The Mystery of the Transforming Bicycle

So here’s a weird story. Saturday morning, I go out to the backyard and my bike is missing. I don’t lock my bike in the backyard, since it’s a fairly secluded little dead-end street and the bike isn’t easily visible to passers-by. However, someone walked down the driveway, opened the gate, looked behind a screen and took not only my bike, but one of the basement apartment tenants’ bikes.

I was pretty upset about this – not only do I ride my bike everywhere & heavily rely on it as my main form of transportation, it is clearly just not worth very much. Whoever was stealing this bike must not have had monetary motives and was just stealing it for kicks or to be a jerk, which really bothered me. Nevertheless, it was a pretty old bike, so I was prepared to sigh, chalk it up to life experience, and move on (after all, this is the first bike I’ve ever had stolen & I lived my whole life in Toronto).

Weirdly though, the following day, Amanda & I found the basement tenant’s bike just around the corner from our house, leaning unlocked against a post. It was pretty beat up – the tires covered in mud & the brake cable ripped from its housing – but we brought it back and our neighbour was happy to have it back.

The next thing is even weirder: Later that day, a neighbour, who had seen me looking around the back after I first discovered the bikes missing and made brief conversation about the incident, came around the house and told us that someone had called him, saying that they had found a bike. I called her, confirmed the details of my bike matched what she had found and, very happy, went to see her. She is also extremely close – she had found the bike dumped in another laneway that can’t be more that fifty meters from where it was taken. When she brought it out, I was both elated and confused.

It was clearly my bike – I bought my bike in 2009 and have added & replaced all sorts of things, so it has a unique patina – but it had new wheels. Not just tires, but wheels.

This is pretty great for me, since the worst part about my bike was that I had previously had to replace its original wheels with the only ones I had on hand at the time, which were pretty ancient, crappy wheels scavenged from an ancient, crappy bike.

I am just so extremely confused as to what on Earth happened. Someone came into my back yard, made off with two bikes, dumped one of them around the corner from where it was taken, then got some tools and a new pair of wheels, took off the old wheels, put on the new ones, then abandoned the bike in a laneway about fifteen seconds walk from where it was stolen. Oh, and they also adjusted the seat, lowering it significantly. This person had, at minimum, a hex tool, a wrench, and a new set of wheels (no pump or stand though – tires were pretty deflated & the front wheel wasn’t centred).

I had to buy a new bike lock, since my old one – which I left hanging uselesssly on the handlebars of my bike – is nowhere to be found, but I think I probably came out ahead with the wheel replacement. Yay?