It's been a while since I updated the world on my journey to learn to ride a bike. If you are new, please read "35-Year-Old Learns To Ride A Bike or Dies Trying" first or re-read it if you've forgotten what an idiot I am.
I'm sorry for the lapse in my story but there is a very good reason. This story is a long and winding road and I was waiting to see where it lead before I shared the details of the tale.
I'd like to start by saying that I'm fairly certain that sh*t like this only happens to me.
You may recall that I was practicing on my old heavy bike that I so lovingly named "Two-Ton Tessie". Well, I locked Tessie up at my workplace on one of the many available bike racks. Then my summer got very busy, with work of all things. The nerve! I didn't have nearly as much time to practice as I'd originally hoped.
That brings me back to Tess. The old girl was missing in action. Or inaction as the case was. I doubted that she was stolen because (a) she wasn't that pretty and (2) as the wrought iron rack was gone as well, the suspect would be hulking, green, wearing torn clothes and yelling "Hulk Smash!". He should be easy to spot.
I called the folks in charge of moving, removing and fixing things. For 2 weeks, I didn't get a response.
Finally, I got the following message:
"Hi. Ummmm, yeah.... give me a call back. I want to tell you what I was told about your bike."
That couldn't mean anything good. I wanted to hear "Hi. Oh, your bike? We've got it right here! We tuned it up and painted it for you. We also added a little bell and some tassels for your trouble!" But, alas, that was not to be. I returned the call. They had needed to move the rack. Clearly. So they had someone cut the locks (I just BOUGHT that lock) with the intention of tagging and storing the bikes. The locks were cut. The bikes, somehow, never tagged or stored. Ouch.
I was told there would be reparations. Reparations! COOL! Now we were talking! Maybe I would get the money to go buy a brand NEW (and hopefully much lighter) version of Tess! I was told to contact someone. Again, I made contact. Again, I got no response for 2 weeks.
I was talking to colleague about my bike woes and she decided to make a few calls. Someone contacted me about my reparations. Apparently, they had decided it would be acceptable to offer me a suitable replacement from some bike graveyard housed in a basement somewhere. Still, I had a chance of getting a suitable, if not better replacement. Only, they didn't deem me worthy to go visit the graveyard and pick out a replacement, lest I pick one of the more treasured and valuable discarded old bikes. No. They would choose one for me.
A few days later, I got an email with a picture of what was chosen as a suitable replacement. I really didn't think there could be a rustier old piece of crap than Tess but, low and behold, I was looking at it!
Really?!? Let's revisit, shall we? My bike wasn't STOLEN. I didn't leave it UNLOCKED. "The Man" cut my bike lock, purposefully removed my bike from its place and left her to meet some awful, untold fate! How is offering me some busted up POS an acceptable solution?!?
The same colleague was as incensed as I was. She made a few more calls and they cut me a check for a modest but acceptable amount. It's not like I was looking to upgrade to a $3,000 road bike.
My good friend and ex-bike instructor (you remember him? the patient and kind one that I relieved from his duties to save some dignity) went with me to pick out a bike.
It had now been nearly 3 months since my last practice. I was a bit apprehensive but confident that with my new bike, I'd be able to master this skill in no time flat... and I did it! I got on and peddled and the bike moved forward and I stayed upright blowing right past my previous 30-foot distance record!
Whooo Hooo! That's right folks! This 35-year-old... ummm, correction... now 36-year-old, can ride a bike!
Now, I just have to master the steering and stopping!