Google may seem like a big faceless corporation that can afford to lose a few bikes, but the reality is that these basic rides are valuable tools for the employees who use them to make meetings and appointments across our far-flung campus. Our great facilities teams make them available for our use, and because of their trusting nature, a number are taken each year, as you can guess. It's incredibly frustrating to see these obvious Google bikes ridden around town by people who they don't belong to.
Tonight, a few blocks from home, I saw a young man (in his 20s, I assume), sitting next to one at a local business. I decided I'd see if I could get the bike back to where it belonged.
I approached him and he remained seated, wearing earbuds in his phone, as I asked him where he got the bike. He ignored me. I asked him again, and he took his earbuds out.
He mumbled, "on the street in Santa Clara."
I told him the bike was a Google bike and that I worked at Google. Could I take it? He didn't have a good answer.
I said, "can I take the bike?", and asked if the drink in the basket was his. It was. I gave him his drink. I took the bike.
Then I had the matter of taking the bike home. I popped the trunk and placed the bike in there, pinning the wheel so it wouldn't slip out in normal driving. Then with my trunk open and rear wheel loosely spinning, I drove home and the bike is now safe in my backyard. I'll return it after the holiday.
And yes, this may not have been the safest decision ever, but it was successful. Please don't steal our bikes. We'll give you free email if you choose not to.