Ashley got her bike back With help from friends around the community

My love of road biking started in February 2017 when I casually mentioned to Cody, an avid rider, that maybe going on a little bike ride here and there would be fun when I'm not weightlifting of course, kind of like an "active recovery". Cody and our friend Larry immediately went to work and searched high and low for a road bike that would fit me. Come to find out, short arms and short legs are great for weightlifting but not easy to find a road bike small enough!

Cody and Larry found THIS Orbea Onix at Play-It-Again Sports in Woodinville of all places. We got to the store just before they were closing and after a day of snowboarding at Crystal Mountain. The size, color, price, condition and components were perfect, it was meant to be. We brought the Onix home and went for a bike ride the next day... in the rain, because it's now early March in Seattle.

Okay so we have matchy, matchy bikes, that may or may not have been part of my draw to this bike too.
his & hers

Feeling alive!

Feeling Free!
#ADvenCHurers on the Centennial Trail
Adventures Await
Just keep riding

I even had a little accident and suffered from my first road-rash. As soon as I was healed, I was back up on the saddle riding as often as I could.

So what started as a casual ride here and there quickly became a new love of this hobby, sport and yet another way to be outside on adventures with Cody via two wheels. As the weather got nicer, I would leave my bike at work in Fremont so I could ride on the beautiful Burke Gilman trail on a short lunch ride since I go to the gym to lift heavy barbells after work. Cody and I customized many components and pieces on this bike including getting a professional bike fit (via a recommendation from a fellow rider and friend), and now I could reach my breaks, seems like a smart idea.

lunch time rides

This was all fine and great until Bike-to-Work day was coming around the corner and I was soooo sooo so excited to participate this year, especially because my workplace promotes riding, healthy lifestyles and makes a big and fun event out of it. I rode at lunch time on Thursday with a new saddle from Larry's wife Lisa and then at the end of the day I locked my Orbea Onix on my car bike rack so I could bring her home that night and then ride in Friday morning for Bike-to-Work day. On my way home, I went to the gym and my car was parked in front of the gym with visibility through glass windows and doors to my car. In broad daylight, within a 1 hour time span, I went out to my car and saw my bike was no longer on my bike rack. The lock was cut and my bike was nowhere in sight.

My heart immediately sank and I couldn't believe it. I got home to Cody and sobbed. I was in shock of it all. We finished customizing the bike THAT DAY and now it was gone. I realized how much the bike meant to me and though I always believe in "experiences over things", it was a material thing but I loved the heck out of it and all the TLC we put into it to make it MINE. I felt so violated, angry, frustrated, wronged and taken advantage of. The following day was Bike-to-Work day and I got in my car and drove to work, fighting back tears as I saw all the happy bikers, cheer squads, vendors, supporters, riders and community coming together to celebrate and my bike was... stolen. A piece of my heart was missing too, that bike was much more than a bike, it was full of love, customization, memories and many adventures to come.

Taking in suggestions from friends, we posted the bike as stolen on Craigslist so other potential buyers would be aware, posted to Bike Index, Facebook groups, Offer Up, LetGo, contacted local bike shops, etc. I notified the Adobe security team so they could be on the lookout too. Friends shared my post and the community was on the lookout to to support and commiserate. I took all the tips and pointers from friends who unfortunately had this happen or knew someone who this happened to but inside I felt helpless and hopeless. We filed a police report immediately and we setup Craigslist keyword alerts. I happen to jot down my serial number days before it was stolen too.

Fast forward to after the initial anger and sadness settled, and we set our sights on a new bike though I debated on replacing it because I couldn't take the pain if this were ever to happen again. A week later, on Friday at 5:30 pm, I got a Craigslist alert for an Orbea Onix with a picture posted and this caption "48 cm frame can creek racing rims 105 componants 2015 model. In excellent condition please text thanks". Cody and I were together and I turned to him and said "Is this my bike?". YES 1000% positive it is! We could identify many of the components (spelled correctly) that we put it on the bike and it was here somewhere in Seattle! Our hearts were racing, we got home and called the non-urgent police phone number to report our findings. At the same time Cody texted the seller to ask questions and see if they would meet up. Imagine that feeling seeing your sweet, little customized bike being posted for SALE by the thief who stole it right from you! Double-Ugh...

