Tuesday, August 27, 2013

It's Harder to Steal a Bike Than You Might Think

Ed and I have one philosophy when it comes to avoiding property crimes - own nothing of value. It works surprisingly well.

The bike I ride to the subway daily is old, heavy, and has no value. I received it from a friend when she was moving out of her home. Her plan was to leave it on the street the next day and see how long it took for it to be stolen. I took it instead.

For five years, I've ridden that bike to and from the subway in rain, snow, and other days I'm too lazy to ride my commuting bike all the way into my office. Back and forth we go together. The gears and brakes need to be fixed, but it serves its purpose perfectly well. Often, I have a skirt or dress on when I ride the bike, and I always pretend I am one of those fabulous women in France or Italy who ride down the street in their flowing skirts. J'adore.

Imagine my shock when I returned from vacation after a month only to discover my subway bike was gone. GONE! I immediately went inside to see if Ed knew what had happened to my bike. Clearly, nobody had stolen it because the other bikes were in the shed. For a moment, I thought maybe our home exchange partners had put it somewhere besides the shed and I just needed to find it. Ed knew nothing of the bike's whereabouts, so I walked to the subway - with my bike lock key - just in case I had left it there a month ago.

The good news? My bike was at the subway. The bad news, it had no seat. The even worse news (as far as my commute home was concerned) it had Ed's flexible tubing lock on it, not my lock. This meant it would remain entrapped for at least another day - until Ed could supply the key.

Please - take me home - I've been outside for a month! Doesn't anybody even notice me?
This turned out to be harder than one might think. Impossible - actually.

Which is why Wednesday night, Ed accompanied me to the metro to steal the bike. I called the non-emergency police number to let them know what was going on. It was not the most efficient operation you could imagine, because Ed's tools are not quite the right ones. Several onlookers suggested we might have more success with bolt cutters than with the hacksaw we were using. Thanks for that tip, sir. But I don't often find myself in this situation, so I don't own bolt cutters.

Really, this is my wife's bike. I borrowed it without telling her. And I lost the key to the lock.
Eventually, two onlookers felt sorry for us and helped steal the bike back. I don't have a photo of that, because it seemed in poor taste. These guys were awesome. The very best part was that when there were only a few wires between me and my bike, a man who had watched the whole operation pulled wire cutters out of his backpack to finish the job.

Still locked!
I am so grateful to those men. All the while, Connor and Helen were laughing telling people "my mom is stealing her own bike" and although many people looked at us confused, either no one actually called the cops, or my call to the cops letting them know what was up kept the cops from responding.

My bike and I are reunited. And all I can say is - thank goodness nobody bothered to steal it before we got there and that, quite possibly, is because the bike has no value. The perfect plan to keep myself safe from property crimes.


1 comment:

  1. This part made me spit out my diet coke with laughter "pulled wire cutters out of his backpack to finish the job"