A South Bay family is devastated Friday after their classic bicycles were stolen. They weren’t just any bikes, they were handmade, and they may have started a long, historic tradition that is still alive today.
Someone found one of the bikes on the internet, bought it, and returned it to the owner. It’s a family heirloom but may also be a piece of Chicano history.
“Look at when it turns,” said Danial Sandoval from Gilroy. “It’s all balanced.”
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The bikes were stolen from the Sandoval family home on the outskirts of Gilroy this week and though one ended up online and made its way back home, two others are still missing.
“It was like a piece of your history was ripped out of your chest,” said Sandoval.
They’re custom-made lowrider bikes, also known as choppers. Daniel’s dad was a welder, and he handcrafted these classics for his kids in the early 70s.
“It’s like getting a lamborghini when you were a kid because no one else had them,” said Sandoval.
It’s believed they were among the first lowrider bikes ever seen. Now Sandoval is hoping someone can help him get them back.
“I need the other ones. I need the other ones bad. These are for my grandkids. People have offered me money. I can't sell them,” he said.
Lowriding has been a generational tradition for the Sandoval’s. They rode the bikes at Cinco de Mayo parades and car shows back in the 70s, even appearing in Lowrider Magazine.
The sheriff’s office is investigating and the family is hoping residents keep their eyes open too. Because for this family, this isn't just stolen property.
“I know it sounds crazy but this is emotional for me because we came from nowhere, but my dad managed,” Sandoval said.
A man who left a mark on Chicano history simply by making sure his children had bikes to ride.