Urbane Cyclist Blog - Bikes Don't Swim - Urbane Cyclist
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Bikes Don't Swim

Bikes Don't Swim

Recovering a stolen bike from Lake Ontario

Last November I got a message from my friend Katie via Instagram,

"Hi Owen! Do you still work at Urbane?"

I skimmed the message and missed the most important part


"I found a bike in the lake today and want to see if the owner wants it back"


Yes! - in fact I do still work at Urbane and not only did it have a sticker from our shop- it was an Urbanite Market!

This was one of our house brand bikes, the flagship model that our worker-owners designed collaboratively.

One of our long term members, Ashar did the CAD drawing and I even designed the lettering and branding on the bike!

The good news is that it HAD to have come from us.


After a bit of back and forth Katie sent me another photo... Oh IN THE LAKE?!

Keep in mind...this was November and Katie had waded in the freezing lake to drag out the poor bike in hopes of reuniting it with the proper owner.

I was shocked...and knowing what freezing water can do to a steel bike frame I frankly didn't have high hopes. 

A bike found in water is not usually a good sign.  Not only does this mean it would not be in ridable condition, the freezing temperatures combined with a frame filled with water could cause a frame failure as fast as the water can turn to ice. Most commonly after a bike frame is submerged in water the smallest tube and lowest point- the chainstay is where water tends to collect and the small tubes burst when the water freezes.

I walked Katie through how to find the serial number on the bike frame, so once we had that information I grabbed my laptop and logged into our point of sale system remotely.

Medium Urbanite Market... I just had to cross reference the serial number, so it was just a process of elimination and I skimmed through all our sales records of this bike and size.

FOUND IT. I sent off an e-mail (this is yet another reason we always like to get contact info for all our customers!)

"Hi Laura,

I'm one of the Worker Owners at Urbane Cyclist. I had a friend message me about a bike they found originally sold from my shop, which I think may have been purchased by you in 2017. Please confirm if you are missing this bike or if perhaps you sold it. I suspect it needs some TLC and some work. I have not seen the bike in person so I cannot speak to it's current condition. Thanks for you time and best regards
Only 7 minutes passed and Laura responded! Now it is confirmed that it was in fact her bike and it had only been missing for a few days.
I followed up with Katie and Laura and advised them both to keep the bike warm until it can be overhauled to make sure the waterlogged frame doesn't fail in the freezing winter conditions, and they coordinated a pickup.

Laura booked in a comprehensive spring servicing, and the bike got the full treatment it deserved. Everything cleaned, re-greased, fresh bearings throughout and a brand new drive train (chain and cassette) and cables.

This bike has gotten a second lease on life and is now as good as new, we were super happy to see this bike reunited and a happy ending to a bad situation.

Needless to say last year was rough but the last thing anyone needed on top of it all was their bike stolen! Playing a role in recovering and restoring a lost bike was just the uplifting experience we all needed! Thanks for supporting your local worker co-op Laura and letting us share your story here.

Here's Laura and her adorable rescue dog Savannah with that post-bike pickup glow!


Laura was also telling her friend about "this nice guy, Owen..." from the bike shop that helped in the recovery of her stolen bike and her friend knew exactly who she meant as she was my professor at OCAD years ago!

Small world.


and A HUGE thank you to Katie for making this all possible!









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Open 10 - 6 Mon - Fri & 11 - 6 Sat
Toronto's Best Bike Repair
Worker-Owned Since 1997