Before I get to the Sophomore and Freshman class previews (coming soon) I thought I'd give everyone a little story. I'm leaving Alaska for Chicago this coming Saturday but mostly everything else here will be the same. I'll be hosting (not as in "buying" though) an opportunity for anyone who is interested to come say goodbye in person.
This Thursday evening at 7pm I will be at the Buckaroo Club on Spenard Road. I'll be there until late and hope that everyone comes. Now the story.
Back at the end of last summer and into fall I took a couple of spills on my bicycle that were related to it's fitness to be ridden. The bike was a 1990 Lotus 4000M mountain bike. Lotus is a long time bicycle maker and as they saw Marin and Gary Fisher going great guns with their lines of mountain bikes Lotus decided to jump into the water. And they made a pretty nice bike. It wasn't competition ready but used the same materials and components as the best bikes. It was a $550 back then.
The bike saw lots of good use over the next 20 years. I'd certainly say more trail action that lots of bikes of it's generation.. In any case, by the end of last summer it was in need of a number of new components and adjustments and replacements and tweaking ... well you get the idea. I spent the winter debating whether I should throw 300 dollars at this "demi-classic" bike or just buy a new ride.
I decided to fix it up. So in late March when the roads were starting to clear I hauled it up to the shop and ordered the works. I picked the bike up a couple of days later and roade it home. It was sweet. Fully back to the nice ride that it once was. I was happy I'd spent the money. For about 5 or 6 weeks.
Not long after my birthday at the end of April, I rode back to my apartment building late one night and locked the old bike up asw usual. Only I didn't. I only thought I did. Next morning when I get up and head out to run some errands there's no bike. UGH.
I grabbed the building manager and we went through all the security footage and while I couldn't see a face, I could clearly see it was a kid of around 13 or 14 who nabbed it at about 4AM. I was pretty bummed. I borrowed a car and spent the whole day combing through nearby neighborhoods and schools and anywhere I could think. It's amazing how difficult it is to tell one blue bicycle from another ... just so you know.
I spent some part of the next day as well doing the same thing and of course widening my search range. Naturally I called the cops but getting past their gauntlet of "don't fucking bother us with your petty shit" was too difficult. So I started to accept it. Bike gone.
The next day I was sweeping up the parking lot (I live and work in the same joint) when less than four feet away some dude rides past on the bike. It took a couple of ridden past me. And I took off running after it still carrying my broom. I never was a sprinter but after about 30 yards or so I'd closed the gap but I could see the guy was going to get the light at the crosswalk and there'd be no way my old fat ass would complete the chase. So I yelled "stop that dude ... he stole my bike" and gestured to some waiting vehicles to try to get assistance. The dude turns around and says "I didn't steal any bike" as he took the corner.
I ran the 60 yards or so back to the building and went inside to get my keys. I ran back down to the car and while I was doing it called my boss to see if he was around and could help search for the guy. He wasn't far away. I called the cops at the same time. I made it to the street the dude had turned onto but of course it had been 3 or 4 minutes. My boss drove up and down the street and ultimately I cajoled two cops into helping as well. But no luck.
I started kicking myself for the way I handled the whole thing. If I'd only just yelled to the dude, "Hey stop ... you dropped this" then he would have stopped and I'd have taken my bike back. But I didn't. Fucking stupid. Know what else was stupid? I didn't check Craigslist that day. Later that evening I did check it and answer an ad that suspiciously sounded like it might have been my bike. It was priced at 50 bucks. And it became clear that dude had just bought it. He'd completely loosened the toe clips so that they were dangling. The seat height wasd nowhere near where it should have been and the dude just didn't look comfortable on the bike. He''d just bought it 10 minutes before lhe road it past me.
So I bought a new bike. It's a sweet ride and will be much better suited to riding in Chicago than the Lotus would have been. Nevertheless, I checked every bike I saw all summer hoping to see my Lotus. Here's what it looks like. I am authorizing anyone reading this that sees the bike to immediately take possession by whatever means you deem necessary. I don't want it back ... but it's yours if you find it.
There are a couple of things unique to my bike that would identify it. It sports a pink gel "comfort seat" with a black rain fly cover. It's what is called a "noseless" seat. Secondly it has a new center chain ring on the crankset.
So that's it. I hope to see lots of you this Thursday evening before I take off. It would be nice if I could go around and see everyone but I just don't have that much time. Please come by.