The Wrath of the Bicycle Gods

I consider myself a fairly rational person, despite my love for all things fantasy and sci-fi. According to the (admittedly suspect) Meyers-Briggs personality test, my personality type is INTJ, and I can confirm that trying to reason things through dominates a lot of the way I view the world.

So when I say that I’ve been cursed by the bicycle gods, there’s a lot of scientific thought backing this statement.

First, the conditions. I got myself a decent bike at the end of the school year so I could get to my internship, which is some 12 miles away. A hefty commute, but I’ve made a habit of long-distance workouts. I didn’t think it would be impossible.

And for the first week, it wasn’t. In fact, I made pretty good time, considering that I hadn’t biked at all in about four years.

Then the bike was stolen the Sunday after my first week.

[In retrospect, it may not have been theft. The make of bicycle I had purchased was one that was extremely popular at my university- I’ve seen two different bikes of the same model with the exact same paint job. The weekend the bike disappeared was graduation weekend, and people were moving in and out of my apartment complex all day. I could easily see a kid telling their parents to load up their bike and the parents doing it without ever realizing they’d grabbed the wrong one. Given that my bike was surrounded by unlocked ones in much nicer condition, I find this quite likely.]

This could conceivably have been bad luck, given that I hadn’t been as careful with the bike as I should have been. Looking back, this was clearly an act of the gods multitasking as a message and a natural cause.

I didn’t listen.

This is where the evidence begins.

I looked up bike shops, but given the length of time I spent on buses each day, I never got back to my apartment until long after the shops closed. Then thunderstorms rolled into the area. My bank account was also a problem.

So I thought I was in luck when my aunt told me that she might have a bike I could use.

It was old, but clearly functional. The handlebars were difficult after the alignment of my old bike, but this was something I would be able to adjust to. Some of the gears were stiff, as were the brakes, but I thought for sure that would wear off.

The bike lasted exactly two days. On the second day, something clanked in the gears, and immediately I felt like I was pedaling through molasses. I was about six miles away from my apartment by this point, so there was really no option other than grit my teeth and keep pedaling. Whatever had gone wrong with the gears did not clank back into place, and by the time I got back home, my legs were shaking from the effort of keeping a steady pace.

This was a setback, but one that I’d figured would happen eventually, given the condition of the bike. All this meant was that a tune-up would have to take place sooner than I’d anticipated. I took the bike in for doctoring, and it was pronounced neglected but fixable. The hours of this store meant another week of buses, but the bike would be repaired. And it was.

And then the flat tire happened.

When I got the bike back, I was told that I should get the tires looked at ‘sooner rather than later’, given the state of dry-rot they were in. I made plans for this, but they weren’t immediate. I’d just paid the rent and turned in the check for the tune-up. I was hoping to get at least another week without spending ridiculous amounts of money, and wanted the bike to get at least through that time.

On Monday morning this week, two days after I’d gotten the bike back, the back tire blew out about ¼ of a mile away from work.

I’d filled my screaming rage quota when my first bike had been stolen, so at that point all I could do was stare. I walked the bike to work and when the day ended, I hauled it back, thanking Pace all the while for having bike racks on their buses.

And then as if that weren’t enough, I overslept on Wednesday to the point that I missed every bus that could get me to work on time and had to take a taxi accompanied by the tortured screams of my bank account.

So what exactly did I do to irritate the bicycle gods so much? I can’t decide if it was my ignorance or my general arrogance about my ability to handle this commute. Perhaps they were bored with mocking riders in brightly-colored spandex and wanted to mess with a new type of victim. Maybe this is a hazing ritual. Or maybe I’m being experimented on as a new specimen.

I’m learning toward a cosmic hazing ritual, but I’ll let you know if any new evidence appears.

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2 thoughts on “The Wrath of the Bicycle Gods

  1. Ouch.

    Bikes are almost as treacherous as cats. I find that when I finally get round to sorting one out, I spend a lot of time on it until it gets a puncture. The moment that puncture happens I instantly lose faith in the entire contraption and consign it to the garage for another six months/years.

    I feel your pain actually, I once got a puncture on the way to work too.

    I think your mistake was becoming arrogant, just like happened with Moses as he lead the slaves to the Promised Land. God struck him down like a bitch.

    • I’ve been sort of wary of bikes ever since the brakes failed on me when I was caught in a rainstorm and I ended up smashing into a tree head-on. It cracked the entire frame of the bike and honestly I don’t think I got on a bicycle until this past summer because of it. Keep in mind, the tree-smashing happened almost four years ago.

      Ah, man. It’s not much fun, is it? I know I just wanted to lie down and never get up again when I saw it happen to me.

      You may be right. But what’s the point in wandering around moaning about how I might not have been able to do when I proved several times that I could? False modesty is just another form of lying…

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