I was in Santa Monica, ground zero for bike thievery, waiting for a cup at Dogtown Coffee. I had timed it perfectly wrong so that the massive morning throng poured in the moment I arrived.
I was riding my very bright, very orange Giant TCX ‘cross bike, resplendent with its full carbon 100% carbon disc brake FastForward wheels that are made completely of carbon and all carbon.
I didn’t have a lock, which is like going to the South Pole without a jacket, and I leaned my blazing orange bike up against one of the outside tables that line the sidewalk. To make up for not having a proper security device, I took my helmet and ran the strap through the spokes of the front wheel, figuring that whoever tried a hop-and-run would clunk over, giving me a chance to dash out and wrest my bike back.
I ordered, and went over to the front door, standing just inside while waiting for my coffee to get made, keeping my eyes glued on the bike, which was on the other side of the door no more than five feet away.
While staring at my bike, a guy came screaming down the sidewalk on a beater bike, stopped in front of the coffee shop by laying the bike on its side and dragging it to a halt. He didn’t even glance at my bike, and he burst into the second entrance down at the other end of the coffee shop.
The place was packed and he pushed his way towards me, glancing right and left quickly as he tried to figure out who owned the orange bike. Seeing me, dressed in orange and standing right next to the door, his face fell.
“Hey, man!” he said. “That your bike?”
“Yes,” I said.
“C’mere,” he said, urgently. “Gotta tell you sumpin.'” He pushed open the front door and beckoned at me to follow.
“I’m good,” I said, ready to spring at any moment. “I’m waiting on my coffee.”
“No, man, this is really important. I gotta tell you sumpin.'” He was twitchy and kept darting looks at my bike, so I followed him out the door.
“What’s up?” I asked.
“There’s a bike thief out here gettin’ ready to swipe your bike, his name’s Little Eddy, short little dude in a green shirt and a Dodgers ball cap, there he is, right down there at the end of the street!” He pointed.
I looked but didn’t see anyone.
“Aw crap, he just went around the corner. But he’s infamous, man, only swipes high-end bikes that people leave around unlocked, you know, just for a second, they’re gettin’ coffee or a coke and bam, he swoops in and he’s gone. I’m looking out for you, man.”
I looked at the dude. “What did you say he looked like?”
“Little dude. Green shirt and a Dodgers cap. There he is!” He pointed down the street again but no one was there. “Dang! He just went around the corner again.”
I noted that the guy was himself a little dude, wearing a blue shirt and a Dodgers cap.
“That Little Eddy dude is quick,” I said.
“Lightning fast, man, only swipes the good stuff. Not junk like that.” He pointed to his beater bike. “That way you got your helmet snapped around the spokes, man, Little Eddy would make short work of that. Dude uses a pocket knife, like this.” He pulled out his pocket knife and opened the blade. “Cut that thing off in a jiffy.”
“Thanks for looking out for me,” I said.
“Oh, yeah, anytime, man. I saw that sweet ride and I thought man, Little Eddy would have that in no time if you had been in the bathroom or sitting at a table or sumpin’, Little Eddy, man, he is quick.”
“Well thanks for the help,” I said, and gave him five bucks.
“Oh, you don’t owe me nothin’,” he said. “I’m just lookin’ out for you, man.” In the same breath he took the fiver and stuffed it into his pocket. He folded the blade, picked up his bike and pushed off down the sidewalk.
“See you later, Eddy,” I said.
He waved without looking back.
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