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Happy Thanksgiving for US cyclist reunited with $5k bike – before he knew it had been stolen

Fellow riders use Facebook to confirm suspicions bike was hot – and buy it from suspected thief

A cyclist in Florida had extra reason to be thankful last Thursday as fellow riders took time out of their Thanksgiving holiday to recover his stolen bike – before he had even realised it had been taken.

Mike Braylark was eating his Thanksgiving dinner unaware that his Cannondale bike, complete with Easton wheels, had been taken from his garage, reports the Tampa Bay Times.

The bike was spotted by Tommy Davidson, like Braylark a triathlete, who became suspicious because the man riding it was dressed in ordinary clothes.

Davidson, who was heading to dinner at the Ruth's Chris Steak House, posted a picture to the St Pete Cycling Facebook group, saying, "I helped a guy today with his bike. It seemed odd for him to be riding a triathlon bike.

"When asked about triathlons he stated it was a friend's. Strange feeling it was stolen. I am not profiling but it seemed odd to me,"

The consensus from other members was he was correct, but Davidson thought he had lost the suspected thief – until the man turned up with it at the same restaurant.

"He showed up at Ruth's Chris. He came in to get a glass of water."

He spoke to the man, who said he was heading to Sulphur Springs. Davidson pointed out the wheels couldn’t cope with the terrain, and suggested giving him a lift after dinner.

Again, the man seemed to have disappeared, but Davidson later spotted him in a nearby branch of Starbucks.

The pair drove off, and on their journey Davidson took a call from Mike Weimar, owner of a local bike shop, who had seen his Facebook post and recognised the bike immediately – as well knowing who it belonged to.

Weimar explained: "A year ago, he had that bike rebuilt from scratch … including repainting it. That was what tipped me off."

He agreed to meet Davidson at the Tampa Greyhound Track to have a proper look at the bike, and his suspicions confirmed, Weimar offered the man $221 for it, saying he wanted to buy it for a friend.

Braylark was oblivious throughout to the amateur sleuthing.

"As far as I knew, my bike was in my garage," he said. "Thoughts started to spin in my head. Did I leave my garage open? . . . I had to go home and check."

His fears confirmed, he called the police, and subsequently received a call from Davidson, who had dropped off the suspected thief and was bringing the bike round.

"I'm still trying to wrap my mind around it," Braylark said. "The events were so unreal. You couldn't have made that up."

He has reimbursed Davidson for the money spent to reacquire the bike, but says he is disappointed the man was not arrested.

Davidson added: "It literally transpired in four hours, from seeing someone on the side of the road to having the bicycle back in the owner's house.

"Apparently, that's the power of Facebook."

Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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ChuckB | 9 years ago

It is acts like these that help me maintain the belief that the entire human race is not totally devoid of honor.

Airzound | 9 years ago

If you knew the bike was a friend's that was stolen why would you give the thief any money for it let alone $221??? Why not just call the police or tell the scrote if he didn't hand it over you'd break his legs? Sounds like it was a pretty distinctive bike, I don't understand why the thief was paid anything.

Das | 9 years ago


Case the same on the Edinburgh/Scotland BICYCLE PARTS FOR SALE OR FREE FB page this year. A taxi Driver spotted a Ned cycling a Bright Yellow Shimano Liveried Di2 Equpit bike in Edinburgh and stopped and asked him if it was for sale, Ned said yes £60, Taxi Driver bought it, posted it online and owner reunited with it before he realized it was pinched. IIRC the taxi driver wouldnt even accept his £60 back from the guy it was stolen from  16

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