There are many things I wonder about my life. Like what would have happened if my family hadn’t moved back to Florida in 1994? Where would I be now if I had studied something different in college? What would have happened if I had not moved back to California in 2002? What would have happened if I had gone into work earlier on September 4, 2008 (and hence not been in a car accident that ended the life of my car)? Where would I be now if these things hadn’t happened, if I hadn’t made the decisions that I made, and been at certain places at certain times?
When my car was totaled, I took some small bit of pleasure in that now it was final. I would never have to fix the motors on the two windows that had blown out. I would never have to get another oil change again. (Although I was never that good at car maintenance; in fact, I can probably count on one hand how many oil changes my poor little Hyandai had in its 8 year life.) I would never have to worry about the radiator blowing up again. This was a good thing, right?
Of course, I took a huge portion of grief in that I had just replaced the radiator, and the car was now driving with very little complaint. I took a little more pleasure in knowing I would never have to clean it out and take all the trash out of it, since I practically LIVED in the thing. All in all, I tried to look at this setback as an opportunity.
So what I’m wondering today is if our bicycle thief is dead yet.
That sounds harsh. I know.
So, when my bike was stolen, I also said I wanted to look at this situation (me truly being without ANY wheels) as an opportunity, not a setback. So I thought about the things I wouldn’t have to do like fix the gears on my bike.
Let me back up a little bit.
When I purchased my long lost blue Huffy, I had just lost another bike to…you guessed it, bicycle theft. Anyhow, after a few weeks without a bike, I figured the easiest way to replace my bicycle (which was actually my sister-in-law’s bicycle that I had outfitted with lights and beautiful side saddle baskets) by purchasing a bike from Target online. I didn’t really know what I was looking for or even enough about bikes to attempt to buy one off of Craigslist, and trying to identify then go look at a bike (via public transit) scared the shit out of me.
So I bought this bike from Target online. And for some reason, in all my naivety, I didn’t realize that it would come in pieces. I finally finished putting the bike together—screwing on the wheels, attaching the stem and handlebars, adjusting the chain, attaching the plastic pedals, adjusting the brakes—and now I was ready to go hunting on Craigslist! Once you put together a bike, forgetaboutit!
One thing that I never quite got working in A+ or even A- fashion was the brakes. They would be just right, nice and tight and responsive, then they’d completely slip. I had talked to my local bike repairman about fixing them. He was very obliging, and said he could do it in about 20 minutes if I would remove my rear baskets then come back. (My local bike repairman is always very obliging.) I never did. At one point I thought that I would get my ass over to a Monday night at the Bicycle Kitchen and learn how to adjust the brakes myself. (And then I could go back on other nights when all the attractive and fit bicycling men are there.) I never did. Or at least haven’t yet.
So, back to our bicycle thief. I do wonder if he’s still alive. When he stole my Huffy, the brakes were pretty much gone. Because I was used to the bike, and its for-crap brakes, I knew how to manipulate it and ride in such a way as to be able to stop the bicycle effectively. My fellow cyclists are cringing right now, but…The thief didn’t know this. He couldn’t have known this. So he speeds off on my bike, at some point he has to stop, and WTF happened is what I want to know?!
I will be scouring the recent traffic/accident reports to see if there are any bicycle accidents that could have plausibly involved a brake-less bicycle. If you see or hear of anything that might involve our “hero,” please pass it along.
I’ll keep you posted.