DENVER -- Bike thefts can become a common gripe for Denver cyclists who enjoy the many trails and bike paths the city has to offer. In 2018, Denver police reported more than 1,000 bikes stolen, according to statistics accounting up to October provided to Denver7.
For one Denver woman, the theft of two of her bikes likely hurt more than the average person considering just how engrained her love for cycling has become in her daily and professional life.
Biking plays a major role in Emily Kleinfelter’s life. Bicycle ornaments hang on her Christmas tree, and they’re part of the theme in her home. Friends give her bike-themed birthday cards, she has a bicycle tattoo and she’s even studying city planning at DU, with a focus on alternative transportation.
“I moved to Denver because it’s got such a great bike culture,” said Kleinfelter.
She rode more than 3,000 miles across the country to honor a loved one for a special cause. She biked from Portland, Maine to Santa Barbara, California for the nonprofit Bike and Build to raise money and build affordable housing.
“My grandfather, he was really involved with habitat and because he had passed away a few years before, I wanted to do something to honor him and always have him there with me,” said Kleinfelter.
So when her two bikes disappeared in late November from her apartment building, she felt like her whole world was turned upside down. Her commuter bike was stolen from the underground garage, while her 2016 Liv Avail bike was taken from the building’s newly built secure bike storage room, equipped with security cameras and key-only access.
“My heart dropped as I turned the corner and I didn’t see those purple handlebars. And I knew that my bike was gone,” said Kleinfelter. “Things that hold some sort of sentimental value to me somebody just saw as something they could turn into cash and that’s what breaks my heart the most.”
She’s offering a $750 reward to get both bikes back, no questions asked.
“This bike meant everything to me. It was my world and I know that may sound silly to some people but it would be the best Christmas gift to me to get that bike back,” said Kleinfelter.
Kleinfelter started a GoFundMe account in honor of her stolen bikes to collect donations for the organization Bikes Together. Its mission is to increase use of and access to bicycles, promote safe and bicycle-friendly environments, and advocate for policies that promote bicycle access and use.