How to Lose a Bike in 10 Days

As you may or may not have noticed, I didn't write a weekend recap post yesterday. 1.) I was too busy flopping around in the in-law's pool in an attempt to swim 500 meters and 2.) a pretty significant chunk of my time after work was spent with a dead SUV in the Wal-Mart parking lot. By the time we got a cable jump from my father-in-law and by the time I showered and cooled off from my brick workout, I was too tired and cranky to write anything.

Which brings me to excuse number 3.) I've been in a foul mood.

This weekend was just not very good. Not very good at all. In fact, I was relieved to wake up on Monday morning and go to work because it meant I could finally put the drudgery of this past weekend behind me and move on with my life.

This weekend started out well enough. Since I no longer have to drive in rush hour traffic on Indy Fridays, I was home at a quarter after five and had plenty of daylight left to squeeze in an 8-mile run. Normally Fridays are my day off from exercise, but I've become a huge fan of completing my long run on Friday nights so I can have my Saturdays completely free to do nothing but sleep in and go to the pool.

So I ran my 8 miles after work and even though I chose an extra hilly route to "spice things up", I had an enjoyable run. It was quiet, it was a nice change of scenery, and it was the perfect way to unwind after a long work week. Later, when I made my way to the bathroom to was the sweat and road grime off my body, I caught a glimpse of myself in the mirror and was shocked that I still looked presentable. I've heard a saying that if you still look cute after a workout, you didn't do it right. Well, I wouldn't say I looked cute by any means, and I definitely worked hard, but I didn't look quite as train-wrecky as usual. It was weird. It didn't even look like I broke a sweat.

So of course I had to photograph it, what with my excessive vanity and all.

It wasn't until about 10 o'clock that I finally got around to making dinner and by that time, the pizza dough I was working with was a complete, gooey mess (since letting myself have cheese again, I crave pizza like a crazy person). So I grabbed my cell phone, ordered a pizza for delivery and snuggled up with Clayton and a rental DVD of American Reunion (we're big fans of the American Pie series).

I honestly can't remember what I did on Saturday. I know I slept late and we might have gone to the flea market, but it's all a blur until that night. Again, completely disregarding the fact that I needed to make dinner and feed my husband, I asked Clayton if he wanted to go for a bike ride around 7 o'clock. Purchasing a used mountain bike 2 weeks ago and still having possession of my mother-in-law's autobike gave Clayton and I both the means to ride to Kroger for beer. We took the trail that connects to downtown, and in about 45 minutes we arrived. We ran into Kroger with a backpack, selected our beer, and darted back out to the parking lot in no more than 5 minutes.

Walking a few feet in front of me Clayton exclaimed, "The bikes are gone."

"Right," I laughed. "Stop trying to scare me."

But as I caught up with and him looked at the empty bike rack, I stopped laughing. 

Yup, the bikes were gone.

During the 5 whole minutes we were in the grocery store (in broad daylight, I might add) some punks snatched our bikes.

The happy, unsuspecting couple pre-bike theft.
Naturally, my first response was to burst into tears and blame the entire situation on myself. I should have been responsible enough to stay with the bikes while Clayton ran into the store. It was my fault they were stolen. It was my fault because Clay's mom loaned her bike to me, and I should have been the one to stay with it. I should have bought a bike lock ASAP.

I sat down, sobbing hysterically, on a nearby bus stop bench. A homeless man sat down next to me and began yakking my ear off about the cumulus clouds and how strange they looked after all the rain we got that day (It actually rained for most of Saturday!). He paid absolutely no attention to my red face and the giant tears streaming down my face. I didn't want to be rude, but I was clearly too upset to engage this guy in a conversation about clouds. I silently got up and walked away, leaving poor Clayton alone to chat with the old man.

I felt very violated. I know that simple bike theft is not that big of a deal in the greater scheme of things and that it's not even the biggest problem we're contending with right now, but having something stolen from us left me feeling very vulnerable. As we were peddling our bikes to Kroger, Clayton and I were ironically discussing issues of faith (See? We're not all fart jokes all the time.) and having something blatantly taken from us with little regard to how it might affect us hasn't left me feeling very hopeful.

