U.S. paraplegic athlete's one-of-a-kind mountain bike stolen in Calgary
Blue Santa Cruz V10, with bucket seat and electric motor, was snatched at Hilton Garden Inn
Story update Aug. 20: Calgary police say they had located the stolen adaptive bike and were in the process of returning it to the owner.
The theft of a custom mountain bike has put a damper on an American athlete's trip to Canada.
Ryan St. Lawrence was paralyzed from the waist down in 2016 when he sustained a spinal cord injury in a cycling accident.
The 32-year-old from New Hampshire hasn't let the injury stop him from the sport he loves, building a custom bike for himself that allows him to embark on the kind of exploits that would be daunting for most.
His latest adventure saw him dropped by helicopter on a remote trail near New Denver, B.C., last week. He was the first adaptive athlete to complete that journey.
Mountain biking is what keeps me active, it's what keeps me going, it's what drives me in life.- Ryan St. Lawrence, adaptive mountain biker
St. Lawrence had hoped to wrap up his journey in Calgary with more mountain biking this week, but on Monday morning he discovered his modified bike and a friend's bicycle were gone. The locks had been cut overnight and both rides stolen from outside the Hilton Garden Inn at the airport.
"Mountain biking is what keeps me active, it's what keeps me going, it's what drives me in life, but for some loser to come by and swipe my bike just like that really doesn't sit well with me," St. Lawrence said.
"I was the first adaptive athlete to make it down these tracks [in B.C.], so that goes to show it's not exactly easily readily accessible for people. So super proud of my accomplishments, and this is just kind of a bummer as I'm getting ready to leave Canada here."
St. Lawrence said the bike couldn't be ridden by anyone but him, but it could be disassembled and sold for parts.
"Got to be a real scumbag to steal something like that. It's clearly an adaptive bicycle made for an adaptive athlete," he said.
His bike is a Santa Cruz V10 with a ski bucket seat and electric motor attached. It's bright blue with an orange fork. His friend's bike is black and yellow.
The two bikes are worth a total of $15,000.
But the emotional value is much more.
"I would just appreciate anything anybody can do to help me out here. Even if I never get the chance to ride that bike again, I just want it to have as a piece to look back on, the accomplishments I've had on that bike so far in my wheelchair career. I just need it back. I can't stand not having it."
The bike was stolen from a rack on his vehicle in the parking lot of the hotel, which is near McKnight Boulevard and Barlow Trail N.E.
Anyone with information is asked to contact Calgary police.
With files from Dave Will