A volunteer program that worked to teach kids safe cycling suffered a setback Thursday after losing about 30 bicycles in a burglary, police and a program official said.
The bicycles, owned by Bike Clark County, were reported missing Thursday after a break-in at Hough Pool, 1801 Esther St. The Hough Foundation had donated space to the nonprofit bike advocacy organization, which stored its fleet of bikes in the empty pool.
“I know what it takes to move 30 bikes,” said Bike Clark County founder Eric Giacchino. “That’s pretty ambitious.”
The volunteer organization uses its bicycles in a program that teaches bike safety to more than 400 students a year. It trains physical education teachers in bike and pedestrian safety and works with them throughout the program.
The bikes, purchased through a grant with the Vancouver Bike Club and Clark County, are worth about $500 each, Giacchino said. Most of the bikes were silver MTX 225s, with a few solid blue ones also taken.
“I think this is going to be a big setback,” Giacchino said.
Giacchino plans to meet with his organization’s board of directors after calling his insurance agency to discuss the impact of the theft and possible next steps. He’s also going to give the serial numbers and descriptions of the bikes to local bike shops.
“I believe we’re going to see them around town,” Giacchino said.
The safety program won’t start up again until spring, but winter is tune-up season. If the bikes don’t show up and Bike Clark County can’t find the money to buy a new fleet of bikes, Giacchino said, the organization will have to rely on bikes owned by the Vancouver School District.
The organization raised $1,300 to start a community cycling center at Hough Pool, but the plans will likely be put on hold since the training bikes were stolen.
“We work on a super-small budget,” Giacchino said.
Anyone with information on this burglary and theft is asked to contact the Vancouver Police Department West Neighborhood Response Team Detective Adam Millard at 360-487-7449.