a few wednesdays back, i woke up. i did all the usual pre-out-the-door stuff, then went out to the porch to grab my bike.
er, except no bike. just a gaping expanse of porch. with one of the pickets, the one i'd chained my bicycle to, dislocated. (i originally thought it'd been cut... on later inspection, it was more like bent.)
in shock, i called in late to work and started walking. didn't think about stopping to change to comfier shoes... thus winding up with blisters, 4 days before my half marathon. the bicycle thief not only gets blamed for the bike itself, he or she made me EVEN SLOWER that i would've been.
i called in a police report. not because i expected it to have any results -- i'm aware that the norfolk police have other priorities -- but it somehow made me feel better.
i love walking, but not when it means getting up earlier. or being exposed to more rain. life as a non-bicycle-owner just wasn't going to cut it anymore. i started shopping.
while i read craigslist non-stop in hopes of finding my bike or a relatively similar one for a good price, i started visiting the local bicycle shops. i fell in love with a giant hybrid bike that was way out of my price-range. i tried out nearly everything else they had in my size. i dragged jesse down to the performance bike shop in virginia beach and made laps around their store. playing on all the hybrids, i decided that i really like the feel of the ones that are on the road bike end of the spectrum. if/when i can afford a bike for fun, and when i can afford to take my time finding a good deal, i think maybe i will buy a road bike.
but for getting back and forth to work and groceries and errands? need utility bike.
i wound up with a dahon speed d7 from the local bike shop. it folds. it fits under my desk and/or in the corner of the living room, so i don't have to worry about its continuing existence in the spot where i left it. it's cute. it's zippier than my dear old schwinn, and super-easy to carry. it's hopefully sturdy enough to deal with my daily commute for a long time to come. i haven't figured out a big luggage solution that lets it still fold yet (folding pannier baskets are an option, maybe?), but on weekends i've been attaching a file crate to the back rack to haul things around. here it is, posing on the way to the recycling center:
one week after buying the dahon, a week and a half after the disappearance, my schwinn world tourist came back. we got home from one of the dirt cheap blues dances in the early-sunday-morning hours, and there it was -- propped up against the stop sign across the street.
unfortunately, no narrative note left with it, and the bike won't tell me where it's been, so guesses about the disappearing/reappearing act are all we've got. kid whose mom finally noticed and made him or her bring it back? homeless person who "traded it" for a more legit charity bike? bicycling criminal at large just happened to be picked up across the street from the site of the bike theft? (one of our houseguests DID report seeing some police lights over there earlier in the night.) who knows.
the schwinn came back a little worse for wear -- it'd obviously slept outside in the rain for a few nights and had a new clunking sound from the front wheel, and the computer, U-lock, and crate were gone... so now it's spent a while upside down in the living room. the amount of whining i put on while it was gone convinced me that i do, in fact, like THAT bike, so i've finally invested more than i paid for the bike itself for a new set of tires. last night's adventures led to completely exploding one new tube before figuring out how to more-or-less solidly get new tire and tube securely on the rim. bike wheel technology has apparently updated a bit in the last 25 years, and modern tires aren't all that comfortable with classic smooth-bead rims. i decided to stop after the front one so i can give it a little test ride and see if it's really ok before replacing the other...
so yeah. two bicycles. and i guess figuring out bicycle maintenance just might be my newest hobby.