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Home » Life in Holland, Personal » To the jerk who stole my bike

To the jerk who stole my bike

Posted on Thursday, February 8th, 2007 at 9:09 am CET

First, thank you very much for leaving the severed chain lock on the rack where I parked my bike yesterday afternoon at the metro station. Seeing the lock this morning surely saved me at least a half hour of paranoid searching and re-searching, mumbling to myself and figuring I had gone mad, not remembering just where I had parked my bike. But I know that I did indeed park my bike where I thought I did, it just wasn’t there this morning. But my shiny red lock was. So thank you.

You must realize by now that you picked the worst bike in all of creation to steal. The flaws and half-assed repairs were many, and obvious, but you either did not notice these when you picked my bike, or you did not care. The front tire was bent. Not so bent that the tire rubbed against the rim, but bent enough to give me a slight sense of vertigo each time I rode it. So I hope you enjoy that. The handlebars were crooked, at a slight angle from the horizontal. Be careful with that. The inner tubes on both tires had been patched up so much that even on the smoothest road, the ride was bumpy. The bell was loose and dinged almost constantly from the rough ride. So if you planned to ride this stolen bike around in stealth, forget it. I’ll be listening for you.

You may not have noticed the broken back tire rim yet. That’s because I fixed it. Several times. See, the rim should be attached to the bike underneath the seat, but it broke away and rubbed against the back tire. Not having access to welding equipment, I tried to fix this in a more MacGyveresque fashion. First I tried rip cords. These would work for a time, but eventually (after about two trips) the plastic strap would break and the rim would crash down on the back tire. I tried string but that was even less durable. Finally this week I tried some heavy-duty florist wire. On Monday I brought the wire, wire-cutters and pliers with me and made some repairs on the spot at the metro station (where the bike was parked all weekend without being abducted, by the way). This repair job lasted the ride between the metro and the office that morning and afternoon, but on Tuesday morning the wires snapped just as I arrived at the office. During my lunch break I made a second attempt to fix the rim using the florist wire. I wrapped the wire around the rim under the seat several times and attached it to the frame in two places. Wires were sticking out from under the seat so I tried to conceal them. The lame repair job remained painfully obvious – at least I thought so. I was looking forward to seeing how long it would last this time. So when the back rim falls down on the rear tire, you can blame my poor repair skills. Sorry.

Just yesterday I was chatting with a colleague about the sorry state of this bike. I joked that I would not even have to lock it, as surely no one would want such a pathetic thing. Guess I was wrong.

I’ll go back to taking the metro and then walking to the office every day, no big deal. My commute will be a little bit longer, and a bit less sweaty. No problem. Walking is healthy too, right? And I don’t have to carry florist wire, pliers, wire-cutters and rip ties around in my purse anymore. That’s a load off.

So you see, the bike itself is not really a big loss. What irks me the most is that by stealing my bike you broke my streak of living in the Netherlands for 7 years without ever having had a bike stolen. That must be a record.

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