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Igor, the world's most famous bike thief
31.08.08 by Buffalo Bill

Spotted by MT forum members:

BBC News reports…
Canadian ‘bicycle thief’ arrested
Canadian police have arrested a man they accuse of stealing a record number of bicycles in Toronto. Igor Kenk, the owner of a bicycle store, was held last month after a spike in bike theft. Police say he had about 3,000 bikes in his possession.

Now is the age of the bike punk. Fakenger is last year’s label. Hipsters don’t do pedalo races, and ride bikes into the Serpentine. Art school types don’t attempt skids and fail spectacularly – that wouldn’t be cool, now would it? No, messenger culture has crossed over and the bike punk has been born – or reborn, or still-born or whatever you want to call it – but bicycle counter-culture has snuck up and happened. And Toronto’s bicycle scene has contributed more than most cities to that culture.

So it is with some sadness that I note that of all the Toronto bike freaks, Igor is the one to have achieved global notoriety. I read the story in the Observer and Indy this morning and I am sure most of you have heard something about it too.

When I first visited TO in 1994, he was already well-known to the messenger community there as the man to go to if your bike had been nicked. And not because he was a private detective specialising in the location and seizure of stolen bicycles… According to the reports I have read, his shop was apparently providing employment to people that would otherwise be considered unemployable. I am all for the rehabilitation of criminals, and providing people on the fringes of mainstream society with meaningful employment, but paying them to steal bicycles is not really what most people have in mind.

It’s a shame, because there are some very notable TO bicycle freaks: Derek Chadbourne, who coined the memorable slogan a bullet for every driver, edited Hideous White Noise, was honoured with the Marcus Cook Award, and now runs a community bicycle repair shop; Jon Consolatti, designer of the Human Powered Rollercoaster ; the Toronto messengers who originated the concept of the Alleycat ; Joe Hendry, another MCA recipient, curator of MessMedia, are just some of the names that spring to my mind. There are hundreds of others who have enriched modern bicycle culture, far too many to list here. So I just want to record here that Igor, who is obviously suffering from some sort psychosis (2500+ bicycles? Come on, that is sickness), is not representative of Toronto and its cyclists.

A bit more on what the TO bicycle community is calling the ‘Igor Kenk saga’ here.

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