On March 28th, I received a cryptic email from someone claiming to have my bike, and that I should give him a call. The number went straight to an anonymous voicemail, and the name/email didn't turn up any social media presence that I could use to verify who this person was. We arranged to meet up the following night to see if it's my bike. The only information I had was his name and address.
I was suspicious about why this person was contacting me. My assumption was that it was the person who stole the bike, and one of two situations had occurred: Either he spent the past four months riding her into the ground and figured since she would still have sentimental significance for me, he would try to sell her back to me - or - he needed to change a tire and knew I had the key to the skewer locks. Whatever led him to contact me, I didn't want to spook him by asking too many questions. I just wanted to be able to confirm in person that it was Gracie, and take things from there.
To be safe, I brought along a friend to hang back with my wallet, skewer lock key, and receipt for the bike, just in case I was walking into something sketchy. I arrived at the house after dark, as arranged, and I saw Gracie locked up out front. She was in rough condition, but definitely my girl. As soon as the guy answered the door, I immediately knew I had nothing to worry about and called out my friend to join us.
What the guy told me was that he found my bike dumped in an alley in Kensington Market. Based on his timeline, it must have been within days of her being stolen. After holding on to her for several months, he says it occurred to him that in spite of her condition, this was a pretty solid bike that someone might be looking for. After searching around on the net, he came across the newspaper article about her, leading him to me.
Based on her condition, my assumption was that whoever stole her tried to convert her to a single speed bike, but gave up halfway through the process and just dumped her. I don't know what this guy was planning to do with the bike when he picked her up; she was clearly unrideable. I also don't know what prompted him to contact me four months after finding her, but none of that mattered to me as long as I could get her back. He didn't ask for any money, but I gave him a reward for his effort.
Now started the process of assessing Gracie's condition and figuring out how to bring her back to life.
- Handlebars were missing.
- Front brakes and brake lever were missing
- The gear shifters were damaged, but still attached.
- The large wheel on the crankset was missing a tooth (I have no idea how they managed to do that).
- Seat post is bent out of alignment.
- Front wheel was replaced (I assume they cut through it in the process of stealing the bike)
As of today, I've replaced the handlebars, seat post, both brake levers and front brake, all cables and cable casings. Gracie is 95% ready for the road. I'll be replacing the front wheel, but the current one is at least rideable. The only real problem is the gear shifters. While they're still attached to the derailleurs and seem to function, the thief destroyed the casings that attach to the shifters to the handlebars, so I'll need to reorder those as well.
Technically I can get her on the road right now. I can set the gears into a fixed position, I'm just unable to shift gears during a ride. Tuesday will mark the one year anniversary of leaving for my cross-Canada trip, and although she's not 100%, I should still be able to take her out for a ride to commemorate the occasion.
Gracie's condition today