[Originally posted on Let’s Bike DC, which has since been deep-sixed]
Bike theft has become a pretty big problem in all major cities, DC included. You hear about it all the time, and even people riding crappy, cheap bikes make sure to lock them up with a decent lock.
Every now and then, I see someone riding a bike that looks way too expensive for them, and I have to catch myself - I shouldn’t be making assumptions or judgements. Just because someone is riding slowly on the sidewalk, or careening wildly around the road while talking on their cell phone, doesn’t mean that they didn’t elect to drop a couple grand on a really nice road bike to do so on.
However, there are two things I’ve seen lately where I feel justified in my assumption that the bike being ridden was probably stolen - maybe not by the rider, but perhaps by the person who sold it to them.
The first has happened multiple times: young kids riding way-too-big road bikes that would be out of my price range. Maybe one of these kids borrowed a bike from a parent or older sibling, but I’ve seen this kind of thing on several occasions and really doubt all of these kids owned the bike they were on.
The second case was just the other day. A guy passed me pedaling pretty quickly - not like a frantic getaway pace, but definitely the pace of someone who doesn’t recognize when to shift gears. He also had the seat way down low, like kids do on BMX bikes, so his knees were practically hitting him in the chest. Taken together, this made for a comical scene, but neither is that uncommon.
The fishy part was that he was doing this on a folding bike. I was too far away to tell for sure, but it looked like a Dahon to me. Granted, I just checked their website and found that their prices are a lot lower than I thought, but still: anyone who would buy a folding bike knows where to position the seat and how to shift gears…right? Is this fishy, or is it just me?