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.