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Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Polish Paralympian Rides on After Special Needs Bike Was Stolen

Posted By on Wed, Jun 13, 2012 at 7:59 AM

click to enlarge This is what his stolen cycle looks like - COURTESY OF SFPD
  • Courtesy of SFPD
  • This is what his stolen cycle looks like

Just when we thought the world was full of callous thieves, a Berkeley nonprofit helped us see the light.

The Chron brings us this uplifting story about the Bay Area Outreach and Recreation Program's generosity. The group was kind enough to loan Krzysztof Jarzebski a specialized, hand-cranked bicycle, after the double amputee's cycle was stolen in San Francisco last week.

That means the cancer survivor can continue his ride across the country, which he had planned to do for charity.

The nonprofit surprised Jarzebski on Saturday when it gave the Polish native his new set of wheels before he was taken to Reno to start the first stretch of his cross-country trek to New York.

Last week Jarzebski's $13,000, hand-cranked bike was taken from a Hayes Valley church where he had been staying during his stop in San Francisco. Police issued an alert to the public, but the bike has not yet been found.

As far as we knew this theft would bring his charity ride to a screeching halt. But the Berkeley nonprofit, which provides hand cycles to people with physical disabilities, loaned him a new, $5,000 bike.

Jarzebski, 53, lost his legs to cancer in 1991 after serving in an elite unit of the Polish Navy. He has ridden all around Europe on hand-cranked bicycles, the Chron reports.

"He was crying at a certain point," Greg Milano, the program's cycling manager, told the newspaper. "Communication was difficult" because of the language barrier, he added, but Jarzebski and his support team were "just super-stoked to get back on the road."

Anyone with any information on the whereabouts of the hand bicycle or regarding any suspects is asked to contact SFPD via the anonymous tip line, at 575-4444, or Text-a-Tip to TIP411. You can also contact Sgt. Victoria Sullivan of the Northern Station Investigations Team at 614-3465.

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About The Author

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert

Erin Sherbert has been Online News Editor for SF Weekly since 2010. She's a Texas native and has a closet full of cowboy boots to prove it.


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