Alas, my new bike is gone.
Earlier in the summer, my old bike’s lock had become increasingly difficult to work. I’d put the key in, wiggle it around, strain to turn it, pull it out, put it in again,… Finally I just left it unlocked in its usual spot at the bottom of the stairs, just inside the apartment building, and went to meet my parents for our week in Deng Feng.
When we got back to ZZ, it was still there, but of course the three of us walked, took taxis & buses, and never even stopped to get a good look at the old rusty, dusty bike.
When I got back from Beijing, it was gone. “Good riddance,” I thought. “I just hope the bike theives don’t come looking in that spot for a replacement.” This past Monday, after an abortive attempt to find a used bike market, I walked several blocks to where I knew there were some new bicycle shops. There I looked at all the shops, tried a couple bikes, and finally settled on one for 480yuan, basket and lock included. That wasn’t the cheapest one there, but it was the right size and style and seemed really light and easy to pedal uphill. That last was a big factor, as I live slightly uphill from school, and ending a long work day by pedaling uphill in dress clothes, sometimes with a big bag of books or teaching supplies in the basket and my backpack on my back, isn’t my favorite way to end the day.
I had it for just five days. This afternoon when I left the apartment to do some errands, it was gone! I never even got a picture of it. After some initial frustration, did my best to get over it and learn my lesson. I didn’t lock it TO anything. I asked a friend named Samson about the used bike market, fantasizing about finding it there but more realistically planning to just buy another one, but we found out that all used bike sales have been shut down by the police in the hopes that thieves, having nowhere to sell their ill-gotten bikes, would stop stealing them. (So much for that idea, hey?) BUT, we did find out that my apartment complex has three bike garages – I didn’t even know it had one – and that at least one of them has openings for both manual and electric bikes. Just 6rmb/month for regular storage, 10rmb/month for electric. Thus emboldened, I decided to buy an electric bike once I get some money coming in from my private classes, and store it there under lock, key, and watchful guard. That just leaves me with a couple of weeks of walking everywhere.
Samson called as I was typing the above to say that a student at our school wanted to sell his bike for 105rmb. I went over to take a look. It’s small for me, is a man’s bike (that bar in the middle will take some getting used to while mounting and dismounting), has no basket, and has several things wrong with it, but for 105 yuan, it can last me until I have the money for something better. Hooray, I don’t need to walk to school in the mornings! I bought a second chain to go with the lock that came with it, and now it’s firmly attached to the building downstairs. I also bought a can of spray paint, which I hope to use in the next few days to make it either less steal-appealing, or more pretty, depending on how much skill I manage with the paint can.
bike, take 3
“nice to meet you”
the double-lock job
Bonus picture, to end with a smile. Headline: Clean Laundry Squashes Rubber Ducky!