An Amusement & Diversion for The Genteel Cyclist. Daily.

Monday, July 9, 2007

Why thieves steal bikes: It's all about crank size! (In a manner of speaking.)


In a word, it's drugs. And given that some of us are obsessed with bikes precisely because we'd otherwise be obsessed with drugs, you can see where this is going...



Very early on a misty summer morning, I walked out of my building in SoHo with my golden retriever and saw a large man across the street stealing a bicycle.

He seemed quite menacing in the foggy dawn, since my dog, Ashley, is more inclined to snuggle with than snarl at strangers, I kept my distance as I addressed him.

Me: “Why are you stealing that bicycle? Please stop. Leave it alone; this is my neighborhood.”

Bicycle Thief: “This is what I do. I steal bicycles and sell them for money. I need the money; leave me alone.”

Me: “You should just leave this one here. Really, you should leave it. I’d really appreciate it.”

Thief: “Sorry. I need to take this bicycle.”

...[Later, he sees the guy trying to sell]...

Me: “...Why do you do this?”

Thief: “Because I’m a junkie. I’ve been a junkie since I was 25 and I’m 45 now, so I’ve been doing this for 30 years.”

[My son]: “If you’re 45 that would mean you’ve been doing it for 20 years.”

Thief: “You’re right, kid. That’s why you should stay in school and don’t do drugs. Otherwise you’ll wind up a junkie like me. Study hard, and stay in school. Do you want to buy the bike? I’ll sell it to you for $30?”


Gotta admire the civility of these urbane exchanges, but that's a pretty unambitious junky. Dude, if you set your sites a little higher-- say the corral at a bike festival upstate -- you could buy enough crank to kill yourself in a single afternoon. Surely a win-win for everyone, in the long run.

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