February 5, 2014

Ode to a Stolen Bike.


I’ve had a few bikes stolen in my life, and each time it sucks big time!

In high school I spent my life savings from mowing hundreds of lawns and bought a metallic purple Trek 8000.

I will never forget the excitement that I felt the day—I was over the moon!  I rode that bike all over town, every day after school and on every weekend.  It gave me my first sense of freedom: of being able to travel outside the borders of my neighborhood. It instilled a sense of adventure and exploration that has fueled my life ever since.

Then, one Sunday (as I was off to a Broncos game) I noticed it wasn’t in mom’s garage. Stolen.


Fast forward to today.

My cross country Duzer Cruzer is gone.

This super rad limited edition New Belgium cruiser took me safely across the U.S. in 2009.

Yup, the whole US. Yup, a cruiser. Yup, three speeds.

I started on a cloudy day in Oceanside CA, and rode that three speed cruiser all the way to our nation’s capitol.  It allowed me to experience this country at the perfectly slow, yet magical speed of 15 mph.  It pulled my trusty trailer full of beans and camping equipment over the Continental Divide in Colorado and through torrential downpours in Kentucky.

It brought me into contact with some of the friendliest “strangers” I’ve ever met. Some of these people are still important mentors in my life. It didn’t give me many mechanical problems, either—I only got one flat tire (3,000 miles into the ride) on the C & O trail riding into D.C. (Oh, but I did somehow manage to break my right crank-arm in half, but I forgave it)

More than anything, though, it helped me fulfill a lifelong dream of riding across our great country.  I was a patriotic guy before that ride, but after seeing small town America from ground level and meeting all the wonderful people along the way, I was madly in love with this country.


I’m sure the person who stole my bike, today, has no idea of the history of that bike. I’m sure that person has no idea that I used that bike to raise over $10,000 for Community Cycles. For children. That person probably has no idea that I used that bike to work with the League of American Cyclists in an effort to inspire people across the country to ride their bikes more, and drive their cars less.

Bill Ritter Sends New Belgium Biker Off 026finished


Me n’the Gov n’the Bike.

I forgive the thief. That person had no idea what they were doing other than taking something that wasn’t theirs. I’d like to hope that it would have swayed their decision if they knew of the history of that bike and how many smiles it created across the country.

I hope that my Duzer Cruzer shows up. But if it doesn’t, they can’t steal the countless sweet memories on that bad boy.

Here’s a video recap of my ride across the U.S.







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