There is a clear correlation between the level of anger or upset a person is feeling and their desire to blog. Any mathematician reading this may like to draw the graph. On the graph there will be a line marking the level of anger at which the individual stops sitting on their sofa, staring at the wall, eating chocolate and having an internal debate as to whether or not it is acceptable for twenty-one year old men to cry at the loss of material possessions and starts to type.
This line will be at different points for different people. As a web-savvy student my point is significantly lower than a pensioner who struggles to use their own microwave and fears pressing red on their digital remote might grant asylum seekers permission to tarmac their village green and set up a youth centre. Such a person is unlikely to ever reach their blogging point but may well reach their angry-worded-letter-to-The
My anger stems from the fact that my bike has just been stolen. It may actually have been stolen yesterday, or the day before but as I’ve not needed to ride it, I did not know it had been stolen. It turns out you can be blissfully unaware that something has been stolen if you cannot see it. It is only when you cannot see it in the place you believed it to be that the theft become apparent. My bike had been chained up to some railings under my flat but tonight I discovered the lock smashed and the bike gone. It is an interesting comment on the digital age that the first thing I wanted to do after the swearing and door slamming had died down was to change my status on Facebook to let everyone know. I suppose this is the 21st Century equivalent of storming into the village pub and shouting, “Some bugger’s nicked me horse!” Only in this case replace the word ‘horse’ with the word ‘bike’ and the word ‘bugger’ with the word ‘cunt’.
I had always joked that it was only a matter of time before my bike got stolen; most cyclists I know accept it as an occupational hazard. In the same way a car driver accepts that petrol prices will rise and a rail commuter accepts their train will be late, a cyclist knows that, sooner or later, someone will steal their bike. But this doesn’t stop you being angry and upset when it actually happens. Of course I’m upset at the inconvenience and the obvious financial loss but I think there’s more to it than that. For a start, my bike was a Christmas present from my girlfriend so I feel terrible for losing something which was given as a sign of affection. I’m sure she’d be just as upset if she lost any of the things I’ve given her over the past year, apart from various colds. My bike was the best present anyone has ever given me and now it’s gone.
When I got my bike, only three months ago, I also joked that I should name my bike. I’m glad I didn’t for even though my bike remained nameless, in losing it I genuinely feel like I’ve lost a friend. After all we have spent excessive amounts of time together over the past few months. We’ve travelled all over London and experienced a lot together. We’ve had the best of times (mainly going down hills) and the worst of times (mainly going up hills), but overall I’ve enjoyed our time together. My bike has been there for me. He’s been reliable, dependable, always promising that wherever we are he’ll get me home quicker than the tube. True, we haven’t always got on, at times I have resented his very existence, the way he’d always make me cycle home when it’s raining and I’d rather get the bus or the way he’d decide not the brake fast enough. But looking back I probably just didn’t break quick enough and these aren’t the times I’ll remember. When I think of my bike, with its yellow seat so you could always spot it at a distance and mudguards that were mainly just for show and did very little to guard my rear end from mud, I’ll think of how happy it made me to be able to get around London quickly without the stress and cost of public transport. I’ll think about the laughs we had undertaking taxis and weaving through rush hour traffic. The time we nearly died being cut up by a bendy bus or the confusion caused by an empty cardboard egg tray suddenly flying into our path.
My bike has not died of course, merely gone to the great cycle rack in the sky. Well, more likely Brick Lane market but I have roughly the same chance of seeing it again. If you find my bike, please give it back and have no doubt that if I ever find the person that stole it I will remove his or her nipples with a blunt razor. I’ll leave it up to you to decide whether that was a joke or I really am that twisted. The police let you report stolen bikes online now which makes the process easier but you can’t help feeling makes you easier to ignore. The form had a box labelled ‘Additional Information’ in which I wrote ‘I’m really upset’. I doubt this will help. On pressing ‘Submit’ I was informed that an ‘investigator will contact me’ in the next few days. I’m hoping this investigator will be lifted straight out of a film noir or alternatively Inspector Frost from ITV’s ‘A Touch of Frost’. Because of some dark bike-related back story, will make retrieving my bike a personal quest and will, despite a number of plot-twists involving ex-lovers and counterfeit bikes, find it and return it to me in time for ‘News At Ten’. I know this is unlikely, but will settle for Jonathan Creek.
I know ask you to join me in a minutes panting and sweating in memory of my bike. I’ll miss you Trek 800 Sport. Next time I see a number 25 bus, I’ll scratch the paintwork in memory of you.