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Canadian Urbanism Uncovered

The Bicycle Thief

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In light of the recent coverage of bike thefts such as police bike baiting on Spadina and the arrest of The Bicycle Clinic’s Igor Kenk, I remembered a movie I saw a few months ago. “The Bicycle Thief” or “Ladri di biciclette” was made in 1948 and tells the story of a poor young father who gets a job cycling around Rome and putting up posters. His bike is stolen on his first day of work and he spends the rest of the movie trying to track down the bike and its thief. I cried. I won’t give away much more of the movie, but you will cry too.

The scenes shows off some of post-war Rome, including it’s streetcars and markets. The father, his son, and a group of friends search the market for his stolen bike. The video is a little blurry, but it’s an interesting look at bike theft in Italy sixty years ago.



  1. After watching this classic, one might want to look for Maurizio Nichetti’s parody “The Icicle Theif or “Ladri di Saponette” in which T.V. commercials invade and cause chaos on a television broadcast of a similar film.

  2. ‘Beijing Bicycle’ has a similar theme, though different peer group.

  3. Igor Kenk is a fucking bastard. I hope that he ceases to exist, soon.

  4. as many media outlets have taken pains to mention, igor’s store is (unofficially) called “the bicycle clinic”, not “the bike clinic”, which is on harbord and is unaffiliated with him.

  5. The part in the movie where the son realizes his father has been caught stealing by a mob really sucked my soul into a hole in the floor!
    Nice blog

  6. Heavily influenced by chaplin, de sica really had a way of capturing the desperation of postwar urban life in italy. It’s rarely shown but if anyone has a chance they should catch his Miracle in Milan, about have-nots who have made their home on the fringes of the city dump.