The Bike that Meant Everything

One morning when I was young, I went out to our garage to get on my bike and ride around our neighborhood.  It was a red and white Huffy Pro Thunder, and I loved it more than anything I owned.  I remember feeling so fast on it, like I could go anywhere, jump anything, and get to any part of town.

But the bike was gone. Slowly, I realized that it had been stolen, and that I might never see it again.  A few weeks later, it turned up in a parking lot, its wheels beaten into shapes like bananas.  We put new ones on, and I rode it again.

There is a particular kind of pain that comes with a bike theft. Maybe it has something to do with the way body and machine work together, the way the bike is almost an extension of you. For many of us, a bike is more than a possession, and when someone steals one it’s more than a theft. There’s an intimacy to the violation, as if a part of us has been stolen and made into part of the thief.

That’s why, when I heard the story of Brad Rogers, I knew his bike meant even more than that.  Rogers had ALS and was confined to a wheelchair when someone stole it out of his shed. You can read the story of how he got it back in the September issue of Bicycling.

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