The mystery of the random urban bike

1 04 2015

They’re kind of an urban mystery; bikes that randomly appear in a neighbourhood, locked to a tree or post for days or weeks at a time, left there by someone with no regard for the bike’s survival in rain, or snow. A thief perhaps?

But what kind of thief would steal a bike then go to the trouble of locking it up somewhere? To prevent someone else from stealing it? Or maybe bike thieves are like squirrels; they steal bikes then lock them all about town to give them transport in the coming months of nicer weather, much like a squirrel buries caches of nuts to prepare for winter.

This week an urban mystery bike turned up in our ‘hood. It’s locked with a solid U-lock to a bus stop sign, creating all kinds of inconvenience for people embarking or disembarking from the bus. Nobody knows who left it there. All the buildings around here have bike lockers or storage places for cyclists to secure their rides (or like me, just keep it in the condo proper). And there’s other poles available that don’t cause inconvenience, or offer some shelter to the bike from the elements.

It’s a decent city commuter bike, apparently in good repair. It’s got fenders, a rear rack, even a little mirror. The handlebars are taped. The tires are fully inflated.

Our random urban mystery bike has caught the attention, and ire, of the city.

Our random urban mystery bike has caught the attention, and ire, of the city.

But it won’t last that way for long.

Already it’s starting to fall askew.

If it’s like other urban mystery bikes, parts will soon begin disappearing; first a front wheel, then the rear wheel, then the seat and seatpost. Eventually it will just be a rusting frame and derailleur, still getting in the way of people trying to board or leave the bus.

Or maybe not.

A printed sign has been affixed to the bike’s rack. It’s from the city. It warns the owner of the bike that it is locked to city property and if it’s not removed within a few days, the city will be glad to remove it for the owner. Who’s likely completely unaware of its presence in our ‘hood, and is hopefully already shopping for a replacement.

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