No place

Last Wednesday was sunny and warm. After running errands, I parked my bike in the driveway to drop things off before heading out for a lazy late afternoon ride around the harbor. 

When I came back out, only a few minutes later . . . could it be? I looked around. My bike wasn’t where I’d left or no place nearby.

Poof! It was GONE!

The realization knocked the wind out of me. It’s been years since I owned a car; my bicycle is my only means of transportation. Even though it was an old Jeep hybrid two-wheeler, one of two we’d bought on sale at Sears assume 20 or so years ago, it had proved ruggedly reliable. 

And now, in the blink of an eye, it was gone. I found myself worrying about how I would get groceries, go to the pharmacy, or visit friends.

In the immediate shock, I felt the searing presence of the bike’s absence, helplessness mixed with shame for having left it unattended, and I was deeply, through and through, annoyed. I called the police. Officer Shatto showed up in ten minutes. When I told her what happened, she contacted her colleagues, sharing the video of the theft with them via her smartphone. 

The camera above my driveway caught the nonchalant criminal doing the dastardly deed on camera. You can see for yourself:

Please click on the image above to view the video

One of the officers texted her back to say he recognized the crook. She told me that they’d do their best and promised to let me know if they find it.

Thursday, a little after midnight, she called to let me know they may have recovered my bike. Un-fudgin’-believable! 

The next day Officer Shatto was at my door with the bike in hand. Apparently, the guy broke into a warehouse and got busted in the act. She said that the moment she saw the shiny red bicycle, she’d thought and hoped it was mine. 

After proving my ownership by unlocking the lock wrapped securely around the seat pole, she handed the bike over. I thanked her sincerely for bringing it by. She’d remembered that it was my only way to get around and said she didn’t know how I’d get to the property department to recuperate it, so she thought she would drop it off. 

The bike was, unfortunately, the worse for the wear. My mirror was gone, the seat ripped, the front brake broken, and the gears were slipping. 

I knew what to do. I rode, carefully and on quiet side streets, to The Bike Trip, our neighborhood bike shop. When the mechanic heard my delightful tale, he offered to take a look immediately and then asked me to wait a few minutes so he could set things right. When I asked him how much I owed, he said it was on the house, in celebration of my bike’s happy return to its rightful owner.

Some days are way better than others. 

My heartfelt thanks to Officer Shatto and the Santa Cruz Police Department, the friendly folks at The Bicycle Trip, and to my pals, SP & LP, who, immediately upon hearing of the robbery, offered to loan me a bike for as long as I needed it. My attitude is, most definitely, gratitude.

Dorothy was right. 

“There’s no place like home.”

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  1. It is so good to read such positive news in tough times like these. They do exist, these people with heart and friendliness. How much better our world could be if everyone thinks a little less about themselves and more about other people who might need our support and help.
    Thank you Larry for sharing this wonderful story. There are miracles out there, that gives hope and this story has proven it.
    Best regards

  2. Larry, what a heart-felt blog post, about how connected we can be to a trusty old bike. My husband, Ned, shares this with several bikes, and worked his way through college and grad school being a bike mechanic at a place similar to The Bike Trip. This story is also much-needed these days after such fear and gloom. That folks still act with a generosity of spirit and compassion. I happen to think that it’s in response to how you roll in the world, with obvious generosity of spirit and compassion. It is cool that you caught the perpetrator in action, too! Thanks for sharing this story with us. I knew you biked around; but, now I have a clearer image, having seen your trusty red bike. I bet she/he (the bike) feels glad to be home as well.