A Google maps screenshot of the area. The red arrow indicates where Tsable Lake is.

Man forced to trek 23 kilometres out of B.C. backcountry after bike stolen

Ross Hunt’s $1,000 bike was stolen on June 20

A Vancouver Island man had to walk more than 20 kilometres back to town after his mountain bike was stolen near Tsable Lake last week.

Royston resident Ross Hunt, 63, said his modified Cogburn CB4 fat bike was stolen while he was bikepacking in the Comox Valley backcountry on June 20.

“Usually out in the bush, nobody steals anything,” he said. “Everybody’s honest. Hardly anyone has things stolen from the bush, 23 kilometres from town.”

Hunt said his helmet, pump, and biking shoes were also taken. He believes the cost to replace all the stolen goods is estimated at $4,000.

The Royston resident said he got into bikepacking (combining mountain biking with camping) after learning about the sport at a Comox Valley Cycling Coalition AGM. After trying it out a few times, he bought a secondhand Cogburn CB4 for $1,000 and modified it to better suit his needs. He likened the trip to Tsable Lake as his new bike’s “maiden voyage.”

Having not seen any traffic on his ride out to the lake, and few tracks, Hunt was confident that it would be okay to simply stash the bike out of sight while he set up camp. A gully leading down towards his camping site meant it would have been difficult to bring the bike with him.

“I didn’t lock the bike. I took my bags off for camping and went down the hill to camp. The next morning, I came back up… and the bike was gone,” said Hunt.

“I was confused. I thought I must have put it somewhere else, but I distinctly remembered where I put it.”

With his bike stolen and no cell reception in the area, Hunt had to walk 23 kilometres to return to Cumberland, the nearest village. He said he didn’t get cell service until he’d already walked halfway.

“There was cell service the night before but in the morning I couldn’t get any service,” he said.

Though he never felt in danger, Hunt said he only had $4 crocs for footwear. He said it made the hike out of the woods difficult, as he had to modify his walking style.

A bad knee also complicated matters.

“I can cycle but hiking was always a bit of a problem for me. But I was in survival mode and had to walk back,” said Hunt.

After a little while the pain went away in my knee and it was okay. Then the pain came back and then it went away. I just kept walking and walking and walking.”

Hunt said he walked for about six hours in total, and that the soreness in his legs and back lasted for four days.

“I thought I might be in extreme pain because of my knee but I knew I’d make it,” he said.

Since his return to civilization, Hunt and his wife have filed a police report with the Comox Valley RCMP and have contacted local pawn shops to inquire about his missing bike.

It has a carbon fork, Jones bar, and a green camo paint job.

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