Give the Igor Kenk Bikes Away

BikeChad wrote me with a good idea. He thinks the Toronto Police should give the 2500 unclaimed backs back to Torontonians. Specifically, to the less fortunate.

Here's his plan in his words:


I've been trying to work through an idea in my head for a while ... getting bikes into the hands of those who need them most. After last weeks announcement of Toronto Police finding all those stolen bikes ... I think I may have thought of a starting point. What if we just gave the bikes away? Conventional practice is for Police to auction the bikes as "proceeds of crime" but I think 2500 more bikes on the road could be good for the city and it citizens.

I'm aware of a British initiative in which a small town in the midlands gave all residence in their public housing complexes bicycles. Obviously Toronto has more than 2500 people living in subsidizing housing - but perhaps an offer to those folks first would work. I'm wondering what your thoughts are on the idea ... you have a lot more experience and far more ties to the cycling advocacy community.

The Bike Union forwarded my message on to the Toronto Police Service and got the following response:
We have also received messages like the one below. Unfortunately our legal advice says the Police Services Act precludes us from doing that.

Mark Pugash
Director of Public Information
Toronto Police Service
416 808 7088

I'm wondering if this idea can get some traction in the media and the community we may be able to influence what ultimately happens to these bikes.

I like it.

More on Igor Kenk:

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Comments (9 - click here to join in!)

Chad Nuttall

Thanks for the post. I appreciate it!

Let's hope this gains some traction.


August 8, 2008 @ 5:58 PM


..Its a good idea and surely one that would do a lot of people a lot of good..

I would like to also suggest however that as an alternative to that idea..

I've heard of some city's that have like.. rental bikes or loanable bikes at stations cleverly placed through out the city..

wouldn't a fleet of 2000 + bikes really get that sorta project off the ground here ?

and in the end,
it could help out a lot more then just 2000 people.

either idea would be a great one to follow and i hope at least one is..

if the bikes are never to be claimed by there original owners they should be put to -some- sort of use instead of going to a scrap heap or something.

August 8, 2008 @ 7:03 PM


Isn't the purpose of an auction to allocate resources to where their most valued?

August 8, 2008 @ 9:28 PM


Not a bad idea at all. My dad still works for the TPS, wonder if he's got any sway...

August 8, 2008 @ 11:53 PM

Jason |

james, umm, toronto already has a bike hare program. all the bikes are yellow.. and say bike share on them.. hmm.. maybe you're not from toronto, i dunno.. hard to miss those yellow bikes..

they should go to the toronto bike share program or to familes that can't afford bikes.. or anyone that can prove they've had a bike stolen.. i.e. filed a report..

August 9, 2008 @ 1:18 AM

Toronto Mike

Here's what I like about this idea. Igor Kenk violated this entire city. We need to heal, and giving away the bikes presents some sort of closure. It eases the pain.

Tee is right, but he's missing the symbolism of the act. Toronto needs this.

August 9, 2008 @ 8:26 AM

The Mind of a Mom

Why not a bikes for guns program?
It has to be enticing to some of the younger ones our there that know how to get their hands on a gun. They turn in the guns and get a bike.

August 10, 2008 @ 3:12 PM


I donno. I've heard of people working on used bikes to give away only to find that the recipients would badly neglect the bikes. Programs around the world have found that free often means not valued. Charging even a small price (say $10 for a bike) changes the equation considerably. Earn a bike programs on the other hand I think are very successful. Also, bikes need maintenance - tires go flat and chains get rusty. A free bike that has one of these problems will quickly be abandoned.

August 22, 2008 @ 9:00 AM


Tee (from an economic perspective) and Dave (practical explanation) are right on. Do not give away the bikes for free. Auctioning them off and making sure they fetch a fair value will do much more to guarantee that they will be used.

August 22, 2008 @ 8:04 PM

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