A Winnipeg runner realized the dream of many stolen-bike victims: she chased down, confronted and got her bike wheel back from an attempted thief.
On Tuesday, a maintenance worker at Karly Tardiff’s office building near Health Sciences Centre saw someone take her wheel. The worker tried to get it back, and then told Tardiff what had happened.
But when Tardiff — a dedicated runner — spotted a man with her wheel, she decided to leg it.
She posted a security video of the high-speed chase to social media.
In it, a barefoot Tardiff spots a man with a bike and takes off after him. The man runs, carrying the bike, as Tardiff speeds up on his heels.
What the video doesn’t show is the happy ending: after catching up with him, screaming and in a sundress, she got her wheel back.
"I sprinted as fast as I could," she said. "I did feel a little badass!"
The man had a bike missing a wheel, and Tardiff said he told her that her quick-release wheel wouldn’t fit anyway.
Tardiff is part of a run club called Badass Lady Gang, and said she’s grateful for the ability to run every day — which almost certainly helped her catch up with the would-be thief.
"Although I did feel empowered when I got my wheel back, I recognize that the outcome could have been a lot different. Fortunately for me, when I caught up to the thief several other people had gathered and I felt less vulnerable," she said.
She said at night or alone, she would not have chased him.
She posted the video of her chase in hopes that others will be more careful with their quick-release wheels — and locking bikes in general — and because she’s glad everything turned out OK.
"Although my frame was properly locked, my back tire was not. Moving forward, I plan to take proper measures to ensure my belongings are secured," Tardiff said.
Police-reported bike thefts in Winnipeg have levelled off in recent years after spiking in 2017.
So far in 2019, bike thefts are down about five per cent compared to the same period in 2018.
The city website states more than 1,000 bikes are recovered each year, but only about 10 per cent are reunited with their owners.
Online bike registration became an option last May, and more than 4,000 people have signed up since — including 950 people in May 2019 alone. More than 12,000 Winnipeg bikes are now registered.
Tardiff didn’t report the theft to police — she got her wheel back, after all — but said she’s going to have to check out the registration option so she doesn’t have to chase someone down next time.
Tessa Vanderhart is interested in everything, but especially local news, health policy and statistics.
Updated on Friday, August 16, 2019 at 8:29 PM CDT: Adds graphic