05 August 2010

Is the owner coming back for this bicycle?

Take a look at this bike. It's missing its handlebars, seat, front wheel, brake and shifting cables, front- and rear-brakes, and chain, while the back wheel has been stomped into a useless mess. It sure doesn't appear to be wanted by anyone at this point.

This is at the New York Avenue Metro station, where the bike racks are not up to code anyway, and they often fill up. Parking is at a premium here, but this mangled used-to-be-a-bike has been here for a couple weeks now.

Wednesday evening, I spoke with a station manager, asking if he knew what to do to get the bike removed. First, he told me that he, as a station manager, has nothing to do with the bike racks (they are on WMATA property—whose job is it to "manage" them?). He said I should find a member of the Metro Transit Police Department to speak with. As I walked away, he claimed that, no matter what, if the frame is locked to the rack, WMATA will consider the bike "in use," and they won't be able to touch it.

That's clearly ridiculous. The lock should be cut and the frame should be donated to a group like Phoenix Bikes or someone else who can turn this into something useful again.

I put a call in to the MTPD as I left the station, and was told that an officer would stop by to assess the situation. As of Thursday morning, nothing has happened. We'll see how long this takes to be removed.


  1. It actually looks like quite a nice bike frame, even if you consider all the missing bits!

    On a similar note: The NY Ave station manager sassed me yesterday after I tried to report a car with no AC.

  2. andrew: Which manager was it? I've had multiple less-than-satisfying interactions with the station managers there. Not sure that it's necessarily that different from people's experiences elsewhere, of course.

  3. I've seen official-looking notes on scooters in the Cleveland Park bike rack that had been left there for months. The notes claimed they'd be removed if not claimed in a few weeks. Eventually after several more months the scooters disappeared.

  4. Anonymous: As of yesterday evening, the front fork of the bicycle is gone as well. The rest is still there, no sign that Metro Police have taken the time to do anything about this whatsoever.

  5. What a bike to abandon, too: a Cannondale hybrid isn't one of the typically-abandoned Magna/Pacific Cycles sweatshop frames. I'm not shocked that the carbon fork is now gone.

    Frankly, WMATA is asleep at the switch with almost everything - that's the problem with answering to three masters who are seldom ever in agreement, run by a governing board whose members seldom ride the system they govern.

    This might be worth getting DDOT and WABA to intervene, as well.

  6. randomduck: The back wheel has been taken now (not sure why), and another bike locked to the racks has had its wheels stolen as well now. Eventually, will we have a rack full of bike skeletons here if the Metro Transit Police continue to ignore it.

  7. Anonymous: The frames are gone. I've noticed at least two more bike wheels stolen since, though, as well as another complete bike stolen when it was only locked up with a cable (which was easily cut).

    Still a scary place to park a bike!


You can be curmudgeonly too, but let's try to be civil and constructive here, ok?