I know, I know, such a cliché…remember the book “Zen and the Art of Motorcycle Maintenance”? Well, it’s all about serendipity, choices, philosophy.
Today’s post is in appreciation of my humble bicycle. Yes, you read that right. My bicycle.
Here’s what happened. This morning I was going to dye my hair red, but when I took the box out of the bathroom cabinet, I realised the dye colour was mahogany brown. I’d wanted a rich red. Okay. I also needed to get a few bits and pieces. So I got on my bicycle and cycled over to my local shopping mall, all of 3 roads away. I parked my bike at the bile rack, secured it using my coiled cable bike lock, along with my helmet, and then I went into the supermarket. This was around 12 noon.
At around 1230 I came out. The bike was gone. For a second I thought maybe I’d made a mistake and had parked my bike around the other entrance to the mall. Then I saw broken pieces of black plastic on the ground. Then I saw the green coils of my bike’s lock. Then I saw my helmet and water bottle lying on the floor. That’s when the realisation sank in. I’d been robbed of my beloved bicycle!
The nice Security officer who took my details told me the barber whose shop was next to the bike rack had reported seeing 4 Aboriginal/Kiwi boys taking the bike. He said they’d probably used a hammer or pliers to crack open the plastic housing where the cable clicked into the lock, hence the broken pieces of plastic lying on the ground. I lodged a Police report and gave the report number to the Security guard.
And then I had to walk home with my groceries. As I walked, I wondered what were the chances of ever recovering my bicycle. I wondered if our household insurance covered the theft of my bike. I needed a bicycle to get around on…how long would the Insurance company take to pay up?
As I turned the corner to my street, I saw an Aboriginal family ahead with a supermarket trolley. There were 2 men, 2 women and 3 children. I noticed that one of the children, a girl aged about 8 or 9, was on a bicycle. Could it be? She didn’t look very steady on it. Was it MY bike?
I dropped my shopping at the gates to my house and ran towards the Aboriginal family. As I ran, I hit the redial button on my mobile phone to call the Police (having only done that not 15 minutes ago). When the duty sargeant answered, I told her to just listen.
At that precise moment, the family turned towards me when they heard me talking on my mobile phone to the Police. And the girl fell off my bike. I took advantage of the situation and went all Mama Bear on the family. As the adults were helping the girl up off the ground, I yelled at them “That’s my bike! I’ve reported it to the Police as stolen. Leave it right there and just go! Go now! Or I WILL press charges against you for theft!”
One of the men, who had shorn sides but a little ponytail under a red baseball cap, said “We didn’t steal nothing”. One of the women said “We just found it lying in the alley”. I yelled at them “I don’t care whether you stole it or found it, that’s my bike and if you don’t leave right now, the Police will be coming and you’ll get arrested for handling stolen property! If you just “found” it, you should take it to the Police Station, not claim it for your own use!” I picked my poor bike up off the ground.
The other man, a big fat guy in a dark blue sweatshirt and pants, mumbled some swear words at me. I stood my ground, held my mobile phone up to show them the Police were still listening to our exchange right now.
For a minute it looked like a Mexican Standoff. Then, thankfully, the family decided it would be wiser to just move on swiftly. As soon as they’d gone around the corner, I spoke to the nice policewoman on the line. I gave her the Police report number from a few minutes ago, described the suspect family, and asked her to kindly update the mall’s Security department that my bike had been recovered.
My heart didn’t stop pounding til an hour later.
Now I’ve put a protective spell on my bike and my son’s bike (he needs it for school). Oh, and just to be doubly safe, I also bought a heavy duty iron lock and cable from my local bike shop. No one messes with my bicycle! No one messes with me!
That scene of me flying up my street, mobile phone in one hand, chasing after that thieving family…worthy of a Cops & Robbers television drama!! The adrenaline! The excitement! The close avoidance of violence! Thank God for mobile phones and fast redials! One little woman against 4 adults and 3 children! I am one Fearless Mama!!
Home again, safe and sound!
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