Community rides to couple's rescue after bike theft

They receive offers of bikes, money to buy new one

By Patty Hastings, Columbian breaking news reporter

Published:

Updated: January 8, 2013, 8:38 PM

 
photoHarly and Courtney Forbes smile after receiving a new tandem bicycle from Richard and Jackie Riordan Tuesday.

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photoKim Turner says thanks and goodbye as she is embraced by Jackie Riordan, while Richard Riordan, background, watches Tuesday in Vancouver. The Riordans gave their tandem bike to Harly and Courtney Forbes after their tandem bike was stolen the day before. Kim is the mother and mother-in-law of Courtney and Harly.

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A shared love of bike riding helped right a wrong Tuesday afternoon.

When Richard and Jackie Riordan of Salmon Creek read about the theft of Courtney and Harly Forbes’ bicycle, they both thought to give their tandem bike to the young couple.

“That’s a beauty, isn’t it?” Harly said as he examined the maroon Santana Arriva at the Riordans’ home Tuesday afternoon. He especially loves the speckled multicolored bar tape. “It’s going to get a lot of miles on it.”

Courtney, 21, and Harly, 22, were devastated when they woke Monday morning to find their tandem Peugeot bike stolen from the porch of their Vancouver home. They’re developmentally delayed and cannot drive a car, making the tandem their main means of transportation.

The Riordans had their tandem bike built when they lived in Southern California decades ago. The bike, however, has been hanging in the garage of their Salmon Creek home since they moved there in 1995. Harly and Courtney Forbes’ story came just in time, Jackie said.

“People in the Northwest are so generous, it’s starting to rub off on us, even though we’re from L.A.,” she said.

Before the Forbeses took the bike home, Jackie handed Courtney an extra gift: a pair of purple bike gloves.

When The Columbian first reported the theft, readers commented on the story and offered donations ranging from $5 to $1,000. Courtney’s mom, Kim Turner, set up a donation account at US Bank under the name Harly and Courtney Bike Fund.

“It puts your faith back in humanity,” she said. “It angered me so much that someone would take from those two kids … to take something that meant so much to them in so many different ways.”

With the money that’s already been donated, the Forbeses plan to buy pedals, tires and a rack for their new bike.

Turner lives with the couple in a small house with little space to store a tandem bike. After talking with Bad Monkey, a downtown Vancouver bike shop, the family is considering getting two Kryptonite locks. The locks would be harder to break than the cable lock that was on the Peugeot, and Kryptonite locks can be registered.

The neighborhood has been plagued with vandalism and car break-ins recently, Turner said. She’s dealt with theft at her home several times before and has had to replace the screen door’s security door handle.

With the theft in the past, Courtney and Harly look forward to blazing trails on their new bike.

They bike everywhere — to the grocery store, doctor appointments and the Waterfront Renaissance Trail, one of their favorite spots to ride.

“It doesn’t matter if it’s pouring down rain,” Turner said.

The Forbeses have been married just over a year after meeting in their life skills class at Columbia River High School and attending prom together.

“I think the greatest gift of all of this is the love and support that the kids have gotten from people that don’t even know us. It says a lot about the people around us,” Turner said. “There are so many good people out there. It just is really warming to the heart.”


Patty Hastings: 360-735-4513; twitter.com/col_cops; patty.hastings@columbian.com.

Columbian reporter Emily Gillespie contributed to this story.