Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.

I started riding my bike to work last Wednesday, now that the weather allows for it and my car is just one problem after another. Wednesday went great, and the ride to work Thursday was fine too. When I came out at the end of the day to start riding home, my bike was nowhere to be found. I’d like to take you through the emotional stages of this momentous event.

Now, I’m generally an optimist with regards to humanity, and I like to give people the benefit of the doubt. My first reaction was, well, clearly someone else who rides a bike has mistaken my bike for their own. I’ll find a similar looking bike, take that today, and we’ll laugh about the confusion tomorrow. So I searched a bit, but found no other bikes at all.

So I begin thinking – my bike couldn’t have been stolen could it? Surely that kind of thing doesn’t happen outside of elementary schools. Besides, my bike was leaned against the building, within our enclosed parking lot. For someone to steal it they would have had to walk all the way around the fence, with my coworkers milling about, and brazenly waltz off with it. That takes balls.

Now I start to get really philosophical. Do we not live in a society? Do we not have rules by which we all must abide? What do we have if not our civility towards one another? If I can’t rely on my bike staying where I left it, what assurance do I have that the very ground beneath my feet won’t disappear? Without a stable society, I might as well run off to the woods and live as a hermit.

After the incredulity, I get a strong sense of personal violation and the rage begins to sink in. Someone just took my bike. They took my bike. They took my bike! How dare they! It’s not theirs at all! It’s mine! Somebody is now better off at my expense without my sanction. Oh man, I wish I had been watching when he did it. I wish I could have tackled him. I would have delivered a moving recitation of Hobbes’ Leviathan whilst I rained blows down upon him. Maybe he’s not far! Maybe I’ll see him as I walk, like a fool, to the Skytrain station, and I’ll yell “Hey! That’s my bike!” and then I’ll push him off and take it back! Only then will I regain that which makes me a man.

It actually shocked me how quickly I went into violent fantasy mode. Of course, this is not my actual position at all. The embarassment of being taken advantage of is a powerful thing.

On my way home I started to feel like The Dude (that bike really tied the garage together), so I listened to “The Man in Me” by Bob Dylan, from the Big Lebowski soundtrack, and that made me really happy. Now I just look at it as an opportunity to get a new bike, which I sorely needed.

You know, that’s actually the worst part of the whole thing. If I had a brand new expensive bike, I could understand why someone would steal it. It would have been my fault for not locking it up properly. But to take a shitty bike? That’s just low.

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~ by jbrydle on May 25, 2009.

2 Responses to “Sometimes you eat the bar, and sometimes the bar eats you.”

  1. When I moved to Cambridge for a work internship a couple years ago I bought a bike. I rode it for the year I was there (with an obvious break in the winter time) and then brought it back to Toronto with me when I returned to school. The very first time I rode it downtown someone cut the lock and stole it. Apparently, if it isn’t a steel U-lock it doesn’t cut it in Toronto (my lock was a thick steel cable, but apparently that is still easy enough to cut through to not pose much of a deterrent).

    I am sorry to hear about your bike getting stolen… I went through a similar emotional bout of mingled embarrassment and indignation. Apparently, though, bikes are stolen exceedingly often. I guess they are expensive enough to be worth it, portable enough to be easily gotten away with, transferrable enough (ie. no key required to run) to be easily resold or reused, and ubiquitous enough to be hard to trace.

  2. Yeah, I guess it’s a great way to make a living if you have no morals whatsoever. I’ve never looked at a bike sitting unattended and even considered the possibility of just taking it to sell. What a world.

    I’m going to buy a new one today. I think I’ll also get a small MIG welder and angle grinder to carry around with me. I’ll just spot weld the bike to poles and railings, then cut it loose when I return.

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