You People are Insane.

11.10.2005 | 9:21 pm

I learned a lot from the comments posted yesterday. Specifically, I learned that:

  • Of all the places in the world from which a bike can be stolen, a bike rack seems to be the least common.
  • If you steal a bike, the bike will do its utmost to kill you and return to its rightful owner.
  • You people get distressed over the loss of a bike in much the same way most people get distressed over the loss of a beloved friend. Which makes total sense to me, by the way.

Truthfully, yesterday’s comments on bike theft were uniformly outstanding. Except BotchedExperiment’s, who needs a little work on his begging skills. So, while I can only give a messenger bag to one person, I’d like to hand out several honorable mentions, which are as heartfelt as they are non-negotiable.


Grand Prize

The Banjo Brothers Messenger Bag winner is Al Maviva, with his story of theft, rage, revenge, triumph, and a bunch of crying.


Hell Hath No Fury Like a 10-Year-Old Who Has Just Had His Bike Stolen

When I was a little kid, 10 years old or so, we lived in a semi-rural area on a road that was bordered by forest and corn fields. A lot of teenagers would drive up our road, park and get stoned. We weren’t supposed to ride on the road.

One day I was out with one of my sisters, who was about 7, tooling around on the road on my little red and white Schwinn with coaster brakes and 16” hard rubber tires. This green stationwagon with about 5 teenagers in it pulled up, and a couple kids got out while two or three stayed in the car. One kid blocked my forward progress, and the other knocked me off my bike and then rode away.

My sister started crying and screaming, I started crying and screaming, and I was pissed and scared and totally freaking out, in an enormous hysterical rage. Taking isn’t nice, I guess.

Just then, I noticed these big rocks about the size of bread loaves or a little larger just off the side of the road, adjacent to the cornfield. In a total Hulk fit, I hoisted a good sized rock and threw it — soccer throw-in style — over my head with two hands, onto the hood of the car. It bounced across the hood leaving a basketball-sized dent and some scratches.

The two or three teens in the car started freaking out. While they discussed the situation and shouted to their bike thief friend, I kept screaming and crying, and I hoisted another big rock and heaved it, putting another huge dent in the hood.

The teens were shouting at each other. Meanwhile, I hoisted this enormous rock that was almost too big for me to lift. I was still crying and screaming and blubbering, “I hate you I’m gonna tell on you I hate you,” and so forth.

I staggered over to the car holding the enormous rock, getting ready to take out the windshield. The kid driving the car gets out of the car and I noticed he’s crying. “This is my father’s car! He’s going to kill me! Stop! Please! Stop!” So I blubber, “Gimme my bike back,” and stood there with the rock over my head, basically holding the windshield hostage.

The thief finally saw what was happening, and started riding back to the car. I backed off a couple steps, the teenagers started getting into the car and yelling to the thief, “That little kid is &%$@ing crazy, give him back his bike.” The thief threw the bike past me into the field and jumped into the car, and they peeled away, and I eventually dropped the big rock.

When I finally stopped crying and freaking out and hyperventilating, my sister and I agreed to never speak of this to our parents.


Honorable Mentions

There were lots of good stories, and the only reason I’m not including more of them is because at some point it’d just start to look like all I did today is copy and paste the comments section from yesterday’s post.

Which I guess is what I did, but I’m also adding this clever introduction, not to mention witty award titles. Hey, cut me a little slack, would you?


The "I Had No Idea My Brother-in-Law Is So Bizarre" Award

I have this riding friend who, in an effort to upgrade his lackluster skills, upgraded his lackluster bike. Actually, he bought the Specialized S-Works Enduro in 2003—the whiz-bang super cool anodized one with the Talas fork and the "itch-switch™." Price tag: $5,300.

Geez, it was a nice bike. And geez, he wouldn’t stop yacking about it. So, when he went on vacation for a week, leaving said bike alone at home, I slinked into his garage (actually, I had the super skinny 9 year-old slide under the cat-sized opening for…well…the cat, in the garage door) and I stole the bike.

