Nationally ranked competitor says she wasn’t allowed to keep her ‘top of the line’ BMX bikes in her dorm—and now she might miss out on world championship

Lizzy Bowers, in yellow, competes in a BMX race.

Lizzy Bowers, in yellow, competes in a BMX race.

Photo courtesy of Ryan Polli

This story has been expanded from its print version.

Thieves broke into the car of local BMX competitor Lizzy Bowers and made off with three of her racing bikes. Now, the UC Davis freshman may miss a key race next month.

The 19-year-old athlete walked out of her campus apartment Jan. 19 to find her car windows smashed in, doors open and bikes stolen just weeks before one of the biggest races of the year. As the fifth-ranked rider in her age group nationwide, Bowers was poised to take part in a world championship qualifier in Phoenix during Valentine’s Day weekend. Without her tailor-made bikes, she might not compete at all, thus missing the chance to qualify for the world BMX championship.

A GoFundMe page set up by a friend in her home state of Washington set a $6,000 goal to cover costs of the snatched two-wheelers, but any donations will likely be too late to salvage this year’s BMX season.

“It’s kind of like if your race car or special baseball glove got stolen,” Bowers explained. “My bikes are top of the line. It took years to build up my bikes. I’ve had the same seat since I started racing. I can’t just get another one into racing shape overnight.”

While some campus apartment complexes allow students to store their bicycles in their rooms, Bowers said her resident assistant told her she couldn’t keep them inside. “I didn’t want to just keep them locked up outside,” Bowers said. “I thought they’d stay safe hidden in my car.”

The theft comes just months after UC Davis’ police chief was pressed to address a series of campus burglaries and armed robberies. UC Davis spokesman Andy Fell said that while bike thefts are common on the cycling-friendly campus, the greater Davis area remains relatively safe. Fell added that the university offers rental bike lockers for students looking to ensure their vehicle’s safety.

“While Davis (including UC Davis) is generally a low-crime community, crimes can happen anywhere and we do encourage people to take simple precautions to safeguard their property,” Fell wrote in an email to SN&R.