By Pat Loeb

PHILADELPHIA (CBS) – Did you leave your bike in Philadelphia? If so, a local artist would like to hear your story.

Raphael Xavier was acting part photographer, part sleuth when he started going out at night to take pictures of the skeletal frames of stripped and forsaken bicycles on Philadelphia streets.

(13th Spruce© Credit:  Raphael Xavier)

(13th Spruce© Credit: Raphael Xavier)

“I started with the idea of catching someone stealing. It became an obsession. And then I wanted to ask them, “What are you doing? Why would you just take a piece of a bicycle and then move on?”

Xavier never did catch a thief but he has captured some enchanting images of this peculiarly urban detritus, ”I shoot them at night and they have this glow and color about them that you can’t see in the daytime.”

Xavier has some 400 pictures of frames, wheels, and always the ineffectual lock that straps the remnants in place. As he prepares to show them at the Painted Bride, March 21st and 22nd, he’s found himself wondering about the bikes’ former owners and hoping anyone who’s left one behind will get in touch and share their story.

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