Lose a red, get a red

©Barry Sandland/TIMB - Student with her new bike at the Brik event

©Barry Sandland/TIMB – Replacing a lost bike with your favourite colour.

“My bike was stolen. I had it for five years. I like the colour of this one and my old my was red. And the frame is light, as well. It is pretty.”

Photographer’s note: Another student buying a second-hand bike at the Brik bike fair. I usually grimace when I hear another bike has been stolen. Lips purse and I turn up my nose. The story is common and commonplace. There is usually no chance of instance covering the loss. The bike is gone and the rider has to come to terms and move on.

Gratefully, a new bike works its way into our hearts quickly. They are as bad as replacing pets, in that way. All too soon, you have grown to appreciate the nuances of the new ride, the way it handles, the little extras it allows.

I have had one bike stolen in my life. I was visiting London, UK, and the office insisted I lock my bike outside, in the courtyard. It was twenty minutes later and the bike was gone. Just the lock, chewed through my some machine, cast off in the empty space. I went upstairs and, after the required anger at the loose, set about replacing it.

I called about six bike shops looking for the exact same model – a Ridgeback that had been designed as a commuter/mountain bike hybrid. When I found it, I gave instructions for the pedals to be replaced to clip-ons, handlebars to be turned outwards for a longer reach, and the touring tires replaced with something more performance ready. That afternoon, I went to the shop at close of business, paid my money and rode off. For all intents and purposes, it was the same bike.

The replacement came along so soon after the loss, I sometimes forget that I had a bike stolen.

Today I have a few extra bikes and they are all precious to me. One is my 40 year old racing bike, pure vintage and reminiscent of multiple decades and experiences. I would be heartbroken at the loss of that bike, even if it is the least financially valuable of the lot. After all, the value of our vintage bikes is not the cost of the equipment.

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