08 May 2011

My Bike Was Stolen

Photo by Diego Franssens - from interview in Belgian magazine Knack.

Saturday morning, 11:30. Came out of the flat with the kids, heading for a toy store to buy a present that Felix would then take to a birthday party. Lulu-Sophia and I would then run some errands and hang out in the backyard.

All of this would happen with my red Bullitt cargo bike. Which, I discovered, wasn't where I parked it.

First thought... "Hmm, I thought I parked it there..."
Second thought... "Maybe I parked it in the other spot..."
Third thought, gradual realisation... "It's been nicked..."

Not a foreign line of thought. Hell, I've had loads of bikes stolen before. But the fourth thought really says all about the role of the bicycle in Copenhagen - and in my life:

"Shit... how I am going to get around today?!"

Standing there with two kids - Felix was on his own bike - with things to do, places to go and stuff to buy and the cargo bike rug was pulled out from beneath me. My uattainable schedule that day flashed before my eyes, followed by the following days.

Rather telling that all the practical uses for my missing bike were the primary thoughts filling my head. Only after a while I said to the kids... "Damn... I really liked that bike."

Cue a couple of minutes of restless, confused lingering on the sidewalk. Logistical solutions presenting themselves. I called the kids' mum to borrow her cargo bike. In conversation with her I realised we could still get Felix to his birthday party on time. So off we walked. Legs are our alternative transport in this neighbourhood.

I still didn't have any way of getting Lulu-Sophia around after that. My Velorbis was loaned out to a friend and it was rigged with a bulldog seat. I called him and he was kind enough to hurry over with the bike so I could transport The Girl, like we've done before:
Lulu and Pippi
There's a lot of bike theft in a mainstream bicycle culture. Such is life. Where cargo bikes are concerned, however, it's not intoxicated fellow citizens needing a bike right then and there who take it. It's more organised. There's big money in cargo bikes. So much so that backyards are infiltrated in the search for them.
Load 1 Me
The funny thing is that whoever nicked it probably doesn't realise that it's the most famous Bullitt in Copenhagen. Not least because I blog about it often. That just make it possible to spot it on the streets.

If you spot it, I'm really looking forward to hearing about it. There are loads of Bullitts on the streets of Copenhagen, but not many red ones. It's also quite unique for a Red Bullitt.

- It's red with a Brooks saddle and handlebars grips.
- The red side panels are quite rare.
- There is a black cover on the cargo box.
- It has a foldable seat in the box.
- On the cross bar there is a seat for the kids.
- Which is on top of a Cycle Chic sticker.

- On the right side there is an FC St. Pauli sticker (as above) and a "Du må gerne køre uden cykelhjelm" sticker.
Load 2 Me 2
On the right side there is a I Bike CPH sticker. Sure, I'm sure all these stickers will get peeled off, but... what makes it rather unique is that the Bullitt logo on the sides - at the bottom - is in a yellowish colour, whereas many Red Bullitts have white lettering. This is quite an important detail in recognising it.

There is also a secret mark underneath the bike that I'll be able to recognise.

Beach Transport
There were no sleeping children in it. Shame, I might have gotten it back if there were.

Football Transport
If anyone here in Copenhagen spots it, or sees it for sale, please let me know. Let's see if - against all my expectations - this social media lark can help me get the bike back. :-) Thanks in advance for any help.

Hvis du bor i KBH/FRB og ser cyklen send gerne en sms til 26259726.


Kevin Love said...

So sorry to hear about your bike being stolen! I sincerely pray that you will get it back.

Yes, one downside of bike culture is a high level of bike theft. Toronto's bike culture even nurtured the notorious bike theft organized crime gang kingpin Igor Kenk.

Part of being a crime overlord is that he didn't have to get his own hands dirty actually stealing bikes. His minions did that.

Until one fine day the Toronto Police's Bike Theft Unit was staking out one of the "bait bikes" they set out for thieves to steal. Lo and behold, Mr. Kenk was providing some on-the-job training in the fine art of bike theft to one of his newly-recruited gangsters. Got him!

With the resulting search warrants, the police recovered over 3,000 stolen bicycles. Yes, that's three thousand stolen bicycles. The police had to rent a warehouse to put them all on display for people to come to identify and recover their stolen bikes.

He was sentenced to a well-earned 30 months in prison. Details at:


I hate bike thieves.

Kim said...

Hope you get the bike back soon, in the mean time I am sure Larry vs Harry will help you out, after all you are their biggest source of free advertising ;-)

Bad Karma said...

I'm sorry to hear about your bike, and hope that between it's unique details and Copenhagen's finest, you see it again soon.

I really like the picture at the top of the article - I feel it communicates what you're getting at here.

bikeolounger said...

A pox on bicycle thieves.

May you get your bike back.

bikeolounger said...

A pox on bicycle thieves.

May you get your bike back.

wimharwig.com said...

This is your best advertisement for the Bullitt till now ! ;-)

I hope you'll get it back undamaged ....

Milena said...

Gosh! I understand you! I live in a small Brazilian town and I'm nobody without my bicycle!

Hope you'll find your Bullitt!

domotion2011 said...

The Rat Bastards may feel ironic and return the bike when they find out who they stole it from. Weirder things have happened. I can attest on two occasions where stolen bikes were brought back into my possession by luck and pluck. Just be forewarned, you will have to be as clever as the thief if and when the time comes when you take it back.

shuichi said...

