The other day as I was driving down my street I saw a vaguely familiar looking bicycle helmet hanging on a nearby fence. It got me thinking that I didn’t recall seeing my bike in the shed that morning when we were tidying things up for a party we were about to host. By the time I got home, hung balloons and finished tidying I had forgotten all about it. The next morning I thought of it again and a brief search confirmed that my bike was in fact missing from the shed, presumably stolen. I wandered down the road and sure enough, it was my helmet, resting lopsidedly on a fence post, vaguely reminiscent of a battlefield cross.
I felt surprisingly sad as I trudged back home, my helmet dangling uselessly from my hand. I kept trying to tell myself that it’s just a bike, a thing made of metal and rubber that can easily be replaced. I came up with dozens of alternate scenarios that would have been far worse. I tried to rationalise it away based on how long I’ve had the bike and how much money it’s saved us compared to owning a second car (or paying for hundreds of bus rides to the train station). I tried to think of all the people who have experienced an actual loss recently, who are grieving the loss of a parent, sibling, spouse, child or best friend.
It didn’t work. The feelings of sadness persisted, although they were accompanied by the feeling I was being hopelessly irrational.
But it wasn’t entirely irrational. While the loss was relatively minor compared to what it could have been and compared to what others must be going through it was still a loss. In addition to losing the bits of metal and rubber I also lost:
- a handy means of transportation (given that we have chosen to only own one car)
- a valued fitness tool for mixing in zero-impact workouts with running and walking
- a means of interacting with a friend and ex-colleague I try to ride with at least fortnightly
- the freedom to go pretty much anywhere, anytime
- a one-of-a-kind, almost perfectly tailored to my wants and needs… low-maintenance, good range, day or night and extremely flexible
- the chance to ever recoup all the time, money and effort I spent tweaking and improving the bike over a number of years
I still miss my bike, and everything it represented, but the initial sadness has mostly subsided (as has the resentment I felt at first when I saw other cyclists pedalling along, blissfully unaware of my loss 😜). I can’t justify the expense of a replacement bike at the moment so this is a good motivator to chase up some leads, work on some products and generally get my butt into gear. I also can’t claim it on insurance as past me was smart enough to increase our excess to a level where small, individual losses like this one aren’t worth being claimed.
It’s unlikely the police will ever recover you so farewell old friend! Thanks for the fun and for the fitness. Thanks for the freedom to explore. Thanks for being reliable, always ready to get me from point A to point B and back again. I hope it’s not too long before I’m back in the saddle and able to ride again!