It’s 9:30 am. Do you know where your bike is?
Yesterday at 4:45, I had no idea where mine was. My beloved pink bike, a gift from my Uncle Mike, was sitting out on the Them Days stoop yesterday afternoon until at least 4:30. It was snowing, and I didn’t want to bring the bike in the building as I usually do because I would have dirtied the floor, and besides, it’s not the summer anymore – who’s going to be looking for a bike to steal?
(Three young hooligans, apparently.)
Anyway, it was the end of our workday at 4:30, but I wanted to finish an e-mail I was typing before I went home, so I didn’t leave the office immediately. It was 4:45 by the time I left the office.
“Ugh,” I thought as I stepped out the building and locked the door. “It’s dark already and I have to bike home in a black jacket and the road conditions aren’t great.”
Well, that wasn’t a concern, because when I turned to the right to get my bike, my bike wasn’t there.
It had been there just 20 minutes earlier, because Lauren and I had walked to the post office to check the mail near the end of the workday, and the bike was still in its place when we came back. It had been there just 15 minutes earlier, because Josie would have noticed if it was missing, and she would have said something to me.
I looked around, but I couldn’t see anything or anybody.
A trucker sat in his big rig outside of Notre Dame next door, writing on some paper in the cab. I went up to his truck and asked him if he had seen anything.
“I’ve been doing my paperwork,” he said, and shrugged.
Lucky for me, the bike thief had chosen a snowy day to take the bike, so I could easily follow his tracks in the virgin snow. They took my bike around the building, to the back where the construction is going on.
I found a bike back there – but it wasn’t mine. Apparently they decided to make a trade.
I continued down Kessessaskiou Street, following my bike’s tracks on the road as they weaved all over the street. Whoever had my bike was having fun, that was certain.
Next, I came across a man walking his dogs. I asked him if he had seen anybody on my pink bike, as it was just stolen from Them Days about 15 minutes earlier.
He had – three young guys on bikes (one was a BMX, but the others, he couldn’t remember) were tossing their bikes over the guardrail behind Queen of Peace. He warned me not to approach them, but suggested I could follow the tracks to see where they went. (He probably could tell I was fuming/upset and likely to be impetuous.)
I thanked him and hurried along, still keeping my eyes on the tracks on the road.
I followed them to the end of K street, across Cabot Street, over the rocky barrier on the other side of the road and over the guardrail behind Queen of Peace Middle School. I lost the tracks in the parking lot, but remembering the nice guy’s directions, continued towards Green Street, where I found the tracks again.
I followed their direction up Green Street, then looked up. There were more cars at the intersection of Goose and Green than I’d ever seen. And – the most exciting part – there were young men on bikes.
Did they do their swerving-in-traffic routine (as I’d seen via their tracks) and bring traffic to a halt? I couldn’t tell. But this was my chance.
I started running. I was going to confront them and there were going to be witnesses.
I got closer. I could see my bike in the headlights of a car. Somebody was holding it.
I channelled my anger and yelled and pointed, running past a few young hoodlums who were obviously part of the bike-stealing racket.
“THAT’S MY BIKE!!”
As I crossed the road and got closer, I saw who was holding my bike.
It was the guy I met up with on the road.
It was my own personal Good Samaritan.
I apologized for yelling at him (from the distance I thought he was maybe part of the bike thieving group). I tried to hold back my tears, because all the emotions of the past 20 minutes had caught up with me.
He’d gone back and found them again, and had gotten my bike from the group of boys, now sauntering casually down Green Street towards Hamilton River Road. I couldn’t tell much about them in the twilight, other that one of them was wearing a whitish-grey hoodie.
So thank you, thank you, thank you…I don’t even know your name, but you really made my day yesterday. (Possibly even my year.) What seemed to be a very, very bad day became a good one. I really can’t thank you enough, because that bike is the only vehicle I own that I can legally drive by myself. (Thank you, graduated licensing.)
So now, residents of Happy Valley-Goose Bay, I ask – do you know where your bikes are? Because not too long before starting this blog entry, I saw a group of three young men on bicycles, one wearing a white and grey hoodie, biking up Courte Manche and turning down K street, right outside the Them Days building. Make sure your belongings are locked up, because they can be stolen in the blink of an eye! (or the finishing of an e-mail.)
Also, if you are a bored young person, I know it seems like a lot of fun to, uh, “borrow” somebody’s bike for a joyride, but the sense of violation that it leaves the owner with really sucks. And that bike might be a kid’s, or somebody’s only way of getting around. You wouldn’t want somebody to take something of yours, would you? It’s not a nice feeling. Please channel your energy into something more positive. You have a lot of talents, but bike stealing shouldn’t be one of them!