An “expensive joke” has turned into an expensive disappointment for Joe and Sheila Tigert and Wichita City Council member Pete Meitzner and his wife, Suzi.
Joe Tigert gave a four-wheeled bike to his wife for her 40th birthday eight years ago. Sheila Tigert calls the bike “Surrey, old girl.”
The Tigerts share the bike with the Meitzners, and the four of them have taken Surrey in parades and on the campaign trail.
Sheila Tigert says Surrey is “very, very noticeable” as they ride around town.
“We call it a very expensive joke.”
They enjoyed riding Surrey to the chili cook-off in Old Town on Saturday and then to the Rat Pack show at the Orpheum.
“We took the new bike lane home back to Mort’s,” Meitzner says.
Not that he considers Mort’s home, Meitzner clarifies. That’s just where they parked their vehicles.
Instead of packing Surrey for storage, they decided to lock the bike to a pole outside of the bar and return for it in the morning.
“We just had our coffee and were driving downtown,” Meitzner says of the next day. He and his wife came “around the corner and went, ‘Holy crap. It’s not there.’”
They guess Surrey was taken sometime between 2 a.m. and 8 a.m.
“We’re just shocked,” Meitzner says.
They filed a police report for the bike, which Sheila Tigert says is worth about $5,000.
“It’s almost comical,” Meitzner says of someone stealing Surrey, especially if they were hoping for a joy ride.
“After you get about six or seven blocks, you’re like, holy cow,” Meitzner says.
He says the bike is extremely heavy.
“You can’t go very fast on it,” he says. “It’s a novelty. People like to look at it. Everybody has an OMG moment when they come up to it.”
There’s an unspecified monetary reward for the bike’s return.
Meitzner says he and Sheila Tigert are comparing Surrey’s disappearance to the missing Chapa, the beaver who escaped from the Kansas Wildlife Exhibit at Central Riverside Park for about a week in April before wandering home.
“We’re hoping that Surrey is going to have the same ending as Chapa the beaver had.”