A few minutes later, after calling Clay's house and securing a ride from his mom (we were miles from home, and by that time it was almost dark), Clay and I walked back down the trail to see if maybe whoever stole the bikes already ditched them. A police cruiser drove by and Clay flagged him down, not entirely sure if losing our bikes qualified an emergency serious enough for police intervention.

While Clayton talked to the police offer and filed a report, I kept interjecting with apologies: "I'm really sorry, Officer. I know you're probably really busy dealing with more important police matters like murders, bank robberies, and gang fights. We honestly don't mean to steal your time. If you need to leave to solve a case or do a drug bust, don't let us keep you."

And do I need to mention that I was holding a giant case of beer the entire time I was talking to a police officer about my stolen bicycle? Yeah, I am the pinnacle of responsibility.

The report got filed and the super duper polite police officer told us that bikes are recovered quite often in Bloomington. Clay and I are hopeful they will be returned and have been contacting pawnshops and patrolling Craigslist to see if the thieves are stupid enough to try and sell the bikes locally.

Teresa, of course, was gracious and understanding about the whole situation. When she came to pick up her sorrowful son and daughter-in-law (and their case of beer), she assured us it was no big deal because she hadn't even ridden the bike in years. But that did little to assuage my guilt. Yeah, I was totally ticked that my own bike, the bike I JUST bought, was stolen, but I felt so much worse that hers was taken as well.

So I was without any kind of transportation for the bike portion of my upcoming triathlon. I debated not doing it all. But both Clayton and I knew that wasn't what I wanted.

Sunday night, after being consumed with mixed feelings of guilt and anger at having our bikes stolen, Clay took me to Wal-Mart and bought me a brand new mountain bike. I was too upset about my mother-in-law's bike to feel true excitement over the purchase, but as I wheeled my shiny new bike out of the store, I managed to smile a bit.

Since Wal-mart is less than a mile from our neighborhood, I offered to ride the bike home rather than try to wrestle it into our small car. Not even 200 yards away from Wal-Mart, the bike suddenly locked and I almost flew over the handle bars. I immediately climb off to inspect it and noticed that the back wheel was bent and rubbing against the frame, shedding rubber from the tire into neat little piles all over the street.

It was then that laid the defective bike in the middle of the street, looked blankly off into the distance and muttered to no one in particular:


Fast forward to the following day (yesterday).

Clayton and I loaded the broken mountain bike into the back of his parents' SUV and drove it back to Wal-Mart. In little time and without much trouble, we exchanged the damaged bike for a different model entirely (it was the same price, but had better online reviews) and went on our merry way. We placed the new bike into the SUV and when Clayton put the key into the ignition to start the truck, nothing happened.

Of course.

Clayton tried to turn over the ignition several times, but the engine remained stagnate. "The lights aren't even turning on. I think it's the alternator."

This time, instead of crying, I started laughing.

We sat in the car for about 20 minutes waiting for Vern, my father-in-law, to show up in his work van and give us a jump. While I stood in the 90 degree heat sweating off my work make up and cursing myself for ruining something else of my in-laws', I concluded that forces outside of my control were trying to keep me from participating in this triathlon. 

If I was smart, I probably should have grabbed the new bike (which happens to be pastel purple. Because nothing screams "I'm a big, bad triathlete!" like a lavender bike with flower decals), marched right back into Wal-Mart, and demanded my money back. If I had even an iota of common sense, I would have taken all the bike-related bad luck tossed at me this week and given up on the idea of the triathlon completely.

But I'm stubborn.

And I officially registered for the race this morning.

Bring it on.


  1. We had a bike stolen from Oakdale and I totally get the feeling of being violated. It's so sucky. Craig was using that bike as his main mode of transportation at the time (biking from Oakdale to school at Ivy Tech and work at Menards) and it was suddenly GONE. I'm sure some silly teenager just saw it and took it for fun and cash, but they actually totally altered our lives with that decision and that feels so...dirty.

    And you are getting all of this out of the way now so your triathlon goes perfectly smoothly! :)

    1. Thanks, Cassie! I'm sorry Craig went through the same thing!

      I'm from a REALLY small town, so I guess a part of me still lives in a tiny, ignorant bubble that believes stuff like this only happens in "big, scary cities". It was shocking, I think, more than anything. I guess it's a rude awakening that I need to be more protective of my stuff because even though I would never dream of doing this to another human being, plenty of other human beings have no problems doing it to me!


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