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Letting go of bicycle grief

  • 03 June 2016


I found the remains of my bicycle on the carport wall. They were broken and twisted, like the body of a victim left to rot in a cheesy serial killer movie.

The police officer told me it was strange. So strange that his partner took photos and dusted for prints.

Someone had taken the seat, the forks and the stem bars — the only things not secured to the building by my D-lock and chain.

I couldn't make sense of the robbery. While sturdy, my bicycle was seven years old, and had seen better days. It wasn't worth much money. Who would buy worn leather and a few scratched bits of metal on eBay? Or risk being caught for second hand parts?

The camera clicked and flashed, but the officer had no easy answers. He kindly suggested I keep bicycles inside our flat from now on. I was so angry I barely heard him.

When I talked with work mates and friends living in the city and its suburbs, I learned similar stories of frustration after having their bicycles ripped off from home. Locked backyard gates seemed to fail as a deterrent. Garages were much the same. It didn't seem to matter how well some bicycles were secured, a clever robber always found a way to make off with pedal powered loot.

I felt the sting of bicycle theft mostly because I enjoyed the many benefits of cycling. My set of wheels took me home safely on so many cold and rainy winter nights, let me zigzag smoothly across wide and empty roads in the early morning sunshine, and got me to work on time when the trains were stuck and the traffic jammed.

I got to see parts of the city that go unnoticed when one is locked into the transport grid by car, bus or train. Bicycles create transport flexibility, reduce vehicle emissions and fuel consumption, improve our health, and help save money.


"I carried those heavy metal limbs up the stairs of the apartment block, and sat them in a pile on the floor of my study. I felt like I'd laid a best friend to rest."


I was in between jobs when my bicycle was stripped of its parts. I'm am not a great at fixing mechanical things, so I did not have the money or means for repairs. Instead, I carried those heavy metal limbs up the stairs of the apartment block, and sat