Sticker helps foil bike thief
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If a lock fails to keep you and your bike connected, a stand-out decal on its frame may help rescue it.
Danny Lesh of the Washington, D.C., area loaned his Cannondale hybrid to a friend who used a cable lock to secure it. A thief armed with a pair of bolt cutters stole it early last month.
Lesh, an avid cyclist and determined practitioner of self-help, went online to see if he could locate his bike. He found it for sale for $100 on Craigslist. He recognized it because of a prominent sticker it bears.
What happened next attracted the attention of Richard Jordan, a reporter and weekend anchor for the NBC television affiliate in Washington.
Lesh called the police and was told they couldn't respond right away, Jordan reported. Unfortunately, that's understandable. A stolen bike doesn't have priority over far more serious crimes.
Faced with the real possibility of the permanent loss of the bike he bought for $600 in 1998, Lesh contacted the "seller." "I knew I had to do it that day or else I'd never see the bike again," he told Jordan.
Lesh told the "seller" he was interested in buying the bike and made arrangements to meet him. He told Jordan the man brought the bike out of an alley at Fifth and Longfellow streets in the northwestern part of the city.
Lesh told the man that he wanted to take it for a "test ride" before he paid for it. The "test ride," of course, became a happy reunion of cyclist and cycle as Lesh pedaled away.
The "seller," realizing he had been had, left a message on Lesh's answering machine that he was going to call the police. Lesh found that laughable.
Jordan said Lesh posted a notice on Craigslist to warn other site users about the thief and to caution them that high-end bikes at low prices might be stolen.
"I couldn't help feeling bad for all the other people he'd stolen bikes from," Lesh told Jordan.
D.C. police told Jordan that they advise citizens not to attempt to retrieve stolen property on their own. Pittsburgh police extend the same advice because things could get out of hand. Quickly.
But Lesh told Jordan that he was pleased to retaliate against a guy who had no qualms about helping himself to a bike that wasn't his.
He said he hoped he had interrupted the thief's business "a little bit."
It pays to buy a lock impervious to bolt cutters and to mark it with a distinctive decal.
By the way, have you seen the bike with the neon orange rims?
An open house was held Thursday afternoon at Horizon View Farms, a well-named 470 acre spread that caters to equestrians, bicyclists and nature-lovers. It's about five miles from the Rockwood trailhead of the Great Allegheny Passage where it picks up and drops off its cycling guests.
The owner, Raphael Velez, welcomed more than 50 men, women and children to tour Awakenings, a completely renovated farm house, and the stables where guests can exchange their bike saddle for a horse saddle and ride elegant Paso Fino horses along miles of trails.
The farm house has two spacious suites on the first floor with queen-sized beds, private bathrooms, sitting rooms and flat-screen TVs that share a common kitchen and dining area. The second floor includes a two-bedroom suite, a bathroom, kitchen and large loft with flat-screen TV.
The open house was sponsored by the Laurel Highlands Visitors Bureau, the Somerset County Chamber of Commerce and the Confluence Tourism Association.
Information: www.horizonviewfarms.com; 1-814-926-3065.
First Published June 23, 2012 12:29 am