One summer night, I was happily fastening my bike to a street sign outside of my apartment. The very next morning, I was woefully examining a pitiful crime scene. It was a sickening sight: a broken brick, some weeds, a hair clip and possibly a severed arm – maybe I’d imagined things, since I was delirious with indignation. I had to face a cold, hard reality; my entire bike, wheels and all, had been stolen.
For a few hours, I went bike-less. I made a hasty decision to buy a bike that very same day – I could not go on without one. As I walked, (yes, I had to walk) to the bike store, I looked into everyone’s eyes with a cold, hard stare. Who had done this? Was it you Mr. Fancy Businessman? Was it you little old lady with the walker? I would find him or her and they would pay.
I visited Breakaway Bikes on 311 Market St., expecting to find exorbitantly priced, shiny new bikes along with hazardous, rusty pieces of metal they call “used” bikes. I was just begging to contract Tetanus.
But much to my surprise, I found a decent maroon road bike. The 1984 Kent could not compare to my old bike’s superiority. But I figured, since it came into the world the same year as me, it must be pretty cool. Now I needed a good lock to accompany my new bike. My stolen bike had a coiled lock on it, so don’t ever buy a coiled combination lock and expect to wake up one day with your bike tied securely to a pole. When searching for a good lock, don’t be afraid to get the toughest, most expensive one you find.
Go for the one that has hypodermic needles infected with Ebola attached to it. Or get one with a rabid, bloodthirsty bulldog at the end. Perhaps you can find a lock with Rick Santorum’s picture glued to it. I ended up purchasing a Kryptonite Kryptolok for $50. It was a tad expensive, but it came with an anti-theft protection offer. Kryptonite will refund the money I spent on my bike if the lock somehow fails. Take that Superman.
Even though I was able to replace what had been stolen, nothing could ever replace the deep affection I had for my old bike. My 80s Bridgestone was perfect in nearly every way. If you see a girl’s, 26-inch, purplish Bridgestone bicycle on the side of a milk carton, please contact me.
The thief could’ve at least left a note explaining why they stole it. Something like “Dear unfortunate victim of theft, we stole your bike so it could be sold for crack money, sorry. Love, your neighborhood criminals.” Perhaps then I would understand.
To think that someone might have mistreated my old bike makes me sick. What if they busted its tires or broke its chain? What if they removed its perfectly engineered parts? Just horrifying. I didn’t see any bike blood, er, I mean bike grease anywhere … but I’m sure the thief made certain to clear any evidence, except for the broken brick.
Fellow bikers, remember to always lock up your bike securely and at the end of the night, bring your bike into your apartment, dorm room, dumpster home, etc. There’s nothing as traumatizing as getting your bike stolen.
Ellen Minsavage can be reached at firstname.lastname@example.org.