Jul 262012

A week and a half ago I rhapsodized about the lovely smell of linden trees giving me a goodbye present as we packed up to leave Spokane.

Today we received a far less pleasant gift: The realization that sometime after Tuesday’s night’s Twilight Series bike race my husband’s Trek Madone 5.2 was stolen out of our garage.

Please be on the lookout for this bike and call us and the police ASAP if you spot it: 2008 Trek Madone 5.2, black onyx with white trim silver bar tape, 56-centimeter frame, serial # WTU227T074C. It has black RaceXLite wheels, Bontrager R4 tires, Speedplay pedals, Ultegra group, and a Selle Italia saddle.

I can’t wax as eloquent as Erika Prins did when her bike was stolen earlier this year but the feelings are much the same.

You knew what you were doing when you took the bike. You skipped his old commuter. You passed on my five-year-old Specialized Dolce (a bit distinctive with the Donkey Boxx on the side, but you could have cut that off). You took the bike that was really worth something.

It wasn’t just worth something in the monetary sense. It has been the focus of Eric’s incredible discipline and passion for racing ever since he got it in 2008–even before, when he was evaluating brands and models. I was with him when he test-rode this and another bike, when he said this one felt like it was part of him.

He’s not a guy who routinely drops tons of cash on his bikes, nor is there cash on hand to replace this one. Every bike before this one he built up from parts, then sold to get the cash to start working on the next bike.

I had to talk him into getting this bike, recognizing as I did that racing was the thing he could invest heart, mind, and strength into to keep going through some of life’s downs that seemed to be hitting him unfairly.

This was the first bike he has owned as an adult that he bought brand-new. He’s been tweaking and customizing ever since to make it fit.

He has spent long hours with this bike on the trainer in winter watching movies in our front room while he ground out interval sets to become stronger for the next racing season.

He has gone for long rides with his friends, putting on 80 miles or more in a day and coming back to tell me about the deer they saw and show me pictures of the rivers they crossed out in the woods with no one near for miles around.

He has sprinted it at Spokane Raceway Park, coming in first in his first race of this season, and has powered it up the steep hills of the Corse Brutale course more than once in the Baddlands Twilight Series.

He has ridden it alongside me at a pace I could handle, meaning zone 5 for me, below zone 1 for him, for the occasional “sweetheart ride” for treats somewhere.

He has washed it, lubed it, repaired it, rewrapped the bar tape, replaced the brake pads, swapped out saddles repeatedly to find the right one, adjusted stem height, custom-built race wheels, ordered a special size Tiso chain ring from Italy because you can’t get that particular one in the United States–perfected it, in other words. For him. And you took it.

I don’t suppose any of this makes you feel bad enough to return it, but I wish you would. This is a bitter taste to leave in our mouths as we move to Seattle–ironically, for me to take a job in the bike world. It isn’t the view I share with people when I talk about how great Spokane is for biking, that’s for sure. It isn’t representative of most people here.

Just you, you SOB.

Eric on his race bike, stolen sometime July 24-25-26. Trek Madone 5.2. If you see it call Eric at 509-590-9890.
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Reader Comments

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  2. Thanks, Jennifer! No sign of it and we’ve pretty much given up. Eric built up a replacement bike with parts he sourced from Craigslist and Ebay (and if a price seemed too good to be true he checked it out carefully–we don’t want to play a role in parting out someone else’s stolen bike!).
    The one up side was that he got to move to a frame size that’s a better fit, but what a price to pay.

  3. In searching various sites to find my bike I came across your story. Last weekend my Trek Madone 5.2 was stolen out of our garage on the South Hill in Spokane. While I am not the level of a rider of any Badlands team member I do love my bike that I got this spring to tackle a big goal — the STP in one day. I did it! After last weekend’s Cour d Fondo I hit 2,500 miles on it for the season and was looking forward to some October afternoon rides. We’ve checked pawn shops and filed a police report. I am sick about it. Checked online sites multiple times a day. Did you ever find yours?
    Any other suggestions?
    Here’s hoping it shows up……

  4. Thank you all for the nice comments! We’re watching Craigslist and EBay both. Eric called every bike shop in the area and reported the bike. Fortunately he’s the kind of guy who has the serial number, copy of the receipt, and everything else, and we were able to file a claim. But it would be an awesome present if we found the bike.

  5. I’m so sorry Spokane gave you such a rotten going-away present! I know a house near mine with a constantly revolving set of bikes out front; I’ll check it this morning for your husband’s. Good luck!!!

  6. Oh man! I am so sorry to read this, and hope that the thief returns the bike pronto. I remember having my bike stolen out of our garage as a teenager, and it wasn’t nearly anything as special as your husband’s bike… but I remember the feeling of being violated and knowing that someone had just grabbed it and taken it as his/her own.

    While I do hope that it’s returned safely, and I know a new bike is never the same as one we’re used to and have memories with, have you considered filing a homeowners/renters insurance claim? Many times they will cover this kind of loss. Of course, sometimes the deductible is more than the cost of the bicycle, but it might help to get him a replacement if it doesn’t turn up.

    I’m keeping positive thoughts for you that this shows up for you before your move.

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