Tuesday, September 14, 2010

So long San Fran.

I'm sitting in SFO right now. Waiting to board a flight to LA. Yes that might sound weird to some of you. Without a bike it's the best way to get around. My bike was stolen while I was at Burning Man.

It was September 1st and I was hanging out with some of the NY crew at the burn. We were going to bike to another venue around midnight. Came back to where we left the bikes and didn't see them. I had my bike locked to my friend Sue's bike. So we're looking for two bikes leaning against one another. Hmm...walking all around and can't find my bike. Some other folks we were with bikes were very close to ours. Turns out Sue's bike is laying on the ground with my clipped lock around it.

My feelings were so hurt. Here I am at this wonderful artistic energetic event in the middle of the Black Rock Desert. My stomach hurt. It felt like somebody dismembered me. That bike had become an appendage.

The other three stood there waiting for me to make a move. I surveyed the surrounding area. Criminals are dumb. They always like to return to the scene of a crime. Watch their work in progress. Not this time though. If there was a light switch to bring the daylight and then a boost up and just hover 50 or a 100 feet in the air, that would have been great. Get a birds eye view and look for the bike. Would have loved to get my bike back and impart some justice and pain on the guilty party.

What could I do but sulk at that time. Fuck Burning Man! Should have listened to Jack and never gone. That was what I was feeling. In the middle of the night in the desert. This city that was constructed in just a few weeks. Where do I begin to search for my whip? Then I started to step up my game. Replay the nights events and think like a criminal. First of all a lot of bikes go missing at BM. Most are inexpensive bikes that drunkards take to get back to their camp. This bikes lock was clipped. These thieves aren't going to be riding this bike around the playa. This bike was taken to a remote area where there is a trailer that is being loaded with stolen goods. That's what I think anyways.

Over 50,000 fun loving people and a handful of scumbags. Everybody I talked to had their own opinion. Of who stole it or what to do. So I did take some advice. Went to the radio stations and to the newspaper. Yes, BM has three radio stations and two daily newspapers. My story made front page news.

It's kind of a cool story. This guy bikes across the country only to come to BM to have his bike stolen. The camp I was at had about 100 people. One of the guys from my camp named Tom put a fund together for me. They collected just over $500. How amazing is that? A group of strangers pulling together to help out a fellow burner. My heart was really touched by that. At first my pride was against it. But if that happened to any of the folks I was camping with I would have done the same.

That night I walked back to camp looking at every bike that went by me. Made it back and told a new friend that I'd made. Had to share my pain. The next day the news spread like wild fire. Kind of hate being at the center of attention, especially for something like this.

When I went to the radio station there was another guy who had his bike stolen as well that night. The stories kept coming. His bike was also worth over $2000. My bike with all the gear it had on it was going to cost over $2000 to replace. From what I know my bike was the only one that was locked. Not that it made it any better. But there was a theft ring going on. Learned a valuable lesson if I ever go back to burning man.

This really almost ruined my adventure. It really changed the course of my trip. My plan was to head back to Portland and continue biking down the coast. Now what should I do. Could have gotten a ride back to Portland but don't really have any connections there. A few folks started offering me rides to different locations. I decided on heading to San Fran. That was going to be the next big city down the coast anyways. Had a place to stay and regroup.

Still wasn't sure if I was going to buy another bike right away and continue my tour. I contacted Surly to see if they could help a brother out. They offered a 10 to 15% discount from a local dealer. They said they would find someone in SF that would do that and call me back. Never heard from them.(Thanks Travis at Surly) So maybe I won't replace it with a Surly.

About to get on the plane. So I'll continue this later. Thanks for following along.

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone


  1. Unbelievable! That really sucks Ryan. Sorry to hear it. Good luck in your future endeavors and hope you can continue your journey soon. Maria Gilpin (Resnick)

  2. That makes my stomach turn.... I'm so sorry Ryan. My car was broken into last week too....but feels completely trivial compared to your loss. I hope your able to hurdle this unfortunate obstacle and continue your adventure.... Let us know when your trip brings you to San Diego. :)

  3. Sorry to hear about the bike thieves.Makes you feel violated and all that.
    Perhaps some other great bike Co will step up to the plate!

  4. Can't believe it man, so sorry to hear about the loss. Hope you can continue on as planned soon!

  5. Oh Man Ryan!!!!! I know you must have been heartbroken. Wrong on many levels. Those assholes stole so much more from you than a bike. :/

    Are you coming to SD, you in SD, what?

  6. Ryan, I am sorry to hear about your bike being stolen. This is a really big downer, but I hope you don't let it sour the rest of your time. You have been inspiring many and I hope you can keep your head up and push forward.