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So Mayor Ralph Becker agrees to launch April's Utah Bike Summit with a rallying cry to make Salt Lake City more bicycle friendly.

Across the street, someone uses a bolt cutter during the speech to swipe Becker's run-down, but beloved commuter bike.

Now, five months after the brazen theft — which spun national headlines, probably for the irony — the mayor has a new two-wheeler.

Instead of something fancy, Becker dropped by the Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective, 2312 S. West Temple, on Wednesday to buy a rebuilt mountain bike to ride to work.

"I'm ready to ride. You got a bike fixed up?" Becker says as a volunteer mechanic greases up a black, 21-gear Trek , complete with road slicks. "Cool, I've got a rack, water bottle, brakes."

For Becker, the choice was less about beauty than basics. Besides, the choice is an upgrade from his old 15-gear Fila, says Jonathan Morrison, executive director of the collective.

"Fila is a clothes brand, they don't make bikes," Morrison laughs. "But he's not concerned about name brands, just something functional."

"It's perfect," Becker grins, while strapping on a white helmet. "This one's a good beater — but it's in excellent shape."

When word rolled out about the April heist, City Hall was inundated with interest from CNN, NBC, NPR and more.

"I was getting calls from all over the country," remembers mayoral spokeswoman Lisa Harrison Smith. "He was totally bummed. He didn't want to talk about it. But we got national coverage."

All summer, Smith notes, people have been desperate to know whether Becker ever found his bike. Shops offered freebies, and residents offered loners. "We got one message from a kid who was 8. He said, 'You can borrow my bike.'"

In the interim, the mayor has taken TRAX to work or, on occasion, his more valuable mountain bike. "He does bring it into the office now," Smith smiles.

For the new one, Becker will use a better lock.

Prices on the used models average about $70, Morrison says. Becker paid $200, basically as a donation.

Cruising down West Temple toward City Hall, there was a quick stop to adjust the seat, a couple of clunky gear shifts, then the mayor was off.

For Becker, it was just like riding a beater.

Collective repairs, sells bikes for charity

The nonprofit Salt Lake City Bicycle Collective takes used bikes in all conditions, refurbishes them, and then sells them at a cut rate or donates them to charities and shelters such as The Road Home. Since spring, 350 bicycles were registered and 200 were given to charities. Volunteers work in the shop — at 2312 S. West Temple — which sells road bikes, mountain bikes and cruisers for prices ranging from $40 to $250. "The goal is just to get people riding," says Jonathan Morrison, executive director of the collective. "If people are not using their bikes, they know this is a good home for them. And it doesn't matter what condition they're in." Besides doing rebuilds, the collective offers a mountain bike program for kids as well as "Earn-a-Bike." Under the latter, kids tear apart used bikes, learn how to put them back together, and then get to take them home for free.

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