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Bike advocates robbed of bikes

RCMP say not evidence of bike theft ring

If there is one word that goes with the name Grant Lamont, it’s “bike”. He organizes two bike events, the Cheakamus Challenge Fall Classic and the Whistler stage of the B.C. Bike Race. He is a past president and founding member 16 years ago of the Whistler Off Road Cycling Association (WORCA), which is probably the biggest mountain bike club in the world. He works part-time as a bike guide, and over the past two summers he was a consultant for the B.C. government, putting together a template bike and trails strategy for Sea to Sky that will be applied to the rest of the province. This year he started to collect bikes for Bicycles for Humanity, which will be sent to local First Nations.

Most recently he was a victim of bike theft.

On Thursday, Sept. 11, a thief broke into the Lamont house while the family slept and walked into the garage that was locked from the outside. They stole two Santa Cruz Blur bikes belonging to Grant and wife Caroline, and Grant’s Green Specialized Stumpjumper Expert. Grant’s Blur was a black anodized LT (long travel), the only one in Canada. Caroline’s was a blue XC.

The Lamonts are not alone, and know of several other bike thefts in Whistler recently. Their message to other riders is to beware.

“They (the thieves) knew what they were doing because they walked through our house to get to the garage while we were sleeping,” he said. “I’m guessing it’s three guys and that they each rode a bike out. They didn’t take anything else, they knew exactly what they were coming for.

“It took the wind out of my sails in organizing the Cheakamus Challenge, and collecting bikes for Bicycles for Humanity. I’m just really disappointed, but I guess it’s part of our legacy now. It’s a big city, so you have to lock everything up. If your garage is locked, then lock your bike inside the garage.”

The Whistler RCMP could not provide exact statistics for bike thefts this season, but Sergeant Steve Wright of the Whistler RCMP said thefts are down overall this year.

“We haven’t had any indication that there is an organized theft ring in Whistler. When we did in the past it was a constant thing while it’s been more sporadic in nature this year,” said Wright. “Compared to last year I think our bike thefts are way down, while last year we did have an organized ring that we did catch and we did manage to recover a bunch of the bikes that went missing.”

Overall, bike thefts are a huge issue across Canada. “The highest dollar value for thefts in Canada is for bikes; not cars or other vehicles, but bikes,” said Wright. “Still, the vast majority of people do not have the serial numbers of their bikes. People have bikes worth $6,000 to $7,000 and they don’t write down the numbers, which is a real problem.”

With the Resort Municipality of Whistler, the RCMP is working on a program where hotels encourage guests to write down serial numbers. As well, Wright encourages all bike owners to securely lock their bikes at home and in the village, and write down serial numbers to improve the chance of recovery.

The Whistler RCMP do have access to a bait bike equipped with tracking technology, but it has yet to be taken.

Wright could not immediately provide statistics on bike thefts this summer, but said the RCMP is tracking those numbers.