Mountain biking: Edging theft

Photo by The Orion There has been a spike in bike thefts so far this year including expensive mountain bikes.
Photo by The Orion
There has been a spike in bike thefts so far this year including expensive mountain bikes.

Mountain biking takes determination. Determination to make it through that tough trail. And sometimes, determination to sprint down the middle of the street after the thief of your beloved mountain bike.

These are two vastly different examples, but they both portray themes of determination and resilience. These themes are especially true for Chico’s mountain biking community, which has refused to let the recent rise in bike thefts get them down.

Bike theft poses an obvious problem to mountain bikers, as Cyclesport co-owner Ken Gelatti describes.

“You can’t ride without a bike to ride,” said Gelatti, who recently had a pair of bikes stolen from his garage.

Gelatti joins many other people in Chico that have fallen victim to bike theft. Approximately 30 bikes have been stolen since the beginning of the school year, according to University Police Sergeant Bryce Davison.

The number of actual mountain bikes stolen isn’t clear, but Davison said that just as many cheap bikes are stolen as expensive bikes. He said the usual motives behind these thefts are to make quick cash.

“Of the people we arrest, most were trying to sell bikes for cheap,” Davison said. “They would sell bikes that cost $500-$1000 for as little as $50, just to make a little money.”

Davison said that most of the thieves take this money and buy illegal drugs. But University Police aims to not let it get this far. Davison said when a bike report is taken, officers try to get the best description of the bike that they can and hopefully get a serial number.

The serial number is key because they can put it in a statewide system and put other officers on the lookout for the missing bike, Davison said. This is why bike registration is highly advised.

Despite this current cycle problem in Chico, mountain bikers have taken steps to make sure their bikes are safe.

“Mountain bikers don’t leave their bikes outside,” said Mike Peavy, Gelatti’s partner at Cyclesport. “The mountain bikes that are stolen are usually more for style.”

It’s best for bikers to be diligent, try to keep their bikes indoors if at all possible and get quality locks, said Paul McIntyre of North Rim Adventure Sports.

Even in the case where mountain bikes are stolen, avid bikers are set on continuing their riding.

“We find that most people who have had their bikes stolen are back here shopping for another,” McIntyre said. “Especially mountain bikers. They find a way to continue riding, whether with a new or used bike. It doesn’t keep them from activity.”


Nick Woodard can be reached at [email protected]