Stolen Mountain Bike Might End Marin Sophomore’s Racing Season Early

Members of the San Rafael High School mountain bike team are asking community members to keep an eye out for a mountain bike stolen from a student who can’t afford to replace it.


Update: As of 7:30 p.m. on Feb. 27, community members had contributed more than $1,400 toward a fund with a $4,000 goal on IndieGogo to help Ulysses Lopez buy a replacement bike and a “townie” bike he could ride around the city so he does not have to leave his race bike locked up. Check Patch in the near future for a follow up article on the community outreach, or sign up for our daily newsletter so you won’t miss it.  


It hasn’t been easy for San Rafael High School Sophomore Ulysses Lopez to pursue his mountain biking passion. 

The San Rafael native and his family could barely afford the helmet, gloves, bike glasses, shoes and — ultimately — the mountain bike he needed to be a member of the San Rafael High School Mountain Bike Team Bike Dawgs

“The biggest problem with the team is that it’s the most expensive sport in the school,” Lopez said. “We don’t have a lot of money and asking for a bike is a lot.”

His single mother agreed to help Lopez finance his bike, and they’ve made it work so Lopez could continue his favorite activity. 

But this week, Lopez was dealt a gut-wrenching blow when his mountain bike was stolen around 4 p.m. on Monday while he was attending one of his team’s classes at Pelo Cycling and Fitness, at 171 3rd Street. 

Two people saw someone on a skateboard approach Lopez’s bike, cut the lock’s cable and ride away with it. One of the witnesses unsuccessfully pursued the thief.

The San Rafael Police took a report of the theft on Monday evening, someone with the police department confirmed. 

“My main concern was how my mom would react to the situation,” Lopez said. “I was really upset and disappointed at the same time.”

The bike is valued at $3,000. Jon Francis, the mountain bike team head coach, said Lopez received a grassroots deal and his family paid roughly $1,900 for the bike.

Lopez said his mother still has months of regular payments left to pay for the black and red 2012 Specialized Stumpjumper Comp. The carbon-fiber bike with white markings also has a brain fork, which is unusual for that model and might help bike savvy individuals notice it on the streets, according to Francis.

Unless his bike is found, Lopez, who everyone on the team calls “Uly,” won’t be able to participate in the rest of the scheduled races of the season.

“Mountain biking is my life,” Lopez said. “But since someone stole my bike it feels like they took a big part of me and destroyed it.” 

Viji Vierke, a mother of a another student on Bike Dawgs, became close with Lopez last year while helping him with transportation to and from races. “He is so sweet and polite and one of the best kids I know. Even the guys at Mike’s Bikes love him,” she said. “He works hard and did so great at the races with his bike.”

Lopez said on Sunday, Feb. 24, he was in a 26-person race at the Granite Bay Challenge in Granite Bay, near Sacramento, and came in 17th place.

Vierke said the team is a volunteer-run operation and is “maxed out on funds,” but they are hoping to find someone to help sponsor Lopez if his bike doesn't show up.

Lopez said he has already been keeping a close eye on Craigslist and other sites to see if anyone is trying to sell his bike.  

Michael February 28, 2013 at 01:31 AM
as a community we can get this kid a new bike. With enough people it takes just a little from all of us. Beats giving our money to the feds to waste! The SR Dawgs sports teams work off of scraps (funding) and yet still produce competitive teams and a positive outlet for our young adults. It shouldn't always be about the rich kids or the schools with lots of money and great equipment. This is one of our own youth SR, so let's get behind this!
Gina February 28, 2013 at 02:29 AM
I have a "Joe breeze" mountain bike (needs a bit of work, air in tires etc.) I would love to donate to this young man. Please let me know if you would like it! Gina Nichols 415 457-6342
Bat March 02, 2013 at 09:47 PM
I've put the word out to my bay area friends to keep their eyes open for this bike. Has he done anything to personalize it in any way that would make it recognizable? Mirrors, or anything added, stickers, decals, that would say it's his...how could anyone tell it was his if they saw someone riding it around? Put it out on your facebook pages, pictures of him and his bike...anything that would help find it. ( It would be nice to find it and have another as a spare--and to catch the thieves would be a special bonus!)
pelo cycling • fitness March 04, 2013 at 03:48 PM
These guys were brazen! The bike was locked (with a really thin cable, unfortunately) right in front of our studio. Door was open and we were 30' away! Gave chase, but they slipped away. Looks like they have raised plenty to replace it on indiegogo. Pelo sponsors SRHS Dawgs Mountain Biking and the NORCAL league with special classes and discounts. www.pelofitness.com
Markus Baue March 04, 2013 at 05:11 PM
Donated and feeling good about it... it's a really hard to have something important stolen from you, hopefully you are feeling better after the community support you've gotten from people donating time and efforts for you... all the best in your biking!


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