Stolen Bike Rescued by Online Geeks

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City Room has the amusing tale of a stolen one-of-a-kind bike, recovered with the help of the Internet, an avenging bike messenger, and inspired plots involving underwear worn on the outside.

When Agata Slota’s bicycle disappeared from a spot near Union Square one day in September, the odds were that she would never see it again. About 60,000 bikes are stolen in New York City each year, and only 2 percent of them are recovered by their owners. Because the bike was distinctive –- her brother had built it himself –- Ms. Slota, 27, posted an ad and photograph on Craigslist in the hopes that someone would notice it.

That is where it would have ended, except that a friend of Ms. Slota’s had also posted a notice about the theft on an online chat room for fixed-gear bike enthusiasts. Such postings are common on the chat room, which serves mainly as a place for, in the words of one regular user, “geeking out over fancy bike parts.” Weeks later, someone posted a response after spotting Ms. Slota’s bicycle locked up outside a Quizno’s in Midtown. This set off a flurry of messages that continued for weeks and, eventually, led to Ms. Slota getting her bike back.

Photo via City Room