My beloved bicycle, Green Lantern, was stolen last week.
|Decked out during the Fabulous Lady’s Ride|
|Hanging out at Leaky Roof|
Naturally, I was, and am, devastated.
There’s something very saddening about having your freedom of transportation stolen from you. With my bicycle, I could pretty quickly go wherever I wanted in the area, for free. I had a great milk crate, bell, and bottle holder setup. Green Lantern was stylish and decorated with stickers, X-Mas lights, and confetti.
I bought GL along with Rick’s bicycle The Safety Cone (that’s his name for it; my original name for the other bike was Agent Orange) at the Hawthorne Street Fair in August 2013 for $125. I put them on TriMet to take them back downtown, and then got them new parts and maintenance at Bike Gallery. Over time, they have gotten more and more attention, to where they were much better versions of the Peugeots I purchased. Many great adventures ensued.
As is typical for me occasionally, and several others in my building, I U-locked my bicycle to a sign post in front, thinking I would be getting back on shortly. Only I didn’t get back on as it turned out, and I forgot about it overnight. No big deal– I’ve done that before and so have others with clearly more expensive bicycles than Green Lantern. (Just because he was a bargain fixer-upper doesn’t mean I loved him any less!)
Running late to the airport the next day, I went to put my friend’s bicycle into the bike room and– HORROR– Green Lantern was not there! Using a Car2Go, I drove around and around the neighborhood looking for where I could have left my bicycle tied up.
It wasn’t until I was reluctantly returning from that fruitless endeavor that I saw the post and realized what had happened: The sign had been removed, and the thieves lifted the U-lock over the pole to steal the bicycle.
Growing up in Portland, plus college in Eugene, plus selling or gifting bicycles in various places I’ve lived and moved away from, I can say that I’ve gone through maybe 20 bicycles in my lifetime, and legitimately probably 10 have been stolen. That’s a lot of the reason I don’t like to invest too heavily in a flashy, top-of-the-line bicycle.
The fact that Green Lantern clearly was not the most valuable bicycle yet clearly was well-loved makes this even more difficult, though. What’s the point of stealing it?
I had planned a piece for the summer about finding new pedals, since this is a sample of the carnage caused by Green Lantern:
The carnage includes several scars, ripped clothes, and shredded shoe soles. Truly terrible. The above was just from a somewhat routine stop where I went to put my foot on the ground and the pedal hit me as it was still rolling– not even a fall or anything.
Green Lantern had other problems, too. He was too heavy, tires too fat, slightly too tall, and with a top bar that made getting on and off literally a leap. The gears wouldn’t shift right, going from a high gear then suddenly jumping into a much lower gear despite my slow and shifting. The shifters were way down on the downtube, too, which was quite inconvenient for the hilly Portland terrain. The rack was slightly unsteady, having been McGuyvered back together with plumber’s seal by my boyfriend. The brakes, no matter how many times privately or professionally adjusted, would squeal heinously. The back tire needed to be replaced.
And so on and so forth. You would think, considering last summer I went through the process of finding a great bicycle with a fabulous lady friend, that it wouldn’t have been a far reach for me to get a quality new or used bicycle and replace Green Lantern with his myriad problems.
Part of the reason, of course, is that I was afraid of this very outcome (bicycle theft). But maybe relaxing into thinking I had a bicycle no one would want is what got me into this mess in the first place. Every bicycle is important!!
The other part of the reason is that I felt cool and stylish on my bicycle, and riding was a fun and special time. Not to mention, my boyfriend had the matching bicycle, which could be considered annoying but was actually pretty fun.
So I Guess I’m Getting a New Bicycle
The journey has slightly begun (more on that later). Time, for now, to pick up the pieces and get back behind the wheel!
I still have alternating fantasies of finding the bicycle around; finding it in some junkie’s hands and getting Mama Bear-level crazy on that person; and with tears of joy, handing hundreds of dollars of reward money to someone who finds Green Lantern, no matter what his ultimate condition.
I urge everyone to read the above, as it gives solid advice about proper locking of your bicycle. And no matter how convenient it *seems*, DO NOT lock your bicycle to a sign post!!
It will probably take some time to get over the need to look closely at any bicycle and think it might be GL, or to not randomly go out of my way to a check a random bicycle rack with the illogical impulse that maybe I could have left it there, or not to compulsively refresh Craig’s List looking for my stolen bicycle there.
I would like to extend a heartfelt Thank You to the bicycle community for your support and caring during this difficult time.
If you have any information about Green Lantern, please send me an email or Facebook message. There is a reward for information leading to GL’s whereabouts, no matter what condition.