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3 Things to Never Ask Someone That Just Had Their Bike Stolen

by Jess Hughes

There is no off-season for bicycle thievery and this month has been no exception.  Reading about the good folks at Cascade Bicycle Studio in Seattle and their 32 stolen bikes crushed my spirit. Their Facebook post announcing the enormous loss was a tear jerker.  Closer to home, a client of ours cancelled his appointment after realizing his bike had been taken from his garage the night before.  The notion that he had the mental clarity to call and cancel moments after realizing his bike was gone was impressive.

This week marks 1 year that my beloved Rouse was stolen from our garage.  While I did get her back, the incident evoked emotions I didn’t realize I had, forcing me to rethink my reaction when learning of similar misfortunes.

We all know someone who’s had their bike stolen. Here are 3 questions you should avoid asking after they’ve posted that picture:

1. Did you have insurance?

This is important because it could go one of two ways.  They have insurance.  Depending on where their bike was stolen from (house, car, coffee shop) there’s a huge chance it’s not covered on their policy. I won’t get into the nuances of everyone’s coverage but do recommend you call your agent. What they have to say may surprise you.   What if your friend doesn’t have insurance?  Well you’re now the asshole that just reminded them.

2. Weren’t they locked up?

This seems like a rhetorical question no one can stop themselves from asking.   It doesn’t matter if they were locked up and no matter how it’s answered, this question always comes with insensitive follow-ups and unavoidable judgement.

3. Don’t you have another bike?

It’s not recommended to offend the victim while they’re still in shock.  For an invested cyclist or triathlete this questions is on par with, “Don’t you have 2 kids?”  Yes and you love them equally. Move on.

When you see that picture of your friend’s stolen bike, give it a share and only ask questions that are going to bring the bike back to its rightful owner. All others should be saved for the celebratory reunion.

My bike was stolen last April.  I found it 72 hours later.  Jess and Jihad start with the same letter.