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Yellowknife man reunited with tricycle stolen 1 year ago

Seppo Vuorela used his trike to get around town affordably in the summer. His trike, stolen by a group of kids, turned up a year later in Frame Lake, and there's a grand plan to spruce it up.

Seppo Vuorela's trike was stolen 1 year ago, but it's been found and is about to be souped up

Seppo Vuorela stands outside Northern United Place, where a few young people made off with his bicycle over a year ago. (Avery Zingel/CBC)

A year ago, some kids made off with a three-wheeled bike belonging to Seppo Vuorela, a Yellowknife man.

Seppo is in his 70s and a survivor of multiple strokes. For him, it was more than a trike.

His daughter, Arleen Vuorela, says it meant freedom for her dad, who after a series of health setbacks lost his driver's licence.

The trike was a cheap form of transportation and since it was stolen, Seppo has had to rely on others "to a degree that he finds most distasteful," Arleen said.

Surveillance footage from Northern United Place showed three youth taking off with the bike.

"Dad has had his share of difficulties. Having the bike taken away was certainly an upset for him. Having it returned was a most unanticipated and welcome surprise."

In the summer, it allowed Seppo to go where he wants, when he wants, without having to consult other people, Arleen said. Seppo said that without the trike, a trip to the grocery store to get a stick of butter isn't just a few bucks — it's the price of butter plus cab fare. 

"He has been guarding his independence as best he can with quite a lot of effort and vigour," Arleen said. 

Arleen Vuorela and Seppo Vuorela with Ben Brown outside Northern United Place. (Avery Zingel/CBC)

The tricycle belonged to Seppo's late-father, who used to ride it around the Avens community home for seniors. For months, Seppo's family and friends looked high and low for the bike. 

Lost and found

Ben Brown is Seppo's son-in-law and he's part of a local club that makes radio-controlled devices. 

"We build … everything from machines designed to climb rocks to 30-kilogram-plus speed demons," said Brown.

A few weeks ago, Brown got a call from one of the club members, Alex Ringette — he'd found the bike in the water at the bottom of a cliff in Frame Lake. 

"There's about five or six of us that like to come and play on the rocks here and somehow we just managed to never see it," said Brown. 

In the spot where they found Seppo's bike, there are stop signs, shopping carts and a few other bikes in the water.

The cliff is steep and there's no easy way down. 

Ringette didn't wait to pull the bike out of the water. He scaled the cliff, secured the bike to a braided strap with an iron hook and hauled it out. 

Seppo Vuorela's missing trike was found here, at the base of a cliff on Frame Lake. (Avery Zingel/CBC)

Souped up trike

At first, the guys at the radio-control club kept it a secret because they wanted to be certain it was Seppos' bike. 

Then, Brown called Seppo with the news. 

"He hasn't seen the bike yet because it's pretty messed up," said Brown.

At first, Seppo didn't believe it, then he asked how badly damaged it was. 

The fenders are dented, the gears need an overhaul and after sitting in the lake all winter, it's rusty.

"[Seppo] was a bit disappointed over that but there's there's a pretty awesome plan for that," said Brown. 

The radio control club plans to motorize the bike with an in-hub motor.

"When he pedals it's not actually going to take any effort. It's just for show. The motor will do the work," said Brown. 

Seppo said he is happy for two reasons: his son-in-law has a great project to work on before the spring and most importantly, he has his bike back. 

Seppo's bike after it was hauled out of Frame Lake this fall. (Submitted by Ben Brown)

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