The online search for Gab Fuentes’ stolen Nishiki road bike all started with his cycling friends Meet & Ride. After gathering his thoughts minutes subsequent to learning that his bicycle had been taken, the cyclist sent details of his bicycle over their Instagram group chat to activate an internet hunt of his beloved vehicle.
“Sinend ko lang ‘yung picture ng bike ko sa Meet & Ride tapos sabi ko paki-post na stolen bike tapos kung ano itsura niya, color, anong brand tsaka kung saan huling nakita,” Gab recalled. “Sabi ko paki-post na lang sa lahat ng social media pero ako mismo hindi muna nagpo-post. Eh hindi ko rin tinitingnan kung sino ang nagcha-chat. Sila na ‘yung nagpakalat.”
“Parang ‘yung mga nasa Meet & Ride, gumawa pa ng isang group chat para lang doon na ang tawag ‘Task Force Recover’ ng bike ko, tapos gumawa pala sila ng uniform na poster tapos doon na dumami ‘yung shares.”
Gab’s Nishiki was stolen outside a convenience store in Mandaluyong when he was buying water. A man, who was later identified by barangay officials as “Che-Che,” took the bike by literally walking away while letting the bicycle roll beside him.
The first thing that Gab did upon seeing that his bike was missing was to walk around the vicinity to check if the thief was still nearby. He thought that the robber would probably still be in the area because he had disarranged the chains of his Nishiki so no one could easily ride it. Then he called a friend, his family and asked his cycling group to post announcements online.
Meet & Ride quickly responded to Gab’s call and posted the details on Instagram. They even made a poster so the search can easily be spread on social media. From the photo-sharing app, the hunt for the Nishiki reached Facebook and Twitter — all while police reports and coordination with authorities were being arranged.
GP Pantig, one of the members of Meet & Ride, posted the poster, pictures and details of Gab’s Nishiki on Facebook. It was shared by people on their profiles and to different cycling groups on the FB, all while the word is quickly spreading on Instagram and Twitter.
“’Yung peak pa lang na ang daming nagse-share ng post on social media, biglang may nag-message sa akin na nasa kanila ‘yung bike, na nabili nila,” Gab recalled. The bicycle was stolen at 6:40pm and someone reached out to the cyclist after nearly three hours.
“Sobrang laking tulong ng community. Pati ‘yung mga hindi ko kakilala nag-share tapos apparently, nakita ng mga nakakuha na nabenta na pala sa kanila tapos nag-reach out din sa akin. Sobrang rare na nangyayari pero possible siya,” Gab added. “Kasi kung dati nangyari sa akin ito na hindi ko alam na may cycling community, most likely mawawalan na ako ng pag-asa na mahanap ‘yung bike. Kasi ito sobrang ramdam ko yung tulong.”
The post managed to reach a Facebook group of cyclists in Mandaluyong, an account where Gab is not a member. Apparently, Che-che was able to quickly sell the Nishiki through a middle man and it landed in the hands of a young cyclist named Raymark who saw GP’s post.
It was sold for 3,500 pesos only. It was fortunate that Raymark was kind enough to reach out to Gab and return the Nishiki. They were not able to find Che-che though. It appears, according to the barangay officials, that the thief was a notorious robber who recently got out of jail.
“Sobrang amazing ‘yung community kasi in the first place, naramdaman ko na ‘yung community sa Luto ni Gab pa lang pero mas naramdaman ko ‘yung tulong nila sa pag-retrieve. Sobrang ramdam ko ‘yung love ng community,” Gab said.
“Luto ni Gab” is the small business of Gab where he cooks and sells different kinds of food. It’s known for its Cubanos, a favorite of cyclists.