On the left is my stolen bike posting (left) so that any potential buyers would know it's stolen and not to buy it. On the right is the thief/seller's ad posting for MY stolen bike.

A wonderful Officer from the North Precinct met at my house and we told him what we found, he took down all the info. Since the location for the potential meet up was in the Seattle South Precinct, he transferred us there. When we got there, a team of officers was ready to help us out to recover my bike!

An hour had gone by since we talked with the seller last but we said we'd be there to "see the bike" at 9:45pm. It was 9:45 and everyone was lined up, no seller in sight, no bike. 15 mins passed and the team had to call it and be available for bigger emergency calls. I understood and was ever-so-grateful for their efforts. Still, my heart went back to that dark place and I was disappointed, bummed, angry all over again.

The next morning at 6:45am, we got a text from the seller apologizing that he "fell asleep" and he would be available to meet up on Saturday. We agreed to meet in the afternoon. I called the South Precinct and the Officer on duty gave me guidance on what to do when I got back in the area that afternoon.

We walked into the South Precinct station and the same fantastic team of officers were on board to help us again! We put the pieces in motion and confirmed with the seller where we'll meet. The officers went to work and did what they do best and within minutes (that felt like hours), they recovered my bike and brought my little in size but full in love Orbea Onix around the corner back to me! The team executed the plan flawlessly and handled the situation professionally and with utmost precision. This is the ultimate example of trust and teamwork. Though they barely knew us or our story, I felt like they were as hungry if not more to catch this bad guy thief and put him where he belongs.

MY bike in the back of our car, bringing her back home!
Thank you to the team of incredible Seattle PD officers and sergeants that helped us. Thank you for risking your lives every day to put bad people where they belong and keep our city safe.

You guys are the true heros!

In the meantime, we also found out that the "seller" had at least 5 other (stolen) bikes posted to Craigslist so hopefully those will be recovered and returned to their rightful owners. As we were orchestrating this, I got another Craigslist alert for a different Orbea posted from the SAME seller, this time the bike had MY wheels on it.

At this point, I'm simply overjoyed to have my baby back and she may have a couple new scratches on her but most of her is in tact and she's MINE. She'll never be out of my sight. If you have a bike that you remotely care about, I pray that this never happens to you but borrowed from a friend's helpful hints, here are a few tips to consider doing now or if this ever happens to you or anyone you know:

  • Write down your bike’s serial number
  • Create Bike Index pages for your bike, include the serial number
  • If your bike is stolen, create a Craigslist keyword email alert
  • File a police report with the bike's serial number
  • Make sure your Bike Index page contains the police report number

And a few additional takeaways from my experience:

  • Post to OfferUp, Facebook Groups and other selling sites
  • You can try contacting pawn shops but we found that they arent supposed to sell anything for 30 days and they should be required to do background checks to look for stolen goods before accepting it
  • Do your homework, put in the research and keep at it to get your bike back
  • Keep photos, your police report number and details of the bike with you when contacting the officials. I made a photo album of pics and distinguishing features of my bike
  • NEVER leave your bike out of your sight, even when transporting on your car
  • Even going from point A to point B, lock your bike with a bigazz lock
  • Be careful about anything you buy on Craigslist, do your research to make sure you're not buying someone's beloved yet stolen property!

It's better to be safe than sorry, take the extra 10 mins to lock your bike or better yet, bring it with you.

Can't mess with a #forceofnature. On the right, Cody and I bringing my beloved Orbea Onix home!

Ride strong and be safe fellow riders and Seattle community!

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