Takes trash, ‘twas ours, ‘tis his, and has been slave to thousands;
But he that flinches from us our CoMotion tandem;
Takes that which not enriches him,
But leaves us poor indeed.”
With due apologies to Shakespeare, I know two very nice people who have been left ‘poor indeed’. Al and Cindy are fellow Stockton Bicycle Club riders and, like Stoker and me, they ride a tandem. And this summer they have been riding a whole lot, training for a 100 mile ride along California’s Hwy.1 from Carmel to San Simeon. 100 very hilly miles too, and anyone who has ever driven that road knows. But they finished that ride with big smiles at the post ride party.
On Saturday they did the Foxy 100 km ride in Davis, and when they returned home in the early evening they decided to leave their tandem locked to the roof rack top of their car since they were going to drive to Linden for the club ride on Sunday morning. They live in what seems a very nice and safe neighborhood in Lodi, the bike’s front fork was locked to the roof rack, and the front wheel was locked inside the car. They probably didn’t even consider that someone would break a lock on a quiet residential street in an upscale neighborhood to steal a tandem that didn’t have a front wheel. They were wrong. The next morning the tandem was gone, and neither they nor their two dogs heard a thing.
I have suffered through having a very nice bicycle stolen, and it is an awful feeling. At least I had another nice bike and I could still ride. But almost nobody has a spare tandem, so Al and Cindy are not going to be able to ride together for quite a while. And this is a shame; they have been riding extremely well this season and they seem to have at least as much fun as Stoker and I do. They certainly have been doing more riding and more difficult rides than we have, and Cindy is always smiling no matter how hard the hills get.
For most cycling enthusiasts, their bicycle is more than an expensive toy or tool. We spend so much time on them, and create so many memories riding them, that they become part of what we are. For a tandem couple who are also a married couple, this process takes on even more significance; the bike is part of what WE are, a metaphor for our life together.
Stealing anyone’s bicycle should be a felony, but ‘flinching’ a tandem should be a capital crime.