MARK JIRIK has had his custom bike

MARK JIRIK has had his custom bike

Chicago cyclist has bike stolen near Terrace, BC

Mark Jirik and friend are on their way from Alaska to Argentina

TWO long distance cyclists from Chicago are stranded in Terrace because one had his custom-outfitted bike stolen from a rest stop east of here Aug. 25.

Mark Jirik and cycling partner Nate Prescott are on their way from Alaska to Argentina to raise money for a neighbourhood house in Chicago which provides assistance to low income immigrant families.

This bike is the single most important possession in my life,” said Jirik in an email soon after the incident. “It is everything I rely on. I cannot continue to Argentina without it nor can I continue to fundraise for our cause …. In this moment I feel absolutely broken.”

The pair, both in their twenties and of modest means, have been on the road for a month and were camped at the Sanderson rest area east of here on Hwy16 when the theft occurred.

When he exited his tent the morning of Aug. 25, Jirik found that his bike was missing from where he left it a mere five feet from his tent, out of sight of Hwy16.

The bike make is a Surly Long Haul Trucker with 62 cm frame in matte gray colour. It has racks on both back and front, wheels that appear smaller than a standard road bike, and has custom-build 48 spoke White Industries hubs. The handle bars are curved.

The two friends had been saving up for over a year to take this trip, and Jirik said he is willing to offer some compensation for the return of a bike that he said is central to his life mission right now. If he can’t get it back it might mean aborting the trip which he spent over a year planning and saving for.

While they wait for a miracle bike return, the two adventurers have found a home to stay at temporarily in Terrace.

And McBike bike shop technicians are putting together what Jirik is calling a Frankenstein bike out of old parts that will at least enable them to continue as far as Vancouver.

The incident has shattered any illusions Jirik had about rural areas being crime free. Far from the urban jungle of Chicago, he expected to find an oasis of lower crime.

That’s the really expensive moral to the story,” Jirik said. “You expect your bike to be stolen in the city, not camping.”


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