The Davis community has stepped up to right a wrong.
After a cross-country cyclist had her bicycle stolen in Davis last month, business and community leaders are replacing the $1,500 Giant touring bike and donating $1,000 to the charity she was riding for.
“I am beyond grateful to have this generosity shown towards me,” Alyssa Chrisman, 21, said in an email. “It reminds me that although some people in the world may be bike thieves, even more people are willing to right the wrong.”
Last month, Chrisman, a senior at Central Michigan University, stopped in Downtown Davis on the last leg of a cross-country bicycle ride from North Carolina to Santa Cruz. She and her teammates had travelled over 4,000 miles to raise funds for the non-profit Bike & Build, which supports affordable housing.
Chrisman locked her bike to two other bicycles before visiting the U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame and museum.
Later she discovered that her bicycle had been stolen.
She was able to find a replacement bike and continue on to Santa Cruz.
When local Realtor Tracy Harris heard about the theft, he quickly called Davis Mayor Joe Krovoza and they hatched a plan to replace Chrisman’s stolen bike.
“I just thought, we can’t let this girl just leave town without anything…It was her first major ride and she rode 4,200 miles in 80 something days,” Harris said, adding that his co-workers and a “bunch of people” immediately began donating money.
The Freewheeler Bicycle Center in Downtown Davis also pitched in, volunteering to supply the exact same bicycle at cost. Then Giant Bicycles, the bike’s maker, agreed to donate one instead, said Freewheeler co-owner Kevin Hein.
Hein said he spoke with several of the cyclists riding with her when they came into his store on their way to Santa Cruz.
“They were young and energetic, despite the fact they’d ridden all the way across the country. It seemed like a great cause and a great group of people, so when we heard about the bike being stolen, it felt like a big, black mark on our community,” Hein said.
“The fact that the community was able to come up with this effort is tremendous.”
Freewheeler employees assembled Chrisman’s new bike and prepared it for shipping. The even wrapped the handlebars in orange tape, just like her old one.
Fundraising efforts by Harris, Krovoza as well as U.S. Bicycling Hall of Fame and bike advocacy group Davis Bicycles! have resulted in $1,000 in pledges for Bike & Build.
Chrisman said in an email that she was able to find a temporary replacement through the Bike Collective in Davis to complete the rest of her journey. The $85 “cruiser”, however, wasn’t optimal for long distances or climbing.
She and her friends nicknamed the replacement bike the “YOLO Bus.”
“The last day was one of the most challenging days of the summer for me,” Chrisman said in her email. “There was a lot of climbing. We had to go over the Santa Cruz mountains, and I was feeling, for the first time, extremely frustrated about the loss of my bike.”
Her teammates encouraged her and all 30 cyclists met up three miles from the ocean.
“I was allowed to lead the team to our final destination on my cruiser,” Chrisman said.
The loss of her beloved bike, which she had named “Tyler”, hit her once she returned home.
“I was constantly telling my parents how I wished I could just ride,” she said, adding she was “awestruck” when Mayor Krovoza called her a few days ago.
She was particularly touched by the $1,000 donation to Bike & Build.
“I felt myself tear up,” Chrisman said. “I love that this has received so much publicity because while the return of my bike is amazing, my intention behind completing Bike & Build was not just to bike across the country, but to raise awareness about the affordable housing crisis.”
Chrisman’s family and friends think she should name her new bike “Tyler 2.0.”
“But I think I’m going to name it ‘Davis,’” she said.
Donations can be made to "Bike & Build" and mailed to:
Tracy K. Harris
PO Box 72222
Davis, California 95617
Donation checks should include the note "Alyssa Chrisman Campaign."
For more information, call Bob Bowen, city of Davis Public Relations at (530) 574-0678.