By Barb Young —
The mystery of the missing bicycles has been solved and the answer is more than unsettling. Over the past 140 years of UW-Stout’s existence therobbery of bicycles has plagued the school.
“I’ve had four bikes since I’ve been on campus!” said Ralph Laurens, sophomore at UW-Stout. “They always go missing, no matter how many chains and locks I put on them.”
It was previously assumed this was the result of moronic drunk college students with no respect for other’s belongings, but a recent study completed by UW–Stout graduate students has shown that is not the case.
“We’ve been conducting this study since the beginning of the year,” said Patricia Lain of the DCHS major. “Each of us took turns staking out the bike racks to see if anyone would take the bikes. But no one ever did.”
The DCHS researchers were puzzled by the lack of results from 3 months of stake out efforts, so they turned their focus to the history of the school. It was there they found their answers.
“Stout has a pretty interesting history, if you know where to look,” said senior Patrick Lain. “We found the history we were looking for in the archives. In 1986 there was a small contributed article from freshman Jerry Willy. Further back, in 1973 there was a contributed photo from an anonymous, and even earlier in 1920 a faculty member wrote a warning to the student body.
“Every article we found said they’d done something like what we’d been doing,” said Patricia. “And every one said the bikes just vanished.”
Upon inspecting police records and bike sales in Menomonie the team deducted that the rate of bike theft has remained constant for the last 50 years.
“It’s strange for thefts to be unaffected by weather and such,” said Patrick.
This is what lead the team to conclude with a strange result. The bicycles were disappearing.
“We started doing new kinds of research,” said Patrick. “Instead of watching the bike racks we’d count the bikes. At night, before the sun set and in the morning. We focused on weekends and the results were astounding.”
Each weekend the number of bikes were down in the range of two to five campus wide.
The research team has not discovered where the bikes go. According to the team, nothing seems to keep the bikes safe, though a chain has been shown to increase the likelihood of the bicycle’s longevity.
The researchers are accepting tips on the matter. It is unlikely that the phenomenon is preventable, but understanding may help future generations of bike riders. Any tips or questions should be aimed at the program director of DCHS.