My friend Lloyd had his bike stolen. He went out for lunch, leaned his bike against the wall, went into the burrito place, stood in line, texted his wife, ordered his food, paid, and walked out the door. No bike. A guy standing nearby said, “A couple of kids ran off with it.” He stood there, disbelieving, feeling that urgent need to do something, but not knowing what, a tragic resignation blooming in his head. He called me, told me, said he was walking back.
This isn’t a story about stolen bikes or bike thieves.
This is a story about that feeling you get when something outside of you (the bike), something you care a lot about, disappears suddenly. There is anger, self-righteous rage, sadness, a tinge of humiliation (you did, after all, leave the bike there). You move through the various stages of grief.
If you are reading and relating to this, then we have made the leap I was hoping to make. Normally, the sort of response we have to a bike being stolen is similar in most emotional respects to bereavement. It is, if you can indulge me, something like a spiritual experience. I define the word spiritual pretty secularly here, which is to say a feeling of non-physical connection to something outside yourself.
We love our bikes, real love that produces real feelings of longing, love and, at some point loss.
This week’s Group Ride asks, how many bikes have you had this sort of connection with? What were/are they? And how many have you lost? Or, am I crazy? Is it zero? It would be pretty ironic, a guy who calls himself Robot, writing a thing like this and discovering that nobody else has these feelings. That would be magnificent in some pretty weird sorts of ways.