MILL CREEK — A police officer here spotted a stolen bicycle and made sure it was returned to a couple who is traveling across the country.
Ching Fu, 33, and her partner, Jerud Crandall, 36, outfitted a truck and fifth-wheel to fit their green lifestyle and have been on the road since March. But the Asheville, North Carolina, couple ran into trouble last month when Fu’s touring bike, with an attached dog trailer, was stolen from the parking lot of the recently closed Mill Creek Safeway.
Officer Todd Bridgman took the report about the theft and had been looking for the bike online.
The couple depends on their bikes for local transportation. They are traveling in a silver fifth wheel they outfitted to be more sustainable with solar panels, electric appliances and even an waterless composting toilet. They converted a rusty red and tan 1991 Ford F250 to run on waste vegetable oil.
To save on oil, they ride their bikes when they can. Tybee, their 12-year-old Labrador-rottweiler mix, has arthritis and rides in the dog trailer behind Fu’s bike. Tyki, a 2-year-old blue heeler mix, is able to run alongside the couple as they ride.
Last week, Bridgman spotted the bike next to a homeless man near the I-5 off-ramp at 128th St. He called an on-duty officer who was able to confiscate the bike and return it to the couple.
“It was a happy ending for a change,” Bridgman said, noting most stolen items aren’t found.
Although the bike was stripped of its parts except for the frame and pedals, Fu appreciates Bridgman’s diligence in finding it.
“I’m ecstatic to have it back,” she said. “We’re really impressed and happy.”
The couple plans to camp in Mill Creek for a couple of more weeks while they outfit a new truck to run off waste vegetable oil. They blog about their off-grid adventures at livesmallridefree.com.