Former racer has long-lost bike returned, restored in Duncan

Gay Wise finds it hard to believe she has been reunited with her long-lost racing bike that was stolen in Vancouver nearly 30 years ago. It’s an unlikely story, but true, though.

She is also grateful to Will Arnold, owner of Duncan’s Experience Cycling, for taking on the job of restoring it.

Wise, the past president of the South Cowichan Rotary Club and a member of the now-defunct BC Masters Cycling Association, was an international cyclist who won a number of competitions over the years.

She and her husband Tony Hoar, who died in 2019, had a custom bike building company in Vancouver decades ago, and she designed a bike specifically for her size and race size.


“I won a lot of races and had it for about 10 years,” Wise said.

“So one day I was going to a meeting in Vancouver and I parked in a hotel parking lot and left my bike locked in the back seat. When I got out of the meeting, a window in my car was smashed and my bike was gone. That’s the last time I saw him for a long time.”

Wise said about three years ago, after she moved to the Cowichan Valley, she got a call from one of her former employees from the bike shop who said she found the bike in an alley in town.

“It had no wheels, handles, pedals or seat, and what was left was mostly the frame,” he said.

“But my former employee recognized the painting work, which I did myself, and then he contacted the person who built his frame and kept all his records of the work he did, and he confirmed that it was my bike. It certainly looked like he had lived a hard life on the mean streets of Vancouver.”


Wise said her employee picked up the boat and brought the bike to her more than a year ago and took it to Arnold to see if she could resurrect it.

“I’ve known Will for years through cycling and he’s always been good to me, so I took him on as a project,” he said.

“I paid for all the parts and Will never paid me for all the work he did to restore it. I really appreciate Will for that, and everything he’s done for me over the years.”

Arnold said he looked around and found a similar bike from the same era and vintage as Wise’s bike that he could use for parts.

“It worked really well and even the color matched,” he said.

“Gay should be in the Cycling Hall of Fame for everything she has done and given to cycling, and I was more than honored to donate my time to restore her bike. The fact that she continues to ride at His age (84) is just incredible.”

Wise said his competitive days are over, but he intends to ride his bike for fun and exercise.

“I’m just happy to finally be back,” he said.

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