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AirTag assists in rescue of bicycle after airline lost it

A cyclist who wanted to ride around Europe discovered their bicycle didn't arrive at the destination, but they were able to keep track of their ride using Apple's AirTag.

Barry Sherry of Virginia traveled to Europe for what was intended to be the last transatlantic "epic bike trip," taking his bicycle for a three-week tour of the continent. He intended to spend time riding in the Swiss Alps, then with a cycling group in Luxembourg, followed by a third week in Finland.

Sadly, despite making it across the ocean, his bicycle didn't make it all the way. While Sherry had gone from Washington DC to London and then to Zurich without issue, complete with his remaining luggage, his bicycle was stuck in the UK.

Undeterred, Sherry was able to show to the agent in the luggage area where the bike was, because he had placed an AirTag in the bag, reports CNN. The airline employee was surprised as it was the first time that someone had shown her the real-time location of lost luggage.

Despite knowing exactly where the bike was, the employee couldn't make a note of the location, but reassured the cyclist that most lost luggage was returned within 24 hours.

A few days later, Sherry still hadn't been reunited, but he had to change his plans while he stayed in Switzerland. Since he couldn't ride the mountainous roads with a friend, all he could do was wait for his bike.

The bike has extra meaning to Sherry, beyond its replacement value above $8,000. "Fourteen years ago I was diagnosed with cancer," he told the report, "and the only time I wasn't thinking about it was when I was riding my bike."

After failing to see the bike move from Heathrow, and repeatedly tweeting British Airways daily with the mapped location of the bicycle, he got frustrated. On the fourth day, he tagged American Airlines and Heathrow, but while he doesn't know if that triggered something, he did see the location update on Friday.

After an update from British Airways that it was being delivered to him, the bike eventually flew to Zurich and then to a hotel in Luxembourg that he had moved to while waiting for a response.

Despite missing out on riding in Switzerland, Sherry was still able to ride with previous Tour de France cyclists and friends as previously arranged.

Sherry believes that using the AirTag was assistive as "It helped being able to see every few hours that it was last seen a few minutes ago." and that the tweets helped get it moving. Had he not done that, he believes he may have continued waiting, "although I'd probably have face time with real people in DC to recover it."

AirTag has become especially helpful to travelers who discover their bags are misplaced in the global transit system. It has also been used to embarrass airlines, with the tracker used to discover lost luggage graveyards around the world, and highlighted how missing bags are sometimes turned into donations.