After he returned, I had it in my home for three days before he noticed that it was gone, and before he noticed the ransom note taped to his front door, replete with disturbing photographs of the bike, bound and gagged with me cleverly disguised as a terrorist with a hacksaw preparing to lop off some critical parts.

The ransom demands were simple: A block of sharp cheddar cheese, a Metallica CD, a copy Mein Kampf, and $25. He thought that I was kidding—obstinate fool. He held out for a week until he realized I was serious. He delivered the goods, all but the block of cheese.

"No bike, monkey boy—not until ALL of the demands have been met."

Later that day I ate cheese, had a good read [editor's note: ?!?!] , and some head bangin,’ whilst he got re-acquainted with his now-tainted aluminum buddy.


Award for Most Secure Bike Ever

I have never had a bike stolen, but I have a good reason why. I put my bike in the company bike rack like everyone else, and I don’t even lock it up. However, I do sit about fifteen feet from the bike rack where I occupy my post as a security officer. We are required to carry a firearm for work, so I figured I can skip the lock.

— uncadan8 

Karma Award

I had put my road bike on my bike rack one day after a ride and, due to the ride-induced malfunction of my brain, forgot to lock it. I went to run an errand and came out of the store after being away from the car for 10-15 minutes max. Not only was my bike gone – but my rack had also been stolen. It was not a particularly valuable bike – but it was what I could afford at the time – and I was ripped.

I’m a nurse and had to be in to work that night – and was assigned to work in the ER. My 3rd patient of the evening was a young guy in his 20’s who came in with a fractured collarbone and quite a few scrapes. We got to talking about biking and the rides we had both enjoyed in the area. At that point, he told me that he’d had a bike vs. motor vehicle encounter that had brought him into the ER.

His girlfriend says "You’ve got to see the bike – it’s on the rack but it’s totally messed up!" I went out to the parking lot – and of course, it was my bike, my rack, and my helmet – which I hadn’t even realized was missing!! Guess that vehicle was one of those newfangled karmas…

— Joanie

Award for Most Shameless Plea for a Bike Bag

Can I PLEASE have the bag? I’ve had 2 bikes stolen. One from university rack, other from car in university parking lot.


Award for Laziest Entry

Can I PLEASE have the bag? I’ve had 2 bikes stolen. One from university rack, other from car in university parking lot.


Award for Most Un-Stolen Bike

I had a properly locked superbe pro/columbus slx road bike go missing from the university racks in 1985. I put in a report with campus security and the police. About a week later I saw a bike suspiciously like mine in the rack behind the science labs. I sidled over and had a look.

I recognised the scratch on the down tube. Then I recognised the lock. Then I remembered that I had visited a friend on the way to lectures on that fateful day. And had arrived from a different direction, and used a different bike rack, and had a memory like a sieve.

—BIG Mike

The "You Traded it for What?" Award

This one is visceral for me. When I was a lad of 8, my Mom bought me my big person’s bike; a new Raleigh Gazelle. I rode my Gazelle throughout the neighborhood in the early mornings and thus established a deep and life long habit of early morning rides that is attached at my core and I follow to this day. One day, I was at the "gully" in our neighborhood finding lead pieces (treasure) from a target shooter long past, when I heard a couple of big kids laughing. I looked up and noticed that the bike they were riding (away from me quickly) looked familiar. It was my Gazelle.

Needless to say, my existence was , well, shattered. I eventually resigned myself to the loss and got back on my 20" Schwinn hand-me-down. Many weeks later my big brother spotted what he thought was the Gazelle in the bike racks at the junior high he attended. He noted the serial number and indeed it was my bike. The police and my brother and my father all waited for the thief to come to the bike and confronted him. I got it back, fenders missing and the handle bars turned upside down. It was cool. I was happy to have my bike back.

