Costly bike theft ruined simple summer pleasure

Camping in Parksville has been a summer pleasure for our family for the past six years and last weekend should have been no exception.

Camping at Parry’s Campground in Parksville has been a summer pleasure for our family for the past six years and the weekend of July 26 should have been no exception.

Instead, my teenagers (14 and 16) learned two very hard lessons. First, someone will always want what you have; and second, some people just take what they want.

We arrived on Friday evening. Before turning in, as we always do, we secured our site and stowed my sons’ custom dirt jumper mountain bikes 12 inches behind our tents. Sometime between 1 a.m. and 6 a.m., while we slept, some jerks walked into our site and stole the bikes.

When I reported the incident to the office, other campers mentioned other thefts that night: a set of keys, alcohol, coolers. While warning other campers, more stories emerged — the theft of a man’s bike the night before; a 13-year-old’s the week before; two others the July long weekend from someone camping for the month, together with other items.

Our bikes are unusual enough to be recognizable. Bike one has a black custom frame, eight-gear shifter, worn flame grips, Dirt Jumper 1 front shocks, and a small hard seat with damage to the front.  Bike two has a black “Oryx” frame, customized with bright green grips, gold and black Dirt Jumper 3 front shocks and black foam/fabric seat.

The robberies made every one of us campers victims to people who haven’t the decency to leave things alone that don’t belong to them. Since when did it become OK for someone to take away the simple pleasure of a summer camping trip?

The owners of Parry’s are on constant guard through the sleepless night, trying to protect their guests, but these individuals possibly snuck in from the river.

After paying the $1,000 deductible, our home insurance might cover replacement cost. But these bikes were custom built, one-offs. They were gifts to our sons by a young man who overcame personal challenges, emerging four years ago as the top mountain biker in B.C. Because he was now being sponsored, he passed his hard-earned custom bikes on to us. The loss of these bikes is costly — first in their value to our sons, and secondly to us as we need to replace their summer transportation.

The morons who took these bikes are not likely to read the newspaper, nor this letter, but someone who knows them will. If you notice a son, brother or friend with a new/used bike, don’t assume they came to own them lawfully. Do the right thing and pass information on. We are offering a $200 reward ($100 each) for the intact return of our bikes. The theft has been reported to the Oceanside RCMP, Island pawnshops and cycle stores. Contact myself or the Oceanside detachment with any information.

Madelaine MacLeod