By Alfie Hardman
Ever had a bike nicked? Here’s one way of looking at it.
I’ve just read that a Korean man who travelled 64,000 kilometres around the world arrived in Manchester and had his bike nicked and it’s brought back all kinds of emotions for me.
It all started when I was late for work you see. Peddling like some demented Bradley Wiggins I desperately searched for a free bike-lock station but could only find a lamp-post. Chaining it up I then rushed inside the pub I was working to pant out apologies and begin work. After a long shift of pouring pints and hearing about Brian’s problems with the bailiffs to then finally usher out the last drunkard, we closed up. It was around 12:30am and I was utterly shattered, turning the corner I saw my beloved bike was gone, pad lock and all. I walked around the block fooling myself into thinking I must have got the wrong lamp-post when I realised the one I’d really chained it to, had some serious flaws. It was only 7ft high and had no sign on it.
Realising what had happened I sat on the curb in a state of despair. All these memories of my beloved danced in and out of my head… The time I painted you, or the time when you hit a pothole and abruptly stopped while I kept going, or the numerous times I fixed your chain, your oily blood all over my hands.
As I began the long walk back home I cursed humanity. Why the fuck would no one intervene when seeing a person lift a bike over a lamp-post with its lock still intact and carry it away?!! Eventually the anger was replaced with stupidity and sadness. Somehow, I felt as if I had betrayed my bike by being so careless and it made me feel sick.
I thought about the time I bought it and how I had to choose between an array of second hand, rusted, ball crushers to then click with THE ONE. On the other hand I assume this thief’s respect for these marvellous steads only reached as far as dollar signs.
I now choose to believe that in Manchester at least, the pass over of bikes are like the healthy flow of money. They have to be shared around and passed from person to person for economies to work. If not, you would get a stagnation in bike sales because those that have and want them, keep them and the neglected shop bikes would become undervalued and rustier.
I implore you to not be so naïve to think your second (third, fourth etc.) hand one wasn’t stolen and then re-sold at some point. With this in mind for the first time I’m okay with the fact that my bike is now part of that (…healthy?) chain.
So, to the bike peddler that stole it I say, Sell it, yeah make a few quid out of it I don’t care but sell it to someone stupid enough to chain it to a 7ft post, so the cycle flow may continue, then who knows it might well come back to me one day.