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Edinburgh BMX rider gets stolen bike back - with a little help from his (Facebook) friends (+ video)

Sighting of distinctive bike in Bristo Square leads to quick retrieval of hot bike

A semi-pro BMX rider whose bike was stolen in Edinburgh last week was reunited with his bike just three days after it was taken from a stairwell outside his flat after fellow cyclists got together on Facebook to help track it down.

Victor Ory, aged 21, a student at Napier University and sponsored rider in his native France, had left his orange BSD TrailorPark bike, worth £1,000, unattended on the stairwell of his flat in Bellevue last Tuesday while he popped inside to get his lock, reports the Edinburgh Evening News.

Four days later, a teenager was spotted riding the bike in the city’s Bristo Square – a location featured in Danny MacAskill’s latest video with the street trials star performing stunts there on, by coincidence, an orange bike – leading to the owner being reunited with his ride.

The Facebook appeal had been launched by the management of indoor urban sports venue Transgression Park, one of whom, John Bailey, sped off to Bristo Square – owned by Edinburgh University and a magnet for skateboarders and other urban sports fans – when a friend told him that a teenager had been spotted riding the stolen bike there.

“I had just got a phone call from a friend who was eating his lunch in Bristo Square near Potterow and saw this kid cycling past on Victor’s bike,” he explained.

“I was in my flat and grabbed my bike and rode around the area for an hour hoping the guy would cycle past again.

“Eventually I saw him and caught up with him on South Clerk Street. I explained the situation and he told me he’d bought the bike from a friend for £50. I said that it was stolen property and I’d get the police involved which seemed to put him off pursuing it any further.”

He said that the episode underlined the benefits of social media to quickly spread information. “It’s just so handy for everything isn’t it? For business, social events and even, it seems, finding a stolen bike,” he said.

Ory, speaking to the newspaper from France, was delighted that the detective work of his fellow riders had paid off.

“I never thought I would get it back,” he explained. “To be honest, when it was stolen my first reaction was ‘Is it a joke?’”

“After a short while I realised that it wasn’t and I stayed out in the middle of the street hoping to see the thief.

“Now, I am so glad to know that my friends have tracked it down and I can’t wait to ride my bike with all my friends in Edinburgh,” he continued.

"“The city’s BMX community is just amazing, more than 80 people shared a picture of my bike on Facebook, and all these guys have kept an eye in the street for three days,” he added.

Transgression Park's marketing manager, Forbes Howie, commented: “I have had my bike stolen before and it’s usually gone forever but it’s amazing that this time around we’ve managed to get it back. The response we had from Facebook was unbelievable and certainly played a huge part in finding Victor’s bike.”

You can see Ory put another bike through its paces at Transgression Park for a video shot by John Bailey for clothing brand Legacy in the video below:

Victor Ory at Transgression Park for Legacy Clothing from George Eccleston on Vimeo.


Simon joined as news editor in 2009 and is now the site’s community editor, acting as a link between the team producing the content and our readers. A law and languages graduate, published translator and former retail analyst, he has reported on issues as diverse as cycling-related court cases, anti-doping investigations, the latest developments in the bike industry and the sport’s biggest races. Now back in London full-time after 15 years living in Oxford and Cambridge, he loves cycling along the Thames but misses having his former riding buddy, Elodie the miniature schnauzer, in the basket in front of him.

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JonMack | 12 years ago

A similar thing happened to a friend of mine in Bristol. She left her bike locked up outside a shop/cafe, she was in there for 3-4 hours. When she came out all that was left was her cut lock. Through facebook and tumblr she shared the photo of her bike, and within 2 weeks it was returned to her. Turns out the bike had already been through three or four people in that time, and a relative of the person who ended up with it last had seen the campaign and felt guilty so contacted her to return the bike.

It's always nice to hear of cyclists looking out for each other.

OldRidgeback | 12 years ago

Good to hear the BMX fraternity got together this way.

I liked the old Transgression facility and was an occasional visitor with my son. I'd heard the new place is up and running and we'll be making a beeline for it next time we're up in Embra.

quango2008 | 12 years ago

great that he got his bike back..luckily he was more diplomatic than I would have been..the kid wouldn't have had a chance to tell me the "i bought it from a friend" routine, i would have been too busy beating the shit out of him!

note to thieves...dont buy stolen bikes from your friends...people like me will hospitalise you regardless of if you did it or not  1

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