April 3, 2014

Gone, But Not Forgotten

My Cannondale 29er got stolen a year ago today, and one of my biggest regrets—aside from the obvious damn-it-why-was-I-naive-enough-to-rely-on-a-cable-"lock"—is that I didn't take more pictures of it. Besides the "In Memoriam" shot at right, all I've got is the photo below. And neither of the extant portraits shows the bike as it was when snatched from behind my Dupont Circle office. The stock Kendas haven't been swapped out for the Continental Race Kings yet, and the bike's godfather and I had not yet, at the time I took this picture, spent the better part of a Saturday replacing the BB5s with BB7s.

In preparation for the one-year anniversary of my bike's theft, I poked around the internet for tributes to stolen two-wheelers. I found fewer than expected. I did, though, come upon a poem that British septuagenarian Jean Orton wrote when a thief relieved her of the bike she'd been riding for half a century (!). The chorus of "Ode to a Stolen Bike"? 
Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my cycle to me, to me. Bring back, bring back, oh bring back my cycle to me.
Not Shakespeare, perhaps, but all in all I like how the Brits respond to cycle theft better than how my fellow Americans do. I'd like Ryan van Duzer to get his New Belgium cruiser back as much as the next guy, but I prefer Joe Myerscough's edgy, snarky, quirky prose to Duzer's platitudes ("I forgive the thief"?!) and patriotism any day. An excerpt:
My bike has been there for me. He’s been reliable, dependable, always promising that wherever we are he’ll get me home quicker than the tube. True, we haven’t always got on, at times I have resented his very existence, the way he’d always make me cycle home when it’s raining and I’d rather get the bus or the way he’d decide not the brake fast enough.
(For more—including the grisly punishment Myerscough has in mind for whoever stole his bike—read the full post. I like the sketch Myerscough gives of how his story could take a film noir turn.)

The prevalence of bicycle theft is often cited as a deterrent to riding, but many riders are too hooked on two-wheeled transport to be so deterred. One blogger's list of every bike he has ever owned included no fewer than eight instances of theft! While I'm taking measures to decrease my chances of ever again having a bike stolen, I will not let caution prevent me from getting out and about on my Surly. And though the Ogre and I might not mount excursions quite as grand as those undertaken by Bryan Keith and his Long Haul Trucker, I plan to do a better job in future of photographically documenting our time together. Should have gotten a shot of us both, chilled and dripping, returning home on Sunday after an hour-long slog through the second snow of the D.C. spring...

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