Clown bemoans loss of bitty bike

Published April 1, 2007

NEW YORK - There was a $1,000 reward, a toll-free tip line and a news conference - all for a lost little bike.

The foot-high, 6-inch-wide contraption belongs to Bello Nock, the daredevil clown star of the Ringling Bros. and Barnum & Bailey Circus appearing at Madison Square Garden.

The bitty bike was taken from a Manhattan street Friday, while Bello, well, clowned around. He and two fellow clowns had put on an impromptu show for a passing camera crew, when Bello, 38, rested his bike against a street sign and forgetfully walked away.

"Can I please have my bike back?" he said a day after the disappearance, adding that he was "very upset."

The orange-haired, Florida-born clown said he can't replace his trademark bike, which was built in Mexico City and has been in his family of circus performers for a dozen years.

The bike, which is about as high as his foot is long, "is not something I can go buy in a store," he said. "I'd have to find someone willing and able to make it."