The Riddle of the Untouched Bicycle and the Missing “O”

2 04 2007

It has, indeed, been a while since I have posted. Certainly a while since I have posted anything serious. I merely write today in order to produce something, however brief, which may serve to break the hiatus. While it may not be Biblical, nor ‘academic’ in any way, it is nonetheless a slice of my recent experience with life.

As yet, I have no car. I purchased one over a month ago but it is most unfortunately taking too long to arrive. In order to give myself a temporary mode of transport, and in order to fulfil a recent dream of mine, I bought myself a bicycle. Not a great bicycle by any means, but a nice bicycle; it is a hybrid Giant, for you possible cyclists in the audience. I am very proud of it.

I am not much of a rider and it is taking me a while to accustom myself to riding in traffic. While travelling down Botany Rd the other day, I became alarmed by the rate at which trucks were hurtling by me and, desirous to remain in one piece, I decided to turn onto the sidewalk. Silly me, I merely sought to merge into the sidewalk like a car rather than turn the wheel into it directly and – poetry in motion! – I sailed ever so gracefully over the front of the bike. I have since purchased a pair of gloves for, not having had a pair at the time, I ended up leaving a small lump of flesh from my right palm sitting on the sunny pavement: a testiment to my passing presence. I have now got my hand wrapped in a bandage (and have had for the past three or so days), which certainly makes writing anything rather time consuming.

I will be brief.

Concerned that I may lose the nerve to ride my bike altogether, I forced myself to realight and ride it (slowly) home. I was only a few blocks away, which was fortunate, for I was bleeding a fair bit by the time that I returned and was beginning to go into shock. I do not deal well with the sight of blood, especially when it happens to be my own. Tying up the bicycle as quickly as I could, but taking care to lock the front wheel as well (these things are rather easy to steal), I then made my way upstairs and passed out for a while on the couch. Mighty warrior that I am.

I did not use the bicycle again that day, nor indeed the following day (which was a Thursday). While I also did not use the bike on Friday, I did come down and check it several times, making sure that I had, indeed, secured the front wheel. Imagine my surprise when, Saturday morning, I gazed down from the balcony to find that I had secured the front wheel, but not the rest of the bike. Gone. Stolen. All that remained was the one sad wheel, tied all by itself to the gleaming metal post. I ran downstairs as fast as I could go.

Funny thing: the removal of the wheel was most certainly deliberate. A small metal clasp needs to be both unhitched and unscrewed, and the front brakes need to be loosened and disconnected. Lest I might still think that it was an error, somebody had quite clearly gone to work on the lock in an effort to take the wheel as well. They had shattered the plastic casing and knifed their way through the rubber tube. Deterred by the thick steel bolt that forms its interior, they then ran off. Here is the strange bit, and the reason behind needing to note that this was a deliberate job. A metre or so behind the wheel was… the rest of the bike. They didn’t take it. They unhitched the wheel, failed to remove it, and left the bike behind. I can only assume that they must have been disturbed and were not able to leg it, unicycle in tow.

Needless to say, I unlocked the wheel, reconnected it, and took the bike upstairs. I wish that it could talk because I would love to know what happened to it to make it look so smug while it rests here in the dining room.

Now, I had another curious experience this morning, and one that I cannot explain. I came downstairs at 8:00, ready to make myself breakfast, and I turned on my computer. What do you know, but it’s missing an “o”. That’s right: the “o” button on my keyboard is… well, gone. This is, of course, an exaggeration. It is sitting alongside my laptop, trying to look innocent. When I came downstairs it was still on the keyboard, but only resting. Somebody (I use that word advisedly) had wrested it from its alphabetic cousins, and left it raised above the rest like a small shocked mouth. I live alone. There is nobody who could have removed it here but me – certainly not since I last used it, which was last night. Perhaps the bicycle thief, who realised that he could not steal my larger wheel, came back for a miniature representation? I am absolutely baffled.

