Chris Kreidl, Team TIBCO’s bike mechanic, said he got sick to his stomach when he discovered the ladies’ cycles had been stolen on May 23, the morning of the Exergy Tour's first day. TIBCO’s team director Angela van Smoorenburg sarcastically called it a “nice wake-up.”
“It’s so strange to hear ‘we have a problem’ in this field. Especially when it’s, ‘the bikes are gone,’” Smoorenburg said.
Kreidl said the bikes stolen out of TIBCO’s trailer the night before Exergy started were worth $70,000. Each bike was custom made for every rider.
But Paul Robertson, a facility manager at Boise State’s College of Engineering, thought he spotted them on campus, locked to some bike racks.
“I actually grabbed a co-worker just to make sure I was seeing what I thought I was seeing,” Robertson said. Robertson received a thank-you, as well as $2,450 on the afternoon of May 31.
Kurt Holzer, director of St. Luke’s Medicine Cycling, sported his St. Luke’s orange and white jersey at the gathering in front of George’s Cycles. He gave Robertson thank-you cards, water bottles from TIBCO’s racers, and a TIBCO jersey.
“They’re small women racing, and they only had one extra jersey with them,” Holzer said, holding up a jersey several times smaller than Robertson. “Maybe you have a niece, or can hang it on the wall,” he said laughing.
Next he handed Robertson a stack of cash and checks.
“Just to make clear how it was a community response, everybody who donated wrote separate checks or brought some cash by," said Holzer. "All of that is saying thank you.”
Robertson said more than once how overwhelming the gratitude felt.
“This proves why we choose to live here in Boise. It’s a great community,” Robertson said. “This is definitely not what I was expecting. I was just doing what I expect any other Boisean would do.”
When asked what he would do with the newfound cash, Robertson said, “It’s one of those pinch-me moments. We’ll have to get away from the media on a vacation or something,” he said laughing.
Boise Police Chief Mike Masterson appeared at the gathering to personally thank Robertson as well.
“With 30 officers out on the streets in a community that’s 80 square miles and over 200,000 people, we can’d do it alone,” Masterson said. “This is what it’s all about, this cooperation.”
Masterson said he was pleased to get the bikes back in less than an hour after releasing photos to the media.
“We didn’t want to see any more dashing of the hopes of these young women. We’re glad that it all came through and we were able to get the bikes back.”
Exergy Tour spokeswoman Heather Hill also came out to thank Robertson.
“It was an interesting start to the Exergy week,” she said. “It allowed the race to go on like it should and I know you made many people’s day.”
Holzer said the bikes may have been in the process of a very organized theft, where one group of people steals the bikes, and leaves them somewhere for another group of people to pick up and take out of state.
One of the bikes Robertson discovered won the Exergy Prologue the very next day.
“It’s a little strange because that’s something you see on the news, that somebody saw it and reported it,” Robertson said. “It’s kind of bizarre when that actually happens to be yourself.”