A pink beach cruiser bike is pretty. It’s fun. It’s feminine.
And it’s so eye-catching that thieves want it.
But all those same attributes also make such a bike easier to get back from a thief’s clutch.
Hannah Kehler knows this because she’s had her prized pink cruiser nicked not once, but twice, and miraculously managed to have it recovered both times.
“She’s my best friend,” said Kehler of the bike she’s lovingly named Sally.
“I ride her everywhere. I was devastated to wake up Tuesday morning and discover she was stolen – again. Why do people take things that are not theirs?”
Kehler locked her bike outside of the back of the apartment building she lives in on Bernard Avenue close to downtown on Monday night.
When she came out at 10 a.m. Tuesday to ride it to run some errands, it was gone and the cable lock snipped.
She describes her address as nice, but next to a “sketchy” apartment building.
The bike lockup area is also visible from the back alley.
Tuesday midday, a man and a woman who are known to be homeless, walked Sally up to the bike rack in front of The Daily Courier and locked it up with both a cable and a chain with padlock. Suspecting the bike was stolen, front-office staff at The Daily Courier called the RCMP to report it as such.
Expecting the thieves to come back and retrieve it soon, another staffer sawed through the two locks and brought Sally inside for safe keeping.
Front-office staff then posted a photo of the bike to the Facebook pages of The Daily Courier, Kelowna Lost and Found and several personal accounts asking if anyone recognized it and who it might belong to.
Meantime, a distraught Kehler had posted to her Instagram that Sally was missing.
“A random girl messages me with a screen shot of The Daily Courier’s Facebook page asking: Is this your bike?” said Kehler.
“I say it is. Thank you so much. And then I message The Daily Courier.”
Kehler came by Wednesday to be reunited with Sally and say thank you.
Police were notified that bike and rightful owner are back together.
Before Kehler rode off up the street, she told us she now has a sturdier U-lock. She also filled us in about the first time Sally was the victim of theft.
It was last summer when Kehler was working an evening shift at BNA Brewing & Eatery and her bike was locked outside.
She finished work only to find Sally gone.
Kehler told everyone she knew, both in person and on social media, that Sally was missing. A couple of days later, a friend recognized the bike with an unknown woman riding it.
Friends confronted the woman, seized the bike and returned it to a jubilant Kehler.
Bike theft is rife in Kelowna and it’s not just homeless people who are taking advantage, but dishonest opportunists and even those who try to make a business out of stealing and reselling hot goods.
As prevention, keep your bike indoors or secure it with a sturdy lock. Also, write down the serial number, usually underneath the bike.
If you have your bike stolen, report it to the police and work your personal and social media network.
You could get it back much the way Kehler did, the police may spot it or it may be recovered when it shows up at an agency like Pathways as a lost, abandoned or stolen bike.