The nutbars who've been puncturing the tires of BikeShare bikes like they have some kind of hate-on for cyclists may have been caught on video.
Staffers at the community-run bike rental outfit won't know for sure until they've gone through the tape from a surveillance keeping an eye on bike racks of one of its downtown hubs, the Mountain Equipment Co-op on King West.
But for now, BikeShare project manager Maogosha Pyjor says they've given up on filing a formal report with the cops.
BikeShare will instead rely word of mouth among members and the bike community, which has helped them recover missing bikes in the past, and perhaps a few strategically placed wanted posters -- should they come up with a usable photo from the surveillance camera -- to crack the case. Then they'll ask for police help.
So far, the distinctive bright yellow vehicles have been hit at several of the 16 BikeShare hubs around the city and, in a number of instances, where they've have been parked on the street. All the tires have similar puncture marks made by what appears to be a pick of some sort.
Most of the attacks have occurred in the evening, though some bikes rented in the morning have been brought back with flats by the afternoon.
Grassroots Riverdale, Mountain Equipment Co-op, Jet Fuel, the Bike Joint and 519 Church Community Centre have all been targets.
"It's hard not to take it personally when it's not just one location they're hitting," says Pyjor.
Cycling Committee chair Adam Giambrone, recalling last summer's sandwich-throwing incident in Kensington Market that sparked a fistfight between a cyclist and an SUV driver, says there's a lot of pent-up anger toward cyclists out there.
Giambrone says he hears a lot of stories of "people walking by and ripping off a gear shift or whatnot" from parked bikes. "The sad reality is that this kind of vandalism is heating up."
The good news is that the city is looking into expanding the BikeShare concept with automated hubs similar to those in Europe. Hopefully, they won't have to be outfitted with surveillance cameras.