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Dude, Where’s My Bike?

It began just like any other visit to the Council District 13 field office on Hollywood and Western. I was there to meet with District Director Marta Segura to talk about ways I can help do  outreach (especially with regard to social media) for their upcoming Los Angeles Neighborhood Dreams (LAND) workshop for East Hollywood, scheduled for Saturday, April 2. After my meeting at the Council office, I headed right to the curbside bike rack where I locked my bike and noticed something peculiar.

My bike was gone.

Wait, what?

STOLEN: My 54cm Motobecane road bike. Farewell, old friend.

Yes, my old 80s-model blue-grey Motobecane road bike, which I bought from a Recycler Classified ad for $60 in 1993 (along with an incompatible-for-my car  rack, which I sold for $20, rendering the bike at a next cost of $40), is gone.

Some mf'er cut the cable lock, just like that!

The only trace of my bike, and the clearest evidence of the method of theft was my Kryptonite cable lock, which was discarded in the parking lane of Hollywood Boulevard like a broken toy, chopped clean through the cable like a piece of rope. Recently, I put in nearly $100 into it, had it refurbished at the Bicycle Kitchen last summer with new tires and outfitted it with handlebar foam. I was about to bring it back to the Kitchen to get its brakes re-done, since I had nearly been hit by a car yesterday since I could not stop the bike in time. Iwent back up and told the CD13 staff what had happened; they seemed to share my sentiment about getting the bike stolen, especially, literally right at their front door.  Segura even gave me a lift home even though I wouldn’t have minded the walk. She was vigilant on the trip there and looked at every bike that seemed to fit the description. None did.

I wasn’t that insistent about getting my bike back; It wasn’t that expensive and I nearly even donated it to the Bicycle Kitchen. But being violated with the experience of bike theft, especially in a very public, pedestrian environment, much more one that had turned around from its dark, high-crime past over 20 years ago was what bummed me out. Yes, I was bummed, but not devastated. I did learn that I should no longer trust cable locks, and go for a heavy-duty U-lock instead. Funny, because I assumed the dilapidated nature of my bike (it had ugly rusty spokes) was theft-deterrent enough. I guess I was wrong. My biggest conundrum isn’t necessarily replacing my bike, but deciding what to replace it with. Should I go for a nice, moderately-priced road bike, or stick with a cheap one, because it may inevitably get stolen? I really don’t know at this point. Mitch O’Farrell from the CD13 office told me I’m welcome to bring a bike into the office next time I visit, instead of leaving it outside. But as of now, my local preferred means of transport and my primary means of exercise is currently gone.

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