Peter and Marja Slofstra are hoping someone will return a stolen tandem bicycle that has been used to raise tens of thousands of dollars for charity.
In 2005, the Orillia couple was getting set to take part in the Sea to Sea bike tour from Vancouver to Halifax to raise money to fight poverty. Marja broke her wrist on a training ride, so they decided to buy the Trek tandem bike.
On Friday morning, Peter noticed the bike — which the couple calls Big Blue — was missing from his shed. He had forgotten to lock it.
“I just felt sick. I immediately blamed myself for forgetting to padlock the door,” Peter said.
He and Marja walked the trails and waterfront, but couldn’t find Big Blue.
“As we’re walking around, looking for it, all I’m thinking of is how many memories we’ve created on that bike,” he said.
They rode the bike in the 2005 and 2017 Sea to Sea events, raising a combined $50,000. Big Blue also powered them through two Rides to Conquer Cancer, for which they raised $10,000.
Peter wrote a book, In Tandem: A Sea to Sea Cycling Odyssey, the proceeds of which were also donated to charity.
“Big Blue was bought and used primarily to do some good in the world,” he said.
He and Marja are “devastated” that the bike has been stolen.
“We have a very minimalistic, thankful approach to life and stuff is not that important to us, but Big Blue has created so many positive memories and inspired so many people that we and others have a very special attachment to this tandem bike," he said. "We hope that it will be returned in one piece.”
The two-seat bike is blue and has Brooks leather saddles and clipless pedals. It was stolen from the couple’s shed near the south end of Laclie Street.
Anyone who sees the bike or has information about its whereabouts is asked to contact Orillia OPP at 1-888-310-1122 or email Peter at firstname.lastname@example.org.