"Great and Sudden Change"

Me enjoying my now-stolen bike.  Photo credit:  Barry Germond.

Some days start out great and then something happens that flips it on end.  

I finally had some time to myself this morning and it was a beautiful day.  I woke up without an alarm clock, but with enough time to bike to one of my favorite yoga classes.  The bike ride there was perfect.  The yoga class exceptional and the bike ride back, just as good.  The weather today was inspiring. I then took a longish ride into work and got in at about 11 am.  

I couldn't have asked for a better morning! 

I had an unusually productive day at work and left shortly after 9 pm, having finally gotten slightly ahead on the pile of things I needed to do and feeling good about that.  

When I stepped out of my office building I noticed that the evening was just as beautiful as the morning and I was thinking of taking a slightly long ride home so that I could bask in it a little longer, even though it was getting late and I have to wake up early tomorrow. It was just that nice out.

I could not have asked for a better day. 

Up until that very moment, that is.   

When I arrived at the rack where I parked my bike this morning there was something noticeably missing -- my bike.   

In disbelief I called Bill, convinced that he had come and gotten it because he didn't want me to ride home. He swore to me that he didn't. 

It had been a long day and I tried to convince myself that maybe I walked in? No, I distinctly remember biking in.  Maybe I parked somewhere else? No, I remember pulling into a very full rack, but happily finding that the end where I like to part was empty.  

I eventually came to intellectually accept the fact that it was probably stolen. I don't think I've quite accepted the fact emotionally, even as I write this. 

I called Hofstra's public safety and filed a report. It took a very long time. (It is now very late, considering the fact that I am waking up at 5:30 tomorrow and I've given up trying to get enough sleep tonight.)  When he finally found me, the public safety officer was very friendly and suggested I file a report with the Village of Hempstead PD tomorrow. 

I had become incredibly fond of that bike and I feel a deep sense of loss.  I've put 2000 miles on her since I bought her in April.  She has become very much a part of my life.  I was so fond of her that I had been looking for a name for her, but at this point, she is still unnamed.  

However, things could be so much worse.  

The first thing that occured to me when I was realizing how much worse it could be is that there is likely some financial recourse I can pursue through either my homeowner's insurance or maybe the credit card I used  when I bought it for myself as a birthday present last April.  But even if there isn't, I am not destitute.  That bike was not my only means of transportation and I am financially stable enough that I can replace her without bankrupting myself.  

I see so many people in Hempstead who bike, pretty obviously using that form of transportation because that is what they can afford.  If you are a dishwasher or a gardener or a fast food worker, it is a big deal if even a cheap bike gets stolen.  Bikes are stolen all the time.

I don't know even what to advocate for to make it less likely for bikes to be stolen.  I actually thought the place I was parking at work was safe.  It was in the interior of campus.  There were always a lot of people around (even as I sat there waiting for public safety, there were a lot of people around). I used my cheap cable and lock rather than the expensive (and heavy) kryptonite that I bought for trips to the city and other places that seemed more dangerous.  Often when I park my bike elsewhere, I can't find a bike rack to park it on and end up trying to lock it to a telephone pole or bench, but my bike was locked to a bike rack today. 

In truth, I don't know what we can do as a society to make it less likely our bikes will get stolen.  

The second thing I had to appreciate from this situation was that this was only my bike that was lost. As fond as I have become of her and as much of a financial burden it will be to replace her, she was only a bike.

For the last month and a half I've been recording crash after crash that took lives or left them in critical condition.   

The list of vehicular crashes with pedestrians or cyclists since September 13 is now up to 22, 15 fatal, that I know of.  (One of the things I managed to get done today was to call the hospitals where the critically injured were sent to try to find out if they survived, only to be told that they can't give me that information.) 

The loss of my bike was a great and sudden change. I feel it deeply and am experiencing a sense of shock from it.  Loss of my life or of the life of someone I loved, would be even more so.  That is happening pretty regularly on Long Island.

The title is a quote from Mary Kelly's Frankenstein

 " Nothing is so painful to the human mind as a great and sudden change."