My Bike Is Gone

It has taken me a couple days to really process the event and the implications, but I have terrible (but not unique) news to report:  Tuesday morning the weather turned blustery and I did not have rain/wind gear on, so I decided to ride the bus the 3 miles to church after dropping my son off at school.  I put my trusty black Bianchi Avenue (cyclocross bike) on an AC Transit bus carry rack, got on the bus.  At the same stop, I saw another rider put his tricked out Schwinn red/black/white MTB on the front spot on the same rack. 


The extra-long bus was crowded, and I could not see the front or when people got off the bus.  But when I got off the bus I was stunned (and stunned is the literal feeling I had; my mouth dropped open like the “Incredible Mr. Limpet” fish) to discover that my bike was gone, and the Schwinn MTB was still on the front rack. 


AC Transit bus driver said: “Hey, I saw the guy taking your bike off, but I was not sure.”  The he started off up Telegraph, as I stared at the bus.  Then he stopped again and gestured at the Schwinn.  All I could do was stare at “the empty sky” and imagine that my bike was on its way to being sold already.


My Bianchi was the first bike that I rode post-spine injury where I really felt the sensation of going FAST. Felt the sensation of efficient power transfer.  Felt like I did not have to tell my legs to “hammer harder” or “pedal faster” and wait thirty seconds for the message to go from my brain to my feet; I could just… you know… GO! I took boundless  delight in heading to downtown Oakland on Telegraph Avenue from the Berkeley border on that bike and hitting all the lights.  That humble cyclocross bike transitioned me from a bicycle rider to a cyclist; it gave me the sensation that I was again an athlete and not a disabled person.  Riding the loop around Oakland’s Lake Merritt allowed me to fantasize that I could hang with Spartacus Cancellara on a group ride. I paid $180 for the bike used, and needed it fresh paint-job/re-waxing (and for a year I rode it with the rear derailleur not shifting at all), and one of the back tubes of the frame had a flex that my mechanic at The Bent Spoke offered to straighten; but to me it was the most beautiful cycling machine on all of God’s Earth.  I still remember the day with pride, not so long ago when I PR’d my ride from apartment to church in 16:05 (When I first got out of the hospital, it took me 35 minutes on the same ride); a ride that I average in 21 minutes.  I had plans for swapping on new Shimano SPD pedals on it next week, in order to train for the Sea Otter Gran Fondo. 


I have kind of started the process of replacing my bike; but not really.  I just think and stare.


The past two days, as I ride on the bus or walk the streets of Oakland, I scan the streets and bike racks; consciously and subconsciously searching in vain for my lost love.  I probably will for the rest of my life.  Who ever has my Avenue now, please keep up with ABC maintenance at least.  And enjoy the ride.

  • plochman

    Among the the erect and walking public who can see but not comprehend the travail of not being able to walk orthe struggle that exists in the body and the mind for every waking hour, every time you try to do something, your mind is clear yet the body does not respond of it cries out in pain in a way that was unemaginable for months, they will never know the depths in which some of the smallest and seamling least signifigant things, glimses of hope, pearls of great price that we who could, then could not but will  someday do yet again, hold on with the hope from just wiping a smudge off the frame or a simple touch of the seat, remind you that some how, some way, you WILL RIDE AGAIN is such a powerful and motiviting thing which I have experiance holding onto maybe not to the extent that my man Jay has been through but enough for me to comprehind the loss. I’m sure that in his heart, this bicycle was a live breathing thing that inturn breathed new life into him, a new begining and dream coming true with every waking moment and every daydream of tomorrow it will be better. I’m sorry for your loss Jay and I’m glad that you have taken this in stride, it is my hope that a door will open so that a new path is found to usher in a new erra of your life, let us hear the story of how your new bike has taken you places and revived your hope in humanity as your wounds are healed and your new bike is revealed. Hopefully very soon !


    What size frame do you need ? Anybody got a bike they can send him ?

  • plochman

    Nice post Jon,

    I’m a racing newbe at 50 years old, this will be my second year and I feel stronger than ever and expect to race in more events this season. My goal is to finish my cat 5s in the middle of the pack this season and place in the top 10/15 sometime by the end of the season, manageable goals and realistic. Once I finish the cat 5 requirments of 10 races, I’m going to transision into the masters 45+ group and then I’ll realy get dropped but hopefully by then I’ll be ready. There is a hopeful yet nervous antisipation when I begin to ponder what next season brings  but that is what brings me to the start line in the first place isnt it. Have a great season. Plochman