A very sad thing happened yesterday. My beloved little bike was stolen from outside my apartment building.
Bike theft in Toronto is super common, and I knew that, which is why when I bought this clunker bike last year I only paid 60 dollars. This is a real piece of junk, I thought, nobody is going to bother to steal this. And for eight glorious months, I was right. Sometimes I would leave it overnight at bars, friend’s houses, etc, always locked, of course, but out in the open. I never had a problem and I didn’t care. I would often leave it wondering if it was the last time I’d ever see it. It wasn’t a nice ride or even that reliable of a bike, either. Just a couple weeks ago I was riding it during rush hour when the front brake literally just fell off. I was on the sidelines of one of the busiest downtown streets at the time. It’s hard to pedal, the gears are super rough, and it’s rusted and peeling and just all around in poor condition.
But something happened in the last 8 months that I didn’t expect… I fell in love with it.
Honestly. I adored its capacity for failure, its quirky gear shifting, its rust and its peeling paint. I loved that I could plow straight through pot holes and it would just keep chugging along with its bruises without batting an eyelash. I felt so much freedom because of it. I was flying past cars trapped in traffic jams, weaving my way in and out of construction areas, and best of all, I was liberated from shitty public transit. My bike and I, we ruled these downtown streets. And now, my beautifully imperfect clunker bike is gone. I’ve already been fantasizing about finding it for sale on craigslist and then pulling a stealthy “oh I’m really interested in this bike” to “THIS IS MY BIKE, YOU BASTARD”, flipping them the finger, and then riding it home triumphantly. But I don’t think it’s going to happen.
The worst part of all this is it’s totally my fault. I got cocky thinking nobody would take it so I started locking it up outside over night instead of in the bike locker of my building. I feel like I’ve let my bike down. Someone told me today that I should feel happy for whoever is now commuting on it because of how awesome it is and how much they must be enjoying it. And honestly, I think I can do that. I hope whoever stole it sells it to someone who was really hurting for transportation and needed a cute little rusty bike for cheap to brighten their day. I hope that the person who stole it uses the money for something like a birthday gift for their kid/grandma/dog and that the receiver of that gift is so stunned by the generosity which they were sadly not expecting from their no good bike-thief parent/grandkid/owner that they overwhelm them with tears and gratitude. And then the thief is so moved from the appreciation that they realize there is more to life than thievery, and are inspired to embark on a life of redemption and charity.. yeah.
God speed with your new life, dear beater bike. I’ll miss ya.