looked open-mouthed at my car. My bike was gone. Slowly walking to my car, a sinking sensation in my chest, the lock is cut. Pure rage and helplessness. I go to security and tell them what happened, get in my car and drive home. I’ve had bikes stolen before, but this one really hurt. It’s not one of the great tragedies in life, but it’s also not nothing. I got home, drank a few beers, and posted on MTBR in a thread already started by tburger. I didn’t sleep much. I stayed awake breaking the thief’s jaw over and over again in my mind.
The next day I started to comb through craigslist at work, hoping in the off chance that the thief was supremely dumb. I didn’t find anything there, but then I searched on Google, which apparently archives CL pretty quickly, and found a post from Thursday night on CL – when following the link to CL I was led to a page that informed me it had been pulled. I posted the screencap to the MTBR stolen HD thread, and one of the other MTBR people (I forgot who, but thank you - edit: it was tgoff - thank you!) performed a superior Google search to my own, and came up with a similar post, but this one included the thief’s phone number.
Apparently, this is no Lex Luther. This kid is close to meeting the clinical definition of a moron.
I had already been in touch with the police, who were working on the best way to contact the thief and to recover the bike. In parallel, Stumpy Steve (who is now on my speed dial as “Steve Awesome”) whom I have never met, decided to make a call to the thief out of his own sense of indignant rage at bike thieves. Amazingly, the thief, whose name is Josh Scarbrough, was talked into taking cold hard cash for the bike at a meeting that was to happen last night. Steve got in touch with me through placing a call to Wrench Science, who then called me. I won’t give all the details of how this all went down because Steve will tell it much better than I ever could. Steve is smooth to the extent that he might actually be a superhero, whose superpower is smoothness.
To make a long story only slightly shorter, an undercover officer posing as Steve showed up at Josh’s house last night, and Josh – staggeringly brilliant Josh - rolls out of the house with my bike. The policeman informs Josh that he is a policeman and says that he has reason to believe the bike is stolen. He flips it over to look at the serial number but can’t find it. Because of this, Josh isn’t arrested on the spot, but the policeman takes the bike into holding.
After talking with Scot and Hans at Ibis this morning, it turns out that the serial # on the HD is located below the plastic rock guard that fits on the downtube. The policeman was able to remove the rock guard and found that the serial matched perfectly. Currently, Josh is on the lam. Given his amazing decision-making skills, I think we should have a pool on how long it takes for this kid to get picked up, maybe for trying to siphon gas out of a police car.
Anyways, I went down to the Santa Clara Police station this afternoon and got my bike back!
The only thing missing were my pedals, which had been replaced with a pair of these really awesome pedals:
Apparently, Josh didn’t like my Crank Bros. I think I’ll give these fine Wellgo flats to whoever guesses closest in the “Josh Scarbrough is on the lam” contest. Bonus! They have reflectors, which will keep you saferer on night rides in the Saratoga hills by the reservoir...
I am deeply indebted to Steve and to the larger Bay Area MTBR community – without your help there is no way I would have been able to recover my bike. That people were willing to help out someone that they have never met says a lot about the character of mountain bikers. The world is definitely better with you in it. Of course, I am also indebted to Officer Dave Albert of the SCPD, who did an amazing job.
And if you see an ugly-assed dude with a salt-and-pepper goatee riding a large nude HD somewhere between Santa Cruz and Fairfax, he didn’t steal it.
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