Susan works close to 50 hrs a week. Some nights she makes good tips, others, not particularly. She depends on her bike for work and to support her household. She makes enough to support her family but that means she can’t afford more than a cable lock to keep her bike safe. After an exhausting day at the restaurant, she finds her bike gone. All that's left is the cheap, now broken, cable lock. She is panicky. “Do I have enough for cab fare to get home? Is the bus still running? Can I safely walk to the street car? Oh my God. Now I have to take the bus or a cab to work, that’s money not spent on my kid's needs!”
Jerry works doing bicycle delivery at a local pizza shop. Jerry is only fifty dollars away from paying his rent. His roommates have been very patient with him, but the landlord has not. It’s a slow New Orleans summer. Tips are low, but Jerry feels very confident he can make the money he needs tonight. His next delivery is to a hotel. Jerry asks the valet to watch his bike. He finishes up his delivery and gets a ten dollar tip! The night is going great. Jerry goes outside to find no bike and no valet anywhere. The valet manager runs up to him out of breath followed by a security guard. “Jerry I’m sorry some guy just stole your bike. We chased him and lost him. We have everything on film!“ Jerry’s heart sinks. He was so close to making rent, and the shift is not yet done.
People like Susan and Jerry are the people bike theft hurts the most. Dan Farve of Bike Easy labels them “necessity riders”. These are the people who do not own a car, can not afford a car, and ride a bike as their only form of transportation.
No one deserves to have their bike stolen. Your bike is an extension of your body. You put forth your own physical strength to push those pedals and balance to go forward. You become one with your bike. You become attached to your bike physically and sometimes very emotionally. When someone steals your bike they have taken part of your soul. Your efforts, mobility, accomplishments, hard work, and for some of us, our source of income, is gone.
Go to our website and scroll through the pictures of the bikes we recovered and the happy faces of the owners. Faces equal to a kid opening a present on Christmas day. It's those faces and wide smiles that keep me going. That is why I do this. I do this for the single mom who only has a bike to get to work. I do this for the artist and buskers in Jackson Square who lose their way to transport paintings and instruments, for the bike couriers, for those below the poverty line that can't afford a car. For those who don't want a car. I do this for the college kid trying to get to class on time. I do this for the racers, for the fixed gear no fear hipsters. I do this for the families who ride bikes with their children on Saturday mornings. I do this for the tall bike circus freaks and chopped out lowrider bar hoping cruisers. I do this because I love bikes and I love the people who ride bikes.
We have seen bike thieves of all races, genders, and economic class, steal a bike. Our top three bike snatchers were white males. One who was dressed nicer than most. So what is it that makes someone steal a bike? Drug addiction, poverty, mental illness, and sometimes just spite. We have seen poles dug up, trees cut, and fences cut, all just to steal a bike. It's an epidemic and until this city opens more rehab clinics and mental health facilities it’s not going to stop.