Bike theft is a systemic problem - but it's also personal.
That's why as we work to bring 529 Garage to Toronto in 2019, we're sharing stories from members who have dealt with stolen bikes in Toronto.
529 Garage has been transformative in Vancouver. We hope that by bringing this proven, community-powered registry and recovery system to Toronto, we can help remove a major barrier to riding in the city - fear of bike theft.
To kick things off, here's how Steve miracuously got his beloved road bike back.
Please introduce yourself and what you do.
My name is Steve Purificati and work as the clients & services manager at Real Food for Real Kids. You can usually find me running around the city in the ravines, catching concerts on the weekends and biking to work everyday.
How does biking fit into your daily routine?
So long as the roads are not covered in ice or under two feet of snow, I’m on my bike everyday. I commute to and from work Monday to Friday and use my bike trailer for grocery shopping and lugging my clothes to the laundromat.
Tell us your bike theft story.
I’m really lucky to have two bikes, one for getting to work and my father’s old road bike. My commuter was in the shop, and I used my nicer road bike to commute for a few days. I usually keep this bike in my apartment, but bringing it up and down four flights of stairs was difficult so I thought leaving it locked outside for a night or two would be okay. I remember brushing my teeth, looking out our window to see both my bike and my partner’s bike gone from where we locked them. After running down to check, I just saw the remnants of our locks, grinded off. I felt punched in the gut, mostly because of the sentimental value this bike has for me and the thought of never seeing it again.
You got your bike back! Tell us about how that happened.
Looking for my bike became a part-time job, coming home from work checking Craigslist, Kijiji and other selling apps. A week to the day from when our bikes were taken, I got a notification from a sales app called Letgo that a bike matching my search criteria was posted. I checked and it was my bike! I quickly called the police and my partner downloaded the app to start communicating with the seller as my name was all over the internet attached to stolen bike ads. The police were too busy that night and said if I could wait a few days they could help, but this bike was being sold for an 1/8th of what it was worth. I knew it was going to be sold that night. Despite their recommendation to wait, the police told me if I was to meet the seller, to just pay the money and not mention anything about it being stolen. So I did just that, as frustrating as it was.
Why do you support Cycle Toronto's action plan to #endbiketheft?
I support this action plan because any barrier to getting more people riding bikes needs to be brought down. Whether that barrier is a lack of safe biking infrastructure, harassment on our streets or in this case, the fear of having your bike taken from you.
Want to plug into to our #EndBikeTheft campaign?
- Help us get to $50,000 (Why $50,000?) by contributing through our partner CultureLink's Canada Helps page.
- Share your story by emailing media [at ] cycleto [dot] ca
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