With all due respect to stalwart OnMilwaukee.com talkbacker Gomez, I see more and more bikes hitching a ride on the Milwaukee County Transit System bus racks. I don't use them – because I don't ride the bus much – but I notice cycles on them all the time.
A couple weeks ago, a co-worker told me that the MCTS bus garage on Fond du Lac Avenue has a cage filled with bikes that have been left on the bus racks.
While I don't entirely get how you can load your bike, ride the bus and then exit the bus and forget the bike, I guess I can imagine that it happens.
Heck, I once drove to Alterra and then walked back to the office after my coffee, only to come out of work at the end of the day to think my car had been stolen (sad, but true).
The part that really baffles is that those bike-leavers don't then later realize they left their two-wheeler on the big green limousine (which, I know, are more blue than green these days) and go back to claim it at the Fond du Lac lost and found.
But, it's true, says MCTS' Jennifer Bradley Vent, who, I admit in the interest of disclosure, is among my best friends.
"Since the first bike rack was installed in May 2009, MCTS has had a total of 183 bikes left on buses," she tells me in an e-mail. But, of course, unclaimed bikes are a relatively rare find on the bus.
"We find about five times more cell phones than bikes left on the bus," she says. "With 40 million rides given each year, many and a variety of items are left behind on the bus. Cell phones and umbrellas are some items more often forgotten, but unusual items are forgotten too, including TVs, crutches, fishing poles and musical instruments."
Although I didn't get hard and fast numbers, it sure sounds like a lot of bikes go unclaimed. So, what happens to them?
"Several bikes have been claimed," says Bradley Vent, "but most have been donated to a non-profit organization that rehabs used bikes."
Any idea how many bikes were claimed after being left on the bus? I find it very strange, as you did, that no one comes to claim a bike, unless it was stolen to begin with.
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