I am very sorry to hear of the robbery. I believe your red one will be found because of its famous features. I believe.

Oldfool said...

Bicycle thieves exist only because there is a huge market of good honest people willing to buy stolen goods if the price is right.

Luis Peters said...

"On the right side there is an FC St. Pauli sticker"

That's the left side ...

Hope you get it back soon.

Bicycle Tyro said...

I really hope you get it back!

Jackflap said...

Could you give us the details of the locks you were using?

I'm sure many of us would be curious to see whether our own precautions would stand up to the attack.

David said...

We're keeping an eye out in Los Angeles.
Hope it returns soon in good condition!

Vincenzo said...

keep an eye on internet markets. the thefts might want to sell the bike on the internet.

Mikael said...

Thanks, everyone!

Lim Soo 林蘇 said...

Sorry to hear this. Hope it will come back to you.

Alexa said...

I'm sorry to hear about your loss.

Just last week was the first time I've noticed someone had moved my bike. I've got one of those rear wheel locks that makes the bike unridable, but does not prevent it from being carried off. Since they're rare here in the States, I guess someone saw an unattached bike with nifty panniers and thought they'd take it (for a spin?). The bike shop guys had warned me of this possibility, but I think the weight of the whole thing, and the very public setting, saved me from your fate.

amoeba said...

As a person who rides bikes, but who has never had one stolen, because I'm paranoid about theft and probably take excessive care when locking them up.
I can only imagine how you feel.

Do you know how it was stolen?
Was it locked to an immovable object?
What lock did you use?

I hope it's returned to you soon.

SC said...

I'm sorry too to hear that your bike was stolen, and send my best wishes in the hope that it is returned to you and the thief convicted for the crime.

If there isn't a special place in hell for bike thieves, there certainly should be!

Anonymous said...

People, please lock your bike with the frame to a unmovable object such as a light pole or street sign using a sturdy u-lock (brands: kryptonite, ABUS). Even if you just head into a shop for a couple minutes or you keep your bike in your backyard. It makes me sad each time I hear about people getting their bikes stolen. Believe me, if you lock your bike correctly with a study u-lcok, the chance of it getting stolen is near zero. If you lock it with a cable lock or a simple wheel block, its just a matter of time ....

Lars Daniel Terkelsen said...

Very annoying!
I have heard that one way they operate is that they first take a picture of the bike, if they have observed it parked somewhere on daily basis.
Then they sell it. They pick it up just before the actual sale, and the if the buyer checks with the police if it has been stolen, the theft has naturally not been recorded yet. (I think it takes a couple of days before it is in the police database).

Anyway Mikael, now you have the priviledge of choosing a color for your third Bullit. What will it be???

ibikelondon said...

:o( Sad face.

Terrible news, I hope you get it back!

..which gets me to thinking... insurance is big business over here, and bike insurance is no exception. Is it the same in CPH? Over here we have to use specific kinds of locks (and usually a couple of them) in order for the insurance to be valid, which kind of negates being able to use a bike practically anyway. Culture of fear, or worth while safety net I wonder?

Anonymous said...

Sorry to hear Mikael! Hope all the info you give will help get it back!
I had so many bikes stolen in my youth (in Italy), I even cried sometimes when I found the broken lock and the empty space....

will shake said...

My bike is gone. Like snow that fell in flames.
It was as red as roses without names.

Jennifer said...

Very much hoping you will get to post about your reunion with your bike soon!!!

Brian said...

Major bummer. I just got a white Bullitt a couple months ago; it may be the first in Boston. I'm a little nervous about it being stolen.

I presume you were using the ring lock alone. How do you think someone lifted it? With a truck, or rolled it away on the front wheel, or maybe broke the lock?

I also have a chain, but I rarely am able to use it.

Good luck and I hope it finds its way home.

lagatta à montréal said...

Oh bummer, Mikael. I'm so sorry to hear that.

I love that photo. It is the one Vélo-Québec used promoting your talk during La Féria du Vélo.

bhance said...

Huge bummer. But enlisting readers is a smart move - I bet you get it back within a couple of hours.

If it's any consolation, I'd be happy to send you a few free "death to bike thieves" stickers (from stolenbicycleregistry.com)

Edward Scoble said...

Great thing about bicycle, especially the Bullitt is that it can be replaced easily which helped.

I suppose that's the downside of living in a city where quite possibly (as far as I've noticed) 90% of the cyclists freelocked their bicycle.

I think mine is the only one that's properly locked outside Osterport.

You'll get your bike back, if not, least you can get the exact same model easily.f

will shake said...

What's in the blues? A change to something new.
A bike as cool as Copenhagen Blue?


Steffen said...

Rumor has it's back. Congrats!

I'd like to echo amoeba's question:

"Do you know how it was stolen?
Was it locked to an immovable object?
What lock did you use?"

By answering you help the rest of us in maybe not getting our bullitt/cargo/biek stolen.

Anonymous said...

First thought... "Hmm, I thought I parked it there..."
Second thought... "Maybe I parked it in the other spot..."
Third thought, gradual realisation... "It's been nicked..."

I've been through exactly the same sequence the first time my bike was stolen, it took about 15-20 minutes to come to accept what happened.

The second time round the realization comes much faster. :-(