07-20 Day 11 (Bike stolen in Amsterdam)

Can you believe this shit?

At about 6:00 AM, I walked into the lobby of the hotel, thinking that I’d get a cup of coffee and check on the bike. I walked outside the front door of the hotel, and looked at the empty parking space, which had my bike parked in it just 11 hours before.

The bike was missing, and while I remained calm, I became agitated that the Front Desk of the hotel was not treating the problem with urgency. That said, they did call the police, and I was told to walk 2 blocks to the police station, and talk to them.

I visited the 1st Police station, and then the 2nd, at which point I was told to work with an officer, who would take my statement. I provided the officer all of the details, and then he told me that the investigating team would likely take 1-3 days to get back to me, but that kind of a delay would kill me and my plans, so I begged them to do something.

It did not look like there would be much, if anything they could do, so I accepted the fact that my bike was now lost, and I started thinking about how I would finish the tour. I had several options, none of which were anywhere near perfect.

  1. Rent a car for the European portion, and then ride in the support vehicle for the remainder of the trip
  2. Fly back to the US, buy another bike, ride to Toronto, and start the process all over again. This seemed very unlikely, as all of my paperwork for the trip has already been submitted, and it was submitted and related to a different bike, so this seemed impossible.
  3. Buy a bike in Europe, and use it for the tour, selling it at the end.

In the end, all of these options had problems, and none were especially effective, or reasonably priced. So, while I was contemplating the problems, I got a call from the Police offers, who informed me that they found my bike. Apparently, the bike was “walked” down the block, and into an alley, where a cover was put over it, and it was staged for the next step in the theft operation.

I walked to inspect the bike, and it was virtually perfect. No damage, no problems. I started the bike and rode it to the hotel, and began packing, and getting ready to depart.

For sure, I’ve learned a number of lessons about securing my bike, and I won’t get caught off-guard again.

Now, let’s get back to our regularly scheduled program, already in progress…

About the Author

Cliff Musante

Cliff Musante is a technologist, business leader, motorcycle enthusiast, father, grandfather, and more. In June, 2013 his passion for motorcycles was revitalized, and he set out to ride across Patagonia. Since then, he's logged thousands of miles, ridden across the US, and on July 10, 2019, he began a 120 day trip through Europe, and then on to Russia, China, and parts East. This 'Blog is the story of all of his adventures.


  1. Wow, Cliff. That was scary. I raced down to the end of your post to see if you got it back, and you did, thank goodness. Then I went back up and read the rest of the post. I am so glad you got your bike back. Safe journey.

    1. Hey Judy,
      Yes, I can’t really believe it myself. Now, I need to work very hard to see to it that it’s not stolen a second time.

  2. Hi Cliff,
    Just read your post and really happy that you found your bike.
    You would have been totally devastated at the thought !!!
    I will write to you shortly and I am really sorry I did not write to you before; been on a roller coaster since I left South America.I also learned one more profession and I am now working permanently in NewZealand and loving it.
    Wishing you the best with your trip; ride safe Cliff.
    Cheers. Alain.

    1. Hey Alain,
      It’s great to hear from you. I’m glad that you’ve settled down, and have found something that you really love. Having you with us in Patagonia was the highlight of the trip, and as I’ve said before, if you’re ever in the US, please look me up, and take me up on some hospitality.

  3. My heart sank as I started reading your post. I am so glad you got it back and in good condition.

    1. Hey Don,
      I just posted another blog entry that talks about what happened, and what I learned. Hopefully, I’ve learned enough.

  4. Cliff, glad to see you got your bike back – I can imagine what was running through your head after a year of planning this trip. Some place are probably more prone for this. I remember I few years back I rented a car in Germany and the insurance would not cover me in any of the Eastern European Countries – I had to park the car in Dresden and take a train to Prague. Unfortunately, as a tourist with an expensive motorcycle you have a target on your back. Word of advice – Trust no one, but if they speak English – Trust them less.

  5. Scary s*&t. This must be a common problem for RTWers. They put the bike inside the hotel courtyard or even inside their room in many of the videos I’ve watched.

    1. Yes Bill,
      I think that the key to safety is putting the bike in the hotel lobby, and keeping a very good eye on it. Boy oh boy, what a shit storm.

    1. Thanks Lauren,
      I was at a very low point as I contemplated alternatives to my primary plan.

  6. So glad it was found without damage. That’s often what they will do here with high-end cars. Park them in a lot somewhere for a day or two to make sure there isn’t a LoJack or other GPS tracking system installed.

    My nephew lives and works in Amsterdam (for Uber of all things!). It’s generally considered a very safe city. He has a couple bikes, but ones that are designed for triathlons, so borrowing one wouldn’t really help.

    No lock or chain on the bike? That at least forces them to use a lift and not just roll it away.

    Safe travels from here on!

    1. Bill, I wish I could have spoken to your nephew beforehand, it seems like he could have imparted s bit of wisdom on me.

  7. Need to chain your bike around really big trees! Amazingly they found it, hopefully this proves to be a good omen for the rest of your trip!

  8. I can imagine the hot flushing sensation you must have felt when you saw it was gone, and probably an equally positive adrenaline rush, when you saw it really was your bike, and your trip was back on!

    Ride safe!

  9. What the….? So glad you got it back undamaged and so quickly! Looks like you’l be slleoing on your bike for the rest of the trip!

    Safe travels!


    1. Jim, I’m never going to need another hotel. I do plan on sleeping on the bike, every night forward.

    1. Clint, I was scared s#$tless. I’m about the luckiest guy in all of Amsterdam on Saturday morning.

  10. Cliff – Holy Sh!t! Glad you recovered your bike, and I guess you’ll have just simply “trust no one”. Drive safe! We’re looking forward to reading your blogs.


  11. Nice writing. You took me to a low that probably only scratched the surface of your emotions. And then a happy ending! Safe travels.

    1. Hey John,
      Yes, I tried to capture how devastated I was when I found it missing, but as I’ve always found in life, when you’re given lemons, you best start making lemonade quickly. So, as quickly as possible, I got the police involved, checked the hotel’s security camera, and also spoke to the pastry shop owner next door, who also shared his security camera footage with me. So, while I made some significant mistakes, the key is recover quickly, and move on.
      Thanks for the well wishes.

  12. So glad you found your bike! I was so worried for you when I read the title of this post. 🙁 At least the story has a happy ending.

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