Woman 'steals' bike back after spotting it for sale on internet

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.

Simon has been news editor at road.cc since 2009, reporting on 10 editions and counting of pro cycling’s biggest races such as the Tour de France, stories on issues including infrastructure and campaigning, and interviewing some of the biggest names in cycling. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, his background has proved invaluable in reporting on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, and the bike industry. He splits his time between London and Cambridge, and loves taking his miniature schnauzer Elodie on adventures in the basket of her Elephant Bike.

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