I rode it for years and eventually traded it for banjo lessons when I was sixteen. I wish I hadn’t. I miss my Gazelle to this day and I sometimes think I should find another one for old time’s sake. Nowadays, I only leave my bike unattended outside of grocery stores in small towns where I have stopped for treats. I haven’t had any problems. 


The "If It’s Not Locked Up, It Must Not Be Worth Stealing" Reverse-Psychology Award

After 30+ years of riding bikes ive noticed if i lock up a bike, it gets stolen. If i dont lock it up, it stays. Ive never figured it out but it just works for me like that. Andits always the cheap bikes i own that always get stolen. My K-mart special, gone. my discount Diamondback, gone. My Cannondales and S-works, never move. Even all my bmx bikes never got stolen if i left em sitting around, but the minute i locked em up, Gone. 

—Donald Carter 

The "Dude, the Stolen Bike Was the Least of Your Problems" Award

I have a story of a stolen bike but it is, alas, deeply sad. The first real bike, a Trek 320 or some such number, a tourer with the nifty shifters in the drops, champagne. Bought it with my high school graduation money in 1979, rode it everywhere, moved in with a girl I thought I loved, possibly drank too much and certainly engaged in mild drug abuse. Wandered out of the apartment to drink too much, left the door ajar, returned to an emptied out shell of a place.



  1. Comment by Zed | 11.10.2005 | 9:37 pm

    Al had my vote the entire time. That was awesome. Rocky, you were a close second in my book.

  2. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 11.10.2005 | 9:47 pm

    It’s a diverse crowd that flocks to your blog. A diverse and bizarre crowd. Hi Rocky. I can’t believe you didn’t win… must have been karma.

  3. Comment by kris | 11.10.2005 | 9:48 pm

    Did jimserotta say banjo lessons? Oh Lord!!

  4. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 9:50 pm

    Shucks…with Karma what she is, I reckon I’d better head off the the cancer ward. I can feel it coming on.

  5. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 9:54 pm

    Sorry…the actual book escapes my memory…it might have been: "The Idiot’s Guide to How to Win Friends and Influence People." Whatever the case, it was a good read. Editor’s note, indeed.

  6. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 9:56 pm

    al may be a foaming ranter, but what a story, what a storyteller. from a young age, eh al?

  7. Comment by Susie | 11.10.2005 | 10:26 pm

    You picked the right one to win the bag this time. I read his entry several times, each time seeing in my mind this little guy holding a car hostage to get his beloved bike back. That’s great. To bad the kid that stole the bike gave up so fast, I wanted the rock to go in the windshield and the kid have to explain it to his father. Great story!!!

  8. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 10:30 pm

    Boy, when I read that it wasn’t the big messenger bag, I was sure glad I didn’t win!Botched!

  9. Comment by A Dawn Tinsley | 11.10.2005 | 10:47 pm

    I loved these storied. I tried to trackback from my site to this entry because I think EVERYONE should read these stories, but your blog doesn’t seem to accept trackbacks, or MSN is having problems. Either scenario is likely.Rocky may be a karmic black hole, but he is diabolical, I like that!!!I love the visual of a hysterical little kid smashing a station wagon full of teenagers with large rocks. You could write a screenplay with that kind of material.

  10. Comment by Fat Cyclist | 11.10.2005 | 11:19 pm

    adawntinsley – i actually turned off trackbacks a couple days ago. someone was adding spam trackbacks faster than i could delete them. sorry!botched – yes, i too was relieved. i guess. you’ll win next time, though. i can feel it in my bones.svandiver – actually, i was just afraid of what al would do to me if i didn’t give him the prize.rocky – you’ve been drinking at work again, haven’t you?kj – the real story — the unspoken one we all want to hear — is how jimserotta later traded the banjo for a serotta. man, i wish i had a serotta.BIG mike – it’s almost impossible for me to award something to rocky; people would call it nepotism. at this point, if i awarded something to you i expect i’d get the same kind of grief.caloi – rocky would have been an even closer second if you had met him. having known him for nearly 30 years (i met him well before he and my sister married), i have a hard time imagining him pulling the stunt he describes. that said, until recently, he probably would have had a hard time imagining me maintaining a blog like this, either.

