Bicycle woes

by , under life, o tempora

A few months ago Tertia’s bike (formerly my bike; when we went to buy a new second-hand for her, I saw a cheap Atomic Heavy Bike I liked so I bought that and gave mine to her) broke so badly that it would have been more expensive to repair than to scrap. I’d seen an ad in the supermarket for a woman’s bike for 65 euros, and when I called they still had it, so we went and bought it. It turned out that the former owner had bought an electric bike, so she wanted to sell the old push-bike. I didn’t tell her that she could have got twice the price for it!

Then this week Secunda had an accident that damaged her superficially and destroyed the brakes of her bike, practically on the bike repair shop’s doorstep so she left it there and came home on an ugly orange loaner. The loaners are ugly and orange on purpose, so nobody will steal them! Also, as Secunda cycled home on it the chain fell off. The next day the shop called and said– yes, you guessed right: that it would be more expensive to repair than to scrap. I said “we’ll have to think about what to do” because at the time I was very preoccupied with something else.

Secunda went to school on Prima’s bike (because Prima isn’t cycling to school anyway, she takes the 7:45 train instead). This was Wednesday. On Thursday morning Secunda set off to school after I’d come back from swimming and came back saying “The bike’s gone!” And yes, we couldn’t find it, not even around the corner in the parking/loading yard where bikes are occasionally put by people who want them out of the way because they want to empty the trash containers. It was a good thing that I was already home and she could go on my bike.

Today, Friday, I thought I’d walk to the shop with the chainless loaner, go on to the swimming pool (it’s only slightly out of the way) and pick up Secunda’s bike on the way back. When I unlocked the orange thing I saw that the chain was all exposed so I could probably put it back on, which I did, and then used it to ride to the pool. And, foolishly, back home because, well, I was on a bike, and it had no panniers so I couldn’t go shopping on it, so I didn’t pass anything to remind me of bike shops. And going straight back didn’t appeal to me; anyway, I think Secunda and I are both going to need something to ride on tomorrow, and at the moment we have only two good bikes for the five of us.

I reported with the police’s online form (which didn’t have “metallic aqua” as a choice in the drop-down menu so I put “blue” and specified in the “more info” box) and got a reply at once, which fell into the spam because it’s bad HTML with an attachment, 7.5 points, 5.0 required. Good spam filter. I’ve whitelisted the address now, of course.

Dear thieves: if you must steal, choose something that actually has some monetary value, will you? Something that doesn’t inconvenience people so much. Not a bike that will barely fetch enough on the black market for a single shot of whatever you’re addicted to, and that someone depends on for their daily life. (Or perhaps it was someone who badly wanted to get home after a hard night; in which case they should have brought it back.)

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