....When I think of certain bikes I remember -- I remember a happy walk while courting my wife, we chatted and I pushed my bike; I remember a sunset at the Sea of Galilee with a few friends; my last visit to my grandfather in the hospital before he died; ...
Bikes that owned me
By Charlie McCorkell
She locked up her bike of two years on the corner of 6th Avenue and 8th street. Five minutes later she discovered her bike gone. A person in a parked car watched her lock up and watched a messenger pull out bolt cutters and ride off with the bike. This piece is not about who was the worse person the thief or the person who watched the thief and did nothing except tell her the details. And this piece is not about Rachel, but I will ask her to write a story about it later; this is about ownership.
When Rachel stopped by about 30 minutes after discovering the theft and was exposing and hopefully working through her broken heart, it dawned on me that for many of us we not only own our bikes but our bikes own us. I was inevitably drawn to my own relationship to the bikes I owned and the ones that owned me. There was the three-speed I rode to Boston and the night I slept on the divider of route 95 just outside Providence, the Zebrakenko, I rode through a rainstorm in Cuba, the red Cannondale, that was stolen outside Ruth Messenger's apartment while the doorman watched, the Bontrager, I fell off into a pile of horse manure, the Motobecane track bike I hated on the hills of Westchester and lots more. Over the years I have owned over twenty bikes but only a dozen of them owned me. The bikes that owned me were either stolen, given to friends or I still own them. (I have three bikes - two of them own a piece of me.) They provided me with hundreds of memories of rides and thousands of flights of fancy. The others were sold or were stolen; I rarely give these a second thought.
When I think of certain bikes I remember -- I remember a happy walk while courting my wife, we chatted and I pushed my bike; I remember a sunset at the Sea of Galilee with a few friends; my last visit to my grandfather in the hospital before he died; bonding with Hal on a ride to Jones Beach. Each memory enhanced and indelibly etched with a particular bike. Like Rachel, I would cry when my bike was stolen. I don't regret the sadness; the greater the sadness meant the greater the memories. In this way I really regret the bikes that I didn't miss. There is some truth in cliches: it is better to have loved and lost, it is not the goal but the journey, etc.
Rachel, I feel deeply sorry that you had to discover the deep joy you had with your bike this way but please know you can have it again it won't be the same but it can be good