This is an unusual story – I had to pass it along. A couple of months ago, someone came on to Dad’s property, cut a heavy bike cable, and stole the beloved bike, “Ole Blue”. The mid-1990s Raleigh had been kept in mint condition for years. I was sad to see it go and vowed to try and get it back.
This morning I had to run an errand with Dad’s car. Two friends had advised me that the bike had been spotted numerous times at the Mission of Hope – a place offering free meals to those less fortunate. Sadly, it is also a hub for people with “problems” and is frequently a hot spot for the Cedar Rapids police.
Because of the recent sightings, I started keeping a U shaped lock in the car, figuring it would immobilize the bike if I found it. That plan succeeded!
As I drove down the street at around 10:30, imagine my surprise when a 30 something guy was riding my Ole Blue right next to me! The rider went to a convenience store and leaned the Raleigh bike against the wall while he was inside. I nonchalantly parked the car nearby. While he was in the gas station, I snapped the Kryptonite type lock in place. It wasn’t going any where!
When the man came out, I was nice to him but advised he was riding a stolen bicycle. He said he bought it from a man just ten minutes ago. (Yeah, right?) At that point I mentioned he’s been riding it to the mission from time to time and I’ve had friends watching him. Adding that the police were on their way and that I planned to press theft charges, the individual quickly walked away.
The police arrived five minutes later, spoke with me, and got a description of the person. There were eight ways I could identify the bike as mine. The cops decided that I was the rightful owner and advised me to take the bike home.
Once in mint condition, this bike has seen a lot of abuse in a couple of months. Someone put outside hand grips on the handle bars. The worn seat was taped. The rear wheel was bent and I had to have it straightened at the bike shop this afternoon. The right brake lever is damaged – likely from a crash which also marred some of the paint. Someone even strapped a flashlight to the old headlight bracket. The cell phone holder was gone. The luggage rack was removed, too. It looks like a much different bike now.
Despite the “urban customizations”, it is still the same old Raleigh I’ve ridden for twenty years. Perhaps during the winter I can restore my faithful two wheeled friend to a little better condition. But in the meantime, it’s almost a certainty that “Ole Blue” will go to Decorah and will traverse the Trout Run trail.
It’s always fun to hear stories of the good guys winning. I vowed that I’ll never leave Ole Blue chained up outside again. It’s good to have her back! She was missed!
Thanks for stopping by. Have a wonderful weekend.
Bradford, the Van Trekker
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