Bike stolen in San Francisco - worth it to check flea markets?
February 24, 2015 4:14 PM   Subscribe

Nice bike stolen in San Francisco - where to try to find it?

I have a super-cute racing green Brompton which cost me a lot and got stolen in the Mission district after I left it locked up on South Van Ness and 14th (outside Rainbow foods) for 15 minutes. It sucks.

I'm not from here, but have been reading a lot about this phenomenon and saw that a lot of stolen bikes end up at flea markets in Oakland. Can anyone say whether this is still a thing and if so where I should go look?

I don't want to be a total martyr for my bike, but I'd like to make some more of an effort before I give up and get the cheapest folding bike I can find.

p.s. I've already filed a police report, registered the serial number, tweeted to the stolen bike sites, etc.
posted by ashtabula to opelika to Travel & Transportation (17 answers total) 1 user marked this as a favorite
I found mine in a second-hand bike shop about a half-mile from the Oakland location where it was stolen, six months later. The person who traded it to the bike shop claimed he had bought it at a yard sale in Richmond during the intervening months.
posted by slidell at 4:19 PM on February 24, 2015

Craigslist? eBay?
posted by Ruthless Bunny at 4:19 PM on February 24, 2015

Response by poster: I've been checking Craigslist and eBay. I'm not sure if bike thieves try to sell these things immediately or if they wait for a few months...
posted by ashtabula to opelika at 4:22 PM on February 24, 2015

I'd keep an eye on Craigslist - they aren't really that crafty and they'll try to unload it as soon as possible. Also, ever been to the Ashby Flea Market? I'd check there this weekend.
posted by Toddles at 4:34 PM on February 24, 2015

Can anyone say whether this is still a thing and if so where I should go look?

There are flea markets at Ashby BART (every Sunday, I believe) and near the Coliseum. I'm not sure if there are a lot of bikes there. There's also the infamous Karim Cycle.
posted by slidell at 4:37 PM on February 24, 2015

Just like the Lottery, the odds are against you but you can't win if you don't play.

So yes, Post a notice of the stolen bike on CL with a pic if you have it; also on the regional forums of Road bike Review and Check the bike postings for other cities too, like Sacramento, San Louis Obispo, and Merced.
Go to the weekend flea market at the Ashby BART, and the big one down by the Oakland Coliseum. Spread the word and we will all keep our eyes out!
posted by TDIpod at 4:40 PM on February 24, 2015

Came to say Ashby BART and Karim Cycle.
posted by hoyland at 4:56 PM on February 24, 2015 [1 favorite]

Investigate all CL ads for folding bikes on the west coast in the next month. The photo might be one they ripped from the web somewhere that doesn't match yours exactly, so if the wording of the ad is especially brief, uninformative, or hurried, it could be your bike. I hope you get it back!
posted by oxisos at 5:04 PM on February 24, 2015 [2 favorites]

I don't want to weigh in on the "should I look for it?" question, but instead want to propose a thought ... what do you do if you find it? You might want to have that thought out in advance. Just going up and shouting "that's mine, give it to me!" probably won't work. (Do you have a receipt with serial number? Will the local police be willing to get involved? Etc.)
posted by Brian Puccio at 5:07 PM on February 24, 2015

There's also Laney flea market.
posted by latkes at 5:08 PM on February 24, 2015

I don't even live in the bay, and i came to ask what shop was well... Karim cycle. Every medium sized to large city seems to have that shop near it, or in one of the nearby towns.

3 things seem to happen to stolen bikes nowadays

1. they go to the local version of that shop
2. they go on craigslist
3. they go in a uhaul truck/van to another state on the same coast to get hawked on that craigslist.

So check that shop, check craigslist, and check the craigslist of LA, portland, seattle, etc. Plenty of friends up here have had their bikes magically reappear in the bay area or even LA, and definitely portland.

If you had any unique parts on the bike, like a wheel built with a super nice hub, look for those on craigslist too. My friend got his bike back from a tweaker who was trying to part it out after he got the wheel, got the guy arrested, and the guy emailed him saying "the bike is locked up in the corner of this parking lot please dont testify".
posted by emptythought at 5:09 PM on February 24, 2015

There are chop shops on the street right near rainbow, not that you want to fight the guys who stole it, but odds are they are sitting with it within 2 blocks of rainbow right now.

Also post a picture and description to
posted by bottlebrushtree at 5:11 PM on February 24, 2015

If you don't find it on craigslist, check the flea markets this weekend. All of them- though this weekend's big one in Alameda is the antique flea market, so I'd make that one a low priority. Go with a friend and while they "negotiate" a sale for it, go get the security guy along with your police report.
posted by small_ruminant at 5:33 PM on February 24, 2015

Response by poster: I'll try Ashby and Karim. I looked at the chop shops by Office Depot. I have a police report filed so I'm thinking if I find it I can call them. No death for this girl.
posted by ashtabula to opelika at 5:36 PM on February 24, 2015

Another vote to check craigslist of other west coast cities.
posted by missmary6 at 5:42 PM on February 24, 2015

Maybe you can get SF anti-bike-theft advocate to post on her FB page. She has some sucess.

Good luck.
posted by cccorlew at 8:31 AM on February 25, 2015

One other note: DailyLister looks like a good way to search the Bikes category on Craigslist nationwide. Listings show up chronologically, so you can see what's new very easily.
posted by oxisos at 10:29 PM on February 25, 2015

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