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Christopher Jackson
Christopher Jackson

What To Do If You Can\\u2019t Dial In Your Rear Derailleur\\u2026

Hey, So\u2026 back in Aug I\u2019m off to Michigan from Los Angeles for several months. I grew up in the area and there was family stuff to do. I take my '74 Peugeot PX10 figuring it'd be nice to have for basic transportation. Plus it was the bike I coveted as a teen but couldn\u2019t afford so it made sense to take it. One weekend i decide rent a car and take my Peugeot to Toronto, see the sights and do some riding around town. I put a note out on the CR list wondering about interesting bike shops to visit. I get several good responses from CR members north of the border. Off I go. I love urban riding. Zipping past lines of cars stuck in traffic never gets old. Plus Toronto is a fun town to ride around with all sorts of stuff to see and do. Well, after the first day I return to my B&B carrying the bike in so to keep it in my room. The B&B owner freaks out and tells me to leave it outside, which I can't do. So I break it down and put it in the trunk of my rental. Next day - trunk empty - bike gone. I'm pissed as all hell... I blow outta town and haul ass back to Detroit. Upon my return, I contact some of the same people off the list telling them Toronto was a great time until the bike theft. There were a lot of very upset Canadians. One person tells me to contact Waine. He\u2019s active with TBN, Toronto Bike Network and he may have ideas. I do and Waine gives me a host of ideas. I also hear from TBN\u2019er Lawrence, who has incredible insight to which shops may have seen a stolen PX10. He\u2019s also telling me about Police reports which do I file except I don\u2019t have the serial number -- it\u2019s in LA, if I have it at all. The police are telling me they recover lots of hot bikes and they run \u2018em for serial numbers. If they don\u2019t get a hit \u2013 it goes up for auction. They don\u2019t have time for visual I.D. \u2013 make, color or type of derailleur\u2026 It\u2019s the serial number or nothing. Lawrence is also citing Canadian law and the fiduciary duty B&B owners have \u2013 interesting stuff. So with all this info, I drive the 4 hrs back to Toronto. I need to make some recovery effort, if only for peace of mind... I also make up some \u201cReward\u201d flyers and Waine allows me to use him as a contact person. Better chance they\u2019d wanna call a local number than one outta the country. I suspect the thief is very local and my car parked dead center in his feeding ground. I place my reward posters in the immediate area \u2013 within yards of where the bike was lifted. I hit all the likely bike shops in town that might deal with hot or used bikes but no luck. One bike dealer with questionable ethics who says he\u2019s gone legit tells me to post a reward sign at the local drug rehab center \u2013 \u201cThey\u2019ll find the bike in 24hrs\u201d. Street people I spoke with advised the bike would have been immediately painted and sold for $20 - $50. It was an interesting day however I return to Detroit empty-handed. Waine contacts me the next day saying he got a call almost immediately after I posted the reward poster. There were two people claiming to represent the person who purchased the bike for $200 from the thief. They wanted the cash reward money NOW. It was 11pm and Waine lived 15 miles away. Plus he didn't have all the money. They exchanged a few calls but nothing more happened. I tried calling the person but never got any return calls. Dead-end. I fly back to Los Angeles defeated. Then I start getting odd emails from someone in England saying they have the bike. I communicate with them \u2013 they have African accents. It sounds like a sham but I play along. Finally I ask for a description of the bike and it's nothing like mine. I guess they had another stolen Peugeot. It had been 5 weeks since my PX10 was stolen and I was WAY ready to move on. Back to Ebay and the CR "Wanted" list. A month goes by. I see an email message from Waine. Do I really wanna go there? I\u2019m sick of dealing with this \u2013 more salt in the wound kinda thing. I open it and the first thing written is \u201cI got your bike\u201d. HE\u2019S GOT MY BIKE?? I couldn't believe it. I read it five times and it still said the same thing \u201cI-got-your-bike\u201d. Talking to Waine later in the day, he tells me the most amazing story. The nite before, Sunday, he gets a call from someone at 11:30pm. This is a new guy and HE now has the bike. He wants to