  11. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 11:29 pm

    Yes, banjo lessons. In deference to the passing of my beloved Gazelle, I learned to play quite well so it was not in vain. Interested people can visit and read tales of jamming with the Grateful Dead and playing music with the stars. My bike skills will never be notable but my recording palmares isn’t half bad. Another way to look at it is that I could probably suck Lance’s wheel, assuming he went at a moderate pace but I doubt he could do much to back me playing any number of fiddle tunes, banjo tunes, or even vocals. I would be happy to work with him though, out of respect for his career on the bike….

  12. Comment by Unknown | 11.10.2005 | 11:50 pm

    I thought Rocky and Al were probably a tie, but since Rocky is family, Fatty would be wanting to be avoiding favoritism charges. Next time, Rocky, USE A FAKE NAME.I had missed Mike’s entry in there and really enjoyed the additional laughs.CONGRATULATIONS, AL!Hugs to all,MuMo

  13. Comment by Unknown | 11.11.2005 | 12:06 am

    I didn’t even get honorable mention. :( Oh well, back to my hole…

  14. Comment by BIg Mike In Oz | 11.11.2005 | 12:46 am

    Careful Mr Serotta – Lance is the nearest thing to God many of us will ever experience on this earth and I suspect Ms Crow has given him some kind of lessons.

  15. Comment by Big Guy on a Bicycle | 11.11.2005 | 1:55 am

    Yeah, I knew when I posted that Al had it wrapped up. I just added mine ’cause it was so strange.Congratulations, Al. Good one. I laughed, I cried (not really), I cringed (yeah, a little, thinking of that guy explaining to his dad….)

  16. Comment by Unknown | 11.11.2005 | 1:57 am

    I didn’t bother entering because except for the 10 speed that I had stolen in 1972, I haven’t lost any bikes. And back in 1972, Lee H. borrowed my bike, returned it and left it in the driveway, leaning up against the garage door. We had a band practice in my dad’s basement. Lee drummed, looked like Mick Jagger (mainly the lips) and sang like Gregg Allman. Unfortunately, he idolized Neil Diamond. After band practice, we noticed that the bike was gone. So there you are. It wouldn’t have even been a contender. Dog bikes man.

  17. Comment by Unknown | 11.11.2005 | 2:10 am

    Geez Fatty, thanks. I’m honored. Thanks for asking the question and helping me remember one of the funnier experiences of my young life – I hadn’t thought about that incident in nearly 30 years until you asked that question.Rocky – you had great story. I’m thinking we should ride together sometime. It would be disastrous and one or both of us would get killed, between your karma and my caveman mentality. But it would be worth it because it would produce an epic story that we could tell in Valhalla over some mead. Or in Chilis by the interstate over a beer. BTW, are you starting to notice my involvement in a pattern of attacks on cars? I am now too, and it’s worrying me.

  18. Comment by Ariane | 11.11.2005 | 6:17 am

    Al, I knew you’d win this one, which is why I abstained from posting my own story (that, and I’ve never had a bike stolen). I suspect that it is Rocky’s unfortunate karma acting up again that you should’ve turned out to have had such a good story when he otherwise would’ve had this week’s give-away bagged.Oh dear. That last sentence was positively bizarre. Nonetheless, it stays.

  19. Comment by uncadan8 | 11.11.2005 | 3:20 pm

    Wow, my first post on Fatty’s blog and I get an award! I must gloat, since I have nothing else to gloat about. Thanks, Fatty.

  20. Comment by tayfuryagci | 11.11.2005 | 7:21 pm

    Al’s story was really really good but uncadan8’s one was hilarious."Award for Most Secure Bike Ever" that was a fatty trademark sentence. using "ever" at the end of the sentence. :)

  21. Comment by Tyler | 11.17.2005 | 11:25 pm

    Yehh bike theft!


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