Friday, February 15, 2008

I'm Going to Steal a Bike

This bike has been sitting under the stairwell where I work for more than 3 years. This photo has a timestamp on it from December 2005. It is an abandoned bike. Its tires have long been flat; there is a layer of dust on it. I've been watching this bike for 3 years. I've been thinking about taking it for about 2.5 years.

About a year-and-a-half ago, I asked a woman in a nearby office if the bike had ever moved. She had been there about a year and hadn't ever seen it move. Same with the orange bike you can barely see in the background.

I emailed the facilities folks at work about 2 years ago and asked them what they do with abandoned bikes. Bikes that are abandoned in the parking garages are periodically rounded up and donated to Bikeworks in Seattle.

Bikes left in stairwells are never touched.

Next time I travel to the west side of the state for work, I'm going to take this bike. I'm going to bring to Pedals2People and I'm going to find the perfect owner for it.

It is a great commuter: fenders, cruiser bars, 18 speeds (half-step with granny, no less) with friction shifting. Pump up the tires and add a rack and you're good to go. Not to mention it's just a pretty lugged mixte. It's a shame to see such a great bike going unused and unloved.

Here's the note I left on the bike when I was in town last week:

So, I hope this isn't my gateway into bike theivery. But I just can't stand it anymore.

I guess I could acheive the same end by moving the bike to a parking garage and letting the facilities process run its course. But I really want to see the bike go to just the right person.

Maybe I'll wimp out. Maybe the owner will email me. I guess we'll see.


FBC Spokane said...

What a great bike. It definitely needs a proper home.

Anonymous said...

Maybe you should cut out letters from the newspaper for your ransom note. More dramatic!

Anonymous said...
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gillsans said...

I know the dilemma. There's a sweet Schwinn World Traveler women's cruiser in the basement of my building that would be perfect for my girlfriend. I'm pretty sure it belongs to the hipster girls next door, but they're not doing anything with it. It needs a lot of work though.

Ken Paulman said...

I'd check if there are any applicable local laws for abandoned property. I'm pretty sure that if something is left on private property for a certain amount of time, ownership reverts to the property owner. So whoever owns that building, in theory, owns the bike.

bleckb said...

Think of taking the bike in terms of nationalizing an industry. Resources are being reallocated more efficiently. I'm sure Adam Smith would have something to say about this. Benthamite utilitarianism would also say this is okay because it serves a greater good that goes beyond you. Take it with a clean conscience, but do it after dark, just in case.

Anonymous said...

This comes up all the time. You should report it to the police as abandoned and follow the procedure that is outlined there. Eventually you usually get to claim it, but anything else is definitely along the lines of theft.

bleckb said...

There's a bike that's been sitting here on the SFCC campus for quite some time, maybe years. I keep seeing it and trying to figure out if it ever moves. I don't think it does. The cassette is rusty for one. It's a Novara Ponderosa I think, still have bio-pace chainrings.