deal. Waine \u2019s caller ID indicates the call is originating from a payphone located in the area where my bike was stolen. However this new guy doesn't trust Waine and makes a point of telling him. Still he wants to deal. He wants Waine to come to this rough part of town with cash in hand to make the deal. Waine listens and his instincts tell him this may be the only chance. Waine and I had talked about this possibility. Criminal types don\u2019t like to surface and when they do \u2013 it\u2019s not for long. They also wanna be in control, they\u2019re nervous as all hell and gotta call the shots or forget it. Don\u2019t try talking reason with them \u2013 you\u2019ll kill the deal. However, there\u2019s also the risk of a set-up or worse. Anyway, Waine is 15 miles away PLUS his truck is in the shop for a brake job. Waine checks the public transportation and nothing is running Sunday nite going to downtown Toronto. SO WAINE GETS ON HIS BIKE AT MIDNITE and rides the 15miles into Toronto. He pulls into this rough area of town, a few blocks from where my bike was stolen. Had I known the B&B was in such a bad area I would have never stayed there. Their Internet pic looked so cute and comfy -- who knew?? Anyway, Waine arrives at the location, a 24hr dive coffee shop and right away this guy comes out \u2013 \u201cAre you Waine?\u201d They go in and talk over coffee. After a few minutes the guy wants the money however he doesn\u2019t have the bike. The guy won\u2019t get the bike until he has money. What would u do? 2am, sleazy part of town, alone, a bunch of bills in your wallet\u2026 Waine tells him to look into his eyes and say, \u201cYou can trust me\u201d. The guy does. He insists he can be trusted. Even though my reward poster cites \u201c$500 For Return of\u2026\u201d Waine convinces him into taking $100. It\u2019s all he had because where do u get $500 cash on a late Sunday night? The guy buys -- Waine gives him half the money and off he goes. While waiting, Waine pieces the story -- sorta\u2026 My bike is stolen and sold for $200. Someone sees the reward poster and tries to broker the first deal several weeks ago but it fails. At some point the person who stole the bike ends up in jail. The first broker dude has a very pregnant girlfriend who is royally pissed her boyfriend is trafficking in hot goods. The bike gets handed off along with my reward flyer to this second broker dude who calls Waine. Anyway -- a short time later this latest broker dude returns -- with the bike. It looks fine except for a scuffmark on the saddle, probably from getting yanked outta the car trunk. EXCEPT Waine now has two bikes and no vehicle. What to do? HE convinces the guy to ride the bike back the 15 miles, back toward the area near where Waine lives. They return about 5:30am. Waine gives broker dude bus money. Then he walks the two bikes home, sends me email and goes to bed. Can u believe this??? I\u2019ve been thinking about it all day \u2013 what is wrong with the world and what is right with the world. I gotta tell you \u2013 Waine is what\u2019s right. He is truly a remarkable person. He would prefer to remain anonymous and politely declined my efforts to laud him publicly. There are others I don\u2019t even know who over the past 5 weeks were also involved. Speaking to Waine, I\u2019m under the impression they would have done the same thing. I\u2019m still floored thinking about it. Here I am, from Los Angeles, staying in Michigan and in Canada visiting Toronto where this coalition of bike people recovers my stolen bike --- just amazing. What else can I say? Except \u2013 there are a few lessons here. Next time I travel with bike in tow, I\u2019ll check beforehand to make sure I can keep my bike indoors. If they give me a hard time \u2013 I\u2019ll go with instinct and do it anyway. Putting up the reward signs was the key. Big reward gets you noticed. If it happens to you, put up reward signs for lotsa money. You may not have to pay it all out. >From their end, some cash NOW is a great motivator because there\u2019s always another bike or whatever out there. Put the signs up right away and right in the exact area the item was stolen from. Stick a business card in the handlebars or up the seat post. File a police report, if anything it\u2019s good statistical info they can use. Jot down that serial number and keep it handy. You never know. I mean, you REALLY never know\u2026 George Elanjian (Los Angeles)

What To Do If You Can\\u2019t Dial In Your Rear Derailleur\\u2026

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