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Vancouver bartender arranges to meet seller for test spin... and rides off on her bike

A woman in Vancouver, British Columbia has ‘stolen’ her bike back after she spotted it for sale on the website Craigslist and arranged to meet the advertiser – presumably, the person who stole it – to give it a test ride.

Kayla Smith, a 33-year-old bartender, locked up her bike last Wednesday while visiting a friend at the Canadian city's Olympic Village and returned an hour later to discover it had gone, reports the Globe & Mail.

She reported the theft to police and also spoke about it in a post on Facebook. The next morning, a friend told her that a bike like hers – which she had bought for C$1,000 (a little over £600) less than five months ago – was for sale on Craigslist for C$300.

Ms Smith recalled: “I called the guy up, totally played super sweet, was like, ‘Hi, how are you? You know, I have the day off today, why don’t I come meet you?’ ”

She arranged to meet the vendor in the parking lot of a branch of McDonald’s, and as she prepared to take the bike, unmistakeably hers due to its stickers and custom brakes, for a test ride, the seller said, “Don’t ride away.”

That’s exactly what she did, however, after what appears to have been a spur of the moment decision.

She rode to a location where she could see the would-be seller without being seen herself, and said afterwards, “he was standing there dumbstruck.”

She added that as it dawned on him that his plan to sell the bike had gone amiss, he ran off. She has given the police his contact details.

“I can’t believe I just stole my bike back,” she went on, although the newspaper says that police have warned cyclists against taking matters into their own hands in similar situations and have instead requested that they be involved.

“I’m still in shock. I’m still in disbelief,” Ms Smith added.

However, the Globe & Mail also notes that despite cycle theft being on the increase in many cities in Canada, many riders as well as cycling organisations believe that police do not take the issue seriously enough.

Ms Smith’s adventure is remarkably similar to one we reported on in 2011 when 25-year-old student Kathryn Lucas form Boulder, Colorado recovered her bike via her local edition of Craigslist when it was stolen from outside a bar.

Born in Scotland, Simon moved to London aged seven and now lives in the Oxfordshire Cotswolds with his miniature schnauzer, Elodie. He fell in love with cycling one Saturday morning in 1994 while living in Italy when Milan-San Remo went past his front door. A daily cycle commuter in London back before riding to work started to boom, he's been news editor at road.cc since 2009. Handily for work, he speaks French and Italian. He doesn't get to ride his Colnago as often as he'd like, and freely admits he's much more adept at cooking than fettling with bikes.