The evening of Saturday, January 8, 2022, I was inside a big box store talking to a clerk about replacing my over four-year-old cell phone. I had parked Sophie, the Fairdale Weekender Archer, a bicycle who has been my trusty sidekick since I won her in a Bike Austin raffle in 2017, a mere 10 feet away in the small vestibule for shopping carts. Since I was so close and regularly looking right at her, I did not use my u-lock and cable lock — a fatal mistake I’ll never make again. At 6:30 pm, a brazen thief walked into the little lobby, stood there for 20 seconds, then walked out with my bicycle while I wasn’t looking. The next time I looked up, Sophie was gone, and with her, a piece of my soul.
There’s been a lot of bicycle theft showing up in my Next Door feed over the last year. Global pandemics with their concomitant economic hardships have put all kinds of strain on people. But this brazen act takes the cake. Robbers literally broke through the front door of The Peddler Bike Shop in Hyde Park area of Austin, Texas with a probably stolen truck. I happened to see it on the website for the news station where I get my weather, and I was aghast. It is the closet shop to me, and I’ve been going there longer than any shops here. I also know the owner a bit. (Ironically, my first real bike that I ever bought myself I got from here, was stolen on Xmas Eve maybe 10 years ago.) This was very sad news so on my daily ride I stopped by to pay my condolences.