Edmonton's cycling community moved quickly to get the wheels back under a team of Malaysian cyclists whose 10 specialized bikes were all stolen during a break-in at the Argyll Velodrome.
"They have gone beyond the extra mile," said Myrtle Wilken, coach of the six cyclists, aged 17 to 21, who are from Sarawak, a Malaysian state on the island of Borneo.
Between 9 p.m. on Tuesday and 8:30 a.m. Wednesday, someone broke into a storage area at the facility, located near 68th Avenue and 88th Street, and stole the bikes, Edmonton police said in a news release.
Staff from the velodrome say a fence was cut, and a lock on a room of a trailer was broken off. The 10 bikes, which are specialized for track and road racing, were valued at about $45,000.
"So disappointed to hear of such a targeted theft, especially since it impacted guests not only of our club, but Edmonton and Canada," said Gail Wozny, a member of the Argyll Velodrome board of directors.
"We're going to have to step up and do more to secure our property."
The team does not have a training track back home, so for the past month they have been training in Edmonton for a September competition in Malaysia.
The stolen bikes include seven Giant Omnium track bikes (two medium, five small), a BT track bike, a Cipollini road bike and a Polygon carbon road bike, along with six bike bags and a helmet.
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The team's coach was shocked when she heard their brand new bikes had been stolen, but said the young cyclists have adapted to the situation rather well.
"We've used it as a lesson," said Wilken. "Used it to take the positive with the negative. Things aren't always going to go your way. It's how you react that's going to define you as a person."
It's not all bad news.
Juventus, an Edmonton local cycling club, has supplied the Malaysian cyclists with loaner bikes so they can continue to train and compete while they are here. Pedalhead Roadworks supplied them with pedals.
The team is very thankful for the local support, said Wilken.
"They've been so accommodating. We basically missed a day of training and then they got us onto loaner bikes."
She's hopeful the bikes — many of which aren't common — will be located and reported to police
The Sarawak team is hoping to make their training trip at the Argyll Velodrome an annual exchange program.
They were planning to race on Thursday night but the riders need time to adjust to their loaner bikes. They're expected to compete at the velodrome next Saturday.