June 2, 2010
Five bicycles put out on Hutchinson's Main Street for anyone to use at anytime. How surprised can you be that they were all stolen?"
"It was like someone had come in and just swept the downtown clean of the bikes."
Jennifer Randall still hopes to see what she calls “an experiment with the bicycles” work in Hutchinson.
"I guess we assumed it would randomly happen over a period of time. And when the whole downtown was swept clean of the entire fleet of bicycles that was like the really surprising part or the part that really disappointed us," Randall said.
You might say half the bikes have been recovered when you count the one cut in half. May 20th , the marked, donated bikes were put out so folks could bike in downtown.
"I think it's a good idea if it would function,” Marlene Nelson, Hutchinson Resident said. “But people now days just aren't that trustworthy that you're not going to have someone take them like they did."
Randall’s disappointed, but not so discouraged, but not so discouraged to give up.
"Now we may need to rethink a few aspects obviously if they're getting stolen," Randall said.
That might include hiding GPS devices on the bikes so they can be tracked. They might adjust the times when bicycles are put out for use. And they might ask local merchants to bring them inside their stores at closing time if they see one of the bikes.
"It's remarkable the outpouring of people caring, looking for the bikes, being concerned, wanting to donate more bikes," Randall said.
Despite the thefts, the organizers plan to continue their project with some adjustments.