Helen of Marlowe's Blog

Up the Greenway Without a Bike

Posted in "North Carolina", Winston-Salem by helenofmarlowe on August 8, 2012

The older I get, the more I depend upon the kindness of strangers.

We started the day with our decision to go out to Salem Lake. The gravel and crushed-stone trail around Salem Lake is seven miles, a bit longer than my bicycle likes to go when I’m the one pedaling, but I do enjoy the last two miles almost as much as the first five. I can make most of the hills without getting off to push – not all, but most.

So that was the plan – to leave about 9:30 and bike seven miles before high noon. As per our usual M.O. we actually got my bike into the truck about 10:45. We headed up University Parkway, took a left on Eighth Street, and drove on out to Salem Lake, listening to classical WVTF 89.1 Roanoke along the way.

When we got to the lake, the truck bed was empty.

Bob! My bike is gone!

Hard to believe, but undeniable. Nothing in that truck bed but a bungee cord hanging loosely over a few brown poplar leaves.

We retraced our treads, back through the city, knowing it was useless but hoping to find my bike lying on the side of an inner city street untrammeled. I groaned that if the bike had not been run over and was not hurt too bad, then someone picked it up and rode off on it a half hour ago.

What a pessimist.

It turns out the bike stayed with us through a dozen stoplights, and fell off the truck on MLK Blvd.  Heading back, all eyes peeled along the highway, we spotted a bicycle propped up against a chain-link fence at the intersection of MLK and Linden. Bob stopped the truck at the stop light, and while he waited for a left-turn signal, I jumped out and ran across the street.

It’s mine!  It is!  It’s my bike!

I didn’t have the presence of mind to take a photo of my bicycle leaning against that fence, but it would have made a good shot.  Here is where we found it.  A google map photo.  Right there.  See that chain link fence? Propped up right there! I got on it and rode it – or tried to ride it – to where Bob had pulled the truck over.

Click the photo to enlarge.

The chain was off, but I wasn’t sure whether it was damaged or just off.

We took the bike to Ken’s Bike Shop on Reynolda Road, and Ken had it fixed up in ten minutes.

No charge.

As I rode my bike slowly across Ken’s  parking lot on Reynolda Road, toward our unlocked Toyota pick-up, I saw through the open windows that I had left my camera on the seat.

At my age, I guess I can look forward to more reliance on the kindness of strangers.


4 Responses

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  1. Jim Wheeler said, on August 8, 2012 at 9:15 pm

    Nice story, Helen. I must point out that it says something about our culture that your were surprised to recover your bike.

    A few weeks ago Mollie and I went to the Y for our usual workout. I left my glasses, pen and keys with our headphone cases on the little shelves provided for that purpose. 30 minutes later as we prepared to leave I discovered my keys missing – only the keys. A quick scan of the floor of the exercise room revealed nothing and the young man in charge of the floor also came up empty. My wallet, driver’s license and Mollie’s purse were locked in our car’s trunk, so we called our son who works nearby and he drove over to get us, our car keys being among the missing. I was getting ready to drive him back to work and then go home for alternate keys when the Y supervisor ran out waving my keys. We have never found out what happened to them or why they reappeared, but he found them on top of the shelving. They were not there before and I know nobody there who would be inclined to pull a practical joke on me. Weird.

    People still leave keys, cell phones and the like on the shelving. I now carry all my stuff in a fanny pack.

    • helenofmarlowe said, on August 8, 2012 at 9:23 pm

      Jim, I’d make a guess that someone maybe mistook your keys for their own, and then returned them to the shelf when they discovered the mistake? Although the the glasses and pen make that perhaps unlikely. I’m terrible about leaving my keys places. Always they get returned. Always so far.
      I guess the bike incident surprised me partly because the section of the city isn’t the best, and also because it would have been so useful to someone!
      Or – back to the keys — could someone have inadvertently knocked them off onto the floor, and then put them on the top shelf because they didn’t know which shelf they’d been on? I guess that’s not so likely either.
      I guess I’m looking for a friendly explanation.

      • Jim Wheeler said, on August 8, 2012 at 9:34 pm

        Not likely, Helen. I left the keys, pen and eyeglass case inside my unzipped headphones case, and only the keys were gone. However, there are a few people who know I am of a liberal bent. It could have been a prank because non-conservatives in this part of the country are nigh unto social pariahs. That’s my only hypothesis so far.

  2. Joseph Gilmore said, on August 9, 2012 at 6:24 am

    Oh dear … I can’t even imagine how this could have happened, except that, well it’s you two. 🙂

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