For the record, I do not drink (well, not enough to vandalise my own property and then forget) and I do not smoke. I do, however, like being able to use my (uninsured) laptop and was planning on selling it to buy a better one. Any ideas as to how this might have happened?

I remain, bandaged and c nfused, y ur faithful c rresp ndent.
Sim n.




5 responses

5 04 2007
Dov Goldring


Hey Shimon!!!

How are things going? Its been so long! I love your blog… Some really awesome stuff!! Drop me an email and we can be in contact more…

All the best!
Moed Tov!

8 04 2007

I can’t believe you overlooked the most logical explanation.

Your bicycle, after you not only showed disdain for its ability to keep you safe in traffic but demonstrated your sheer pedic wheellessness by attempting to mount the curb in an improper fashion, warned you once by throwing you onto the pavement.

Once it saw that you inexplicably did not take the hint, it bided its time until the next opportunity to escape presented itself. At first, cuffed to the post, it almost lost hope. But after a while, it figured out that if it twisted its axles just so, it could probably get free. All Wednesday night and Thursday it twisted its contortions, trying IF I CAN JUST GET MY … CROSSBAR UNDER THERE but not succeeding, complicated all the more by the prying eyes of neighbours, accomplices, stool-pigeons – the other members of the chain-gang – and, of course, your periodic, watchful gaze.

On Friday it lost hope. Resigned itself to a lifetime of numb slavery. Gave flight to its dreams of being a mountain bike, having a job that at least had travel opportunities. Despair.

And then it happened. The sunset came, the first stars emerged, and your bicycle began to hear some whispered words. Hushing, shushing words mumbled under breaths “…liknershelshoveit” WHAT? “…hadlik ner shel shove it” SHOVE IT?! It shoved. And broke free.


Its back unshackled, all that remained chained was its front wheel. ALL? HOW THE HELL CAN I DO ANYTHING WITH ONE WHEEL? I’M A BICYCLE, FOR GIANT’S SAKE! Desparate, it pulled out one of its own spokes and started chiselling at the chain. It hacked, stabbed, sliced with all its might – but nothing. The chain of its servitude served its purpose.

And then your bicycle made a decision it never thought it would, could ever, ever make. It decided to gnaw off its own front wheel. It had seen it on the Discovery channel once, in a previous incarnation as a spelunker’s adventure bike. A biped in a cave, its leg trapped. Deciding to sacrifice the part to save the whole. It bit.

It hurt. A lot. But it was worth it. A unicycle – yes; but a unicycle with the taste of freedom and coated aluminium in its mouth.

Saturday morning broke. It hastened to hobble away. And just then, you came out. Its heart sank to the lowest of its gears.

Imprisoned again, but torn with unwanted feelings of gratitude that you had reattached its phantom limb, your bicycle’s mind began to race again. How could it get away? This time for good? Ideas, plans, unceasing dread at being trapped this time perhaps forever. A staged kidnapping. An abduction. That’s it. Here was the plan.

You would come downstairs, to find a note that read as follows:


And that would be it. By the time you figured out the truth, it would be far away – perhaps in Randwick, already.

But how would it construct the note? It knew that, traditionally, abduction notes are pieced together from cut-outs of newsprint. But you don’t get the newspaper, you don’t need it, if you want to know the news, you read it on your computer. THAT’S IT. THE COMPUTER. PLENTY OF LETTERS THERE. (Yes, there were obvious faults in its plan, but hey, it’s a bicycle, give it a break).

And in any case, it only got as far as taking the “o” …

As I said, I can’t believe you overlooked the most logical explanation.

8 04 2007

I note that despite first impressions, my comment was not quite as long as the original blog entry. I still have my pride.

15 04 2007

o o o o …….I found these on my computer keyboard. I have loads to spare if you want more. Just ask and I’ll forward them on.
P.S. What did I tell you about riding a bike in traffic??? Why don’t you listen to your mother?

24 10 2007
Retro Bicycles

Give me an old cool bicycle, and I’ll ride around the city for days.

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