After work today I unlocked my bike, packed up my locks and prepared to get home when I noticed my brakes were not working very well at all. I thought, “someone has tripped a quick release” or something and rolled to a stop. It was only then that I noticed that some genius/friend had removed two of my brake pads, one from both the back and front brake on the right side.

I had to bite my lip as I am always telling people, “people will steal ANYTHING”. I was angry, it seemed more like sabotage than, a theft. To try to make sense out this is foolish, so I have to just let it go.

It didn’t help that I was supposed to be home and had not provided any margin for this kind of sidetrack. Since I am an obsessed cyclist, I know where all the shops on my route are so I pulled into Chelsea Bicycles.

I explained that I’d just gotten my pads stolen and the guy behind the counter, was just as surprised and incensed as I was. He said he’d just been explaining this very phenomenon to two customers who were renting bikes from him.

So they take my bike in the back and begin work…

In walks another customer, with an almost completely waffled wheel. The wheel looks to be a nice, shimano style racing wheel. Amazingly this wheel is bent flat in about three different places.
The customer goes on to explain that he was riding in Central Park, on his way to a nice, out-of-town jaunt to Nyack when a tourist, travelling the wrong way around the park road wiggled in front of him. After doing his best to swerve and avoid they wound up colliding HEAD ON.

She was knocked unconscious and had to be taken away by an ambulance.

He was knocked out for about 10 seconds, woke up on the ground.

So after spending two days on his back recuperating, he was literally trying to piece things back together and get back out on the road.
The shop owner, (and I couldn’t help but chime in) peppers him with questions and makes some quick suggestions:

    • Check the bike’s frame for cracks (it was an aluminum frame, so this is very important)
    • On closer inspection of the wheel, not even the hub was salvageable due to chips taken out and possible out-of-roundness

Customer wanted to get back on the road, but had just blew a wad of cash on these new wheels, had salready sold his previous set and now was looking at not being able to ride in prime season. I suggested getting an inexpensive front wheel, even borrowing one from a buddy.

He was looking pretty dejected at this point, so I told him, the bright side of all of this is that he wasn’t hurt worse.

I also had to laugh at my reason for being in the shop and consider myself lucky… for now.

Lessons Learned:

    • Watch out for tourists
    • Ride slow in areas where there are a lot of people.
    • Speed makes all the difference between having time to react and getting seriously hurt
    • In NYC, always keep a spare set of wheels if you can
    • Expect that people will steal anything, randomly, from time to time

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