In the fall of 2009 I enrolled in grad school at the University of New Hampshire. Having come from a small urban University in West Philly, the campus at UNH seemed enormous. And with very little student parking, I soon found myself in need of a bike to get around. Quite naturally I went to Craigslist, where I soon purchased an old orange Mongoose mountain bike for $20 cash. The brakes weren’t great and the gears grinded a bit, but it got me around. So much so, that the bike soon became a legend of sorts. It braved 4am cruises up the street, 8am rides to class, many rides through several feet of snow and spent countless hours sitting in the rain outside of the library. I locked the bike up most of the time, although not always.
When I moved to Boston after finishing grad school, I couldn’t leave the bike behind. I live only a 5 minute walk from the subway station in Davis Square, where I catch the “T” to work. One Sunday shortly after I moved into my apartment I rode down to the subway station where I locked my bike up and hopped on the “T” to go to work. When I returned that night my bike was gone. The lock must have been cut. I felt nostalgic thinking back about the memories my bike and I had created together, but I couldn’t get that upset. After all, it was only a $20 bike. I called my roommate from grad school and told him of my loss. “Your bike just wasn’t meant for the big city,” he comforted me. “It was a small town bike.”
The loss of the bike soon faded from my memory, until about a week later as I was again walking to the subway station to catch the “T” to work. As I passed the bike rack where my bike had been stolen, I stopped dead in my tracks. My exact bike was locked up, right where it had been stolen from, with a huge new steel lock wrapped around it. The nerve! Fury swelled in my chest, but I couldn’t get through the lock. I needed a plan.
I started off by talking to my new roommate, who suggested that I buy a similar lock and re-lock the bicycle where it was. That way the bike would be locked to the rack forever, with neither myself nor the bike thief able to use the bike. At least this way I’ll always know where my bike is, I thought. But the bike had been $20 and a good lock costs much more, so I scratched that plan.
Next, I decided to go to the police. I called the cops and asked to speak to an officer regarding stolen property. “This call is going to be recorded,” the officer explained. Great, I thought. I went on to explain the situation to the officer. “Do you have any way of proving that the bike is yours?” the officer asked. “Why yes, I have multiple pictures of me riding the bike — you can even read the bikes’ serial number in some of them,” I replied smugly. Alas, I had no way of proving it was my bike. Frustrated, I got a bit more bold. “How about I sit by the bike and cause a scene when someone comes to unlock it,” I asked the officer. “I would avoid a physical altercation for your own safety,” the officer replied. “But you can hold on to the bike and give us a call when the thief arrives. We’ll come right down and help you straighten it out.” I hung up the phone.
I spent a few days walking to work and glaring at my bike, my anger mounting. One Sunday after a particularly bad night at work, I had had enough. I ran home and gathered the necessary wrenches and sprinted back down to the bike racks. It was Sunday night at about midnight, and Davis Square was empty. Within 5 minutes I had managed to take the tires off of my bike, thus leaving only the bikes frame locked up to the rack. This option was free, and would cause the thief to have to carry to bike frame home. Payback at last I thought to myself, grinning slyly.
As I started walking away, a tire in each hand, a large man and two women emerged from the shadows. “Hey, that guy just stole those bike tires!” the man announced, pointing directly at me. “I didn’t steal shit!” I yelled back, pointing the man down. “Someone stole my bike and locked it up here, I’m just taking my tires back.” Luckily, the man could relate. “Ahhhhhhh, payback’s a bitch my brother! Well played!” he called after me as I stormed off. The next morning the bike frame was gone.
While I am happy that I did manage to get some sort of revenge on the bastard that stole my bike, the time ultimately came to get a new bike. That’s really what this post is all about. Back to Craigslist I went. Let me tell you, the new bike is awesome. Gentlemen, you don’t need to use AXE bodywash, wear pink shirts, or own a leather jacket to get the ladies. You just need one of these:
The new Schwinn Jaguar Cruiser bicycle. I highly recommend you pick one up if you have the means.