92-year-old Vancouver veteran back on two wheels after e-bike stolen
VANCOUVER -- Eric Mold is back on two wheels after having his bike stolen from his underground parkade in Vancouver earlier this month.
The 92-year-old veteran’s story ran on CTV News Feb. 16, after he discovered it was missing.
“I’ve had a lot of people reaching out to me since that interview appeared on television,” he told CTV News on Tuesday.
Melody Chan, the owner of E-Prodigy Bikes and Bees Knees rentals, saw the story and reached out to him.
“We sold an electric bike to Eric a long time ago and we really value our customers and we just want to be here where we can help him out,” she said.
“So I said, 'That’s wonderful,'” said Mold of the offer for help.
He's been given a new bike, on loan for at least 30 days with the hopes his bike is found and returned to him.
“I’ll offer a $500 reward for the return of my bike and I’ll leave that $500 reward with the folks here at Bees Knees cycle shop,” said Mold. “If anyone brings my bike back within seven days in good condition, they’re free to hand over that 500 bucks, no questions asked.”
Mold has had offers from strangers to replace the bike or make a donation toward one, but the bike that was stolen has sentimental value.
“My wife was in (Vancouver General Hospital) and she was there for five years,” he said, explaining he’d visit every day for a few hours.
But, he added, “the parking at VGH is $4.50 an hour I think, so that added up very quickly.”
That’s when he bought his first e-bike, which it also came in handy when Stanley Park closed to cars.
“I started and I cycled around the park every morning, around the road, because the road you’ve got ups and downs and it gives you a bit more of a workout than just riding around the sea wall,” said the senior.
Mold hasn't let having two artificial knees and hips stop him from being active.
He finds walking quite painful, which is why he depends on cycling and swimming for exercise.
And he believes there one other trick to staying active at his age.
“I’ve had a vodka martini at five o’clock for over 60 years,” he said. “Only one, you know, and it sort of starts the leisure part of the day.”
Chan said she and the others at her store are hoping to help him out while he waits for the bike to return.
“And if his bike doesn’t come back we’re here to support him as well,” Chan said.
Mold’s bike is covered by insurance, and he will have a new place to lock it if he gets it back or decides to buy another one.
He has been reluctant to accept help in buying a new bike, but a VPD detective with the department’s Project 529 convinced him.
Detective Rob Blunt, whose department is actively looking for the bike, set up a GoFundMe page to raise money in case Mold’s bike is not found. Blunt told CTV News he was able to convince Mold to accept the fundraiser by pointing out that claiming the stolen bike on his insurance could cause his premiums to go up.
“If at the end of it all he’d like to purchase this one, we would be able to sell it if not at cost at a really great price,” said Chan.
There are lots of anti-theft modifications that can be made. The battery can be removed or locked, there’s also the option of “using bolted screws instead of a quick release screw, or bolting your seat posts that nobody takes your seat,” said Chan.
She also advocates for people to register their bikes with the Vancouver Police Department and mark them. Mold’s was engraved with his name and drivers licence, which is something that might deter someone from selling or buying it.
“They want a bike that they can resell,” said Chan, “so it’s good if you want to mark up your bike to make it so nobody wants it, that would be one way.”
Mold wants to take it a step further, and after his interview with CTV News had plans to speak with his MLA about e-bike regulations.
“I think we can do that with a concrete form of registration, which won’t be popular in the first place,” he said. “Try and bring some order to bike operations, define what is a bike. You know you can get electric bikes that go 100 miles an hour.”
Mold’s stolen bike is identical to the one Chan is loaning him, except that it’s white in colour. Mold hopes someone will recognize it, and turn it in.