For the second time in two weeks, a cyclist on a cross-Canada trip has had their bicycle stolen in Winnipeg.

Early Saturday morning as Bobby Aucoin prepared to embark on the next leg of an epic five-week journey, the 36 year old discovered that their $3,500 Cervelo triathlon bicycle was stolen from the third-storey balcony of the apartment where they had been staying in the city.

“It’s probably the number one material thing in this world that I am actually attached to,” Aucoin, who is cycling more than 4,000 kilometres from Ottawa to Vancouver to raise awareness about climate change, told CTV Winnipeg.

“Cycling is what I do.”

Aucoin’s bicycle was not locked at the time of the theft. Aucoin has since filed a police report and says that it would be difficult to replace it.

The theft comes less than two weeks after Estonian tourist Risto Prii had his $500 bicycle stolen from a Winnipeg garage on Canada Day. In an outpouring of support, Winnipeggers raised money for Prii online. He only continued his trip east after a stranger from Ontario purchased him a new set of wheels.

“It’s a really sad story but with a really happy ending,” said Prii, who plans to meet and thank the bicycle buyer.

Bike Winnipeg, a not-for-profit bicycle advocacy group, says roughly 1,300 bicycles were stolen in the city in 2017 alone.

The group believes that the growing problem of bicycle theft in Winnipeg is due to a rise in addiction.

Mark Cohoe, the group’s executive director, says that people with addictions often sell stolen bicycles on the streets for a fraction of their real value. Organized bike thieves, he added, are also a major concern and are known to ship stolen bicycles out of the city and even out of the country.

“Bikes are something which is sort of a pretty instant currency that people can move quickly,” he said.

Cohoe also offered some simple advice to cyclists to secure their rides.

“It’s important to be careful to make sure when you are parking your bike, you’re locking it with a U-lock, making sure that you’re locking to something solid that’s in a visible spot,” he explained

Aucoin is trying to stay positive and hopes that the bike will be found so the trip can be completed.

“In this moment (in) my life, it is what is allowing me to do what I am super passionate about doing and that I believe in,” Aucoin said. “And now I’m stuck.”

With a report from CTV Winnipeg’s Beth Macdonell