Letter to a bike thief

Dear Mr. Bike Thief,

So there I was, sitting in front of my computer on a fuggin’ Saturday, chewing through a hundred yards of wet manure while trying to recover from the plague, and I got an email from my friend Nancy Linn saying that her bike had been stolen from in front of Caffe Tre Venezie in Torrance.

As you know, it was leaning, unlocked, out in front of the cafe while Nancy and her friends had a cup of the best coffee in Torrance. It even had its lights on.

All I have to say to you, Bike Thief, is this: Good job!

For starters, you stole a nice bike from someone who can easily afford to replace it. Actually, she could buy 500 of them, plate them in gold, and it wouldn’t put much of a dent in things financially, if you get my drift. So aces to you for picking the right target.

And then you really pulled a smooth move by stealing it from a group of women cyclists. This particular group is basically trusting and unsuspecting, and wouldn’t imagine that some low-life scumball would scoop up one of their bikes while they were patronizing a local small business. 99% of being a good bully, I mean crook, is picking on people who can’t fight back.

Best of all, hats off for putting in a full day’s work in less than five minutes. That Roubaix you ripped off will get $150-$200 on the stolen bike market, probably a little less, worst case $75, and that’s a heck of a lot more than you could have made staying home watching TV or playing with yourself.

So really, good job. Your parents would be proud of you. “Billy made $75 bucks today stealing a used bike from some women having coffee. Chip off the old block!” Or something like that.

I guess there are a couple of things that bother me, though. It was a great crime, but not a perfect one because, you know, there are no perfect crimes. I mean, there’s that whole thing about stealing from people who can afford nice things and justifying it because you can’t. I get that society is unfair, but the person you stole from isn’t. If you had gone into the cafe, or waited until she came out, and asked her for $75 to get you through the month, she would probably have found a way to help you on the spot. She’s that kind of person.

Problem is, I guess, that you didn’t really need the money to, you know, survive. You just wanted it because you are a lazy bag of dung. So it’s kind of a bummer that a kind-hearted person got stung needlessly. Hopefully that won’t bother you one fuggin’ bit. Heck, I know it won’t.

Other thing that kind of bugs me is that you did it in front of a local cafe. I know you don’t GAF, but the owner, Alessandro, is an Italian immigrant who works seven days a week to build his small business. He makes the best coffee, greets everyone by name, knows your order, and brings a flavor of the Old World to the strip malls and ugly America of Torrance. People come to his shop because it is warm, welcoming … a good place.

And then you swoop in and swipe a bike while his hard-earned clientele is relaxing, well, that kind of rubs off on him, you know? Here you, a lazy petty thief, fling a bad day on a guy who has more work ethic in his little finger than you have in your whole family tree. Welcome to America, asshole, something like that? Of course his customers will understand that lowlifes like you are everywhere, but he takes things personally, and after today everyone will be just a little less carefree and a little more careful. Thanks for spitting in the punchbowl, Bike Thief.

Last, not sure if it’s least or not, is the personal violation that your spur-of-the-moment crime committed. Sure, Nancy can replace the bike. Sure, the Torrance PD are on the lookout, as is the whole South Bay, and sure the bike’s on the stolen bike index registry now. And sure, it’s just a bike. It’s not like you killed somebody. But when someone’s means of transportation is taken away from them and they’re left stranded, you make them uniquely vulnerable and you hurt them in a very special way. It’s why they used to hang horse thieves, Bike Thief.

I’m not suggesting you deserve hanging, but maybe some dental work courtesy of a tire iron might not be too unjust.

Anyway, good job. You made an impression on a lot of people, and like I said, Dad is probably smiling down on you from heaven.

Stolen Bike. Good job, Bike Thief!

__________________________

END

15 thoughts on “Letter to a bike thief”

  1. Thanks Seth, Knowing both Nancy and Alessandro, I can imagine as upset and violated as Nancy must feel, Alessandro and his wife, who have adopted our home as theirs, with personal space extending byond glass windows, and concern for customers, have reacted with similar intensity to the loss.

  2. If bike thieves actually got a respectable amount for some of these high end bikes, imagine how many more would be stolen. However, if you are a low life bike thief, you probably only care that your take is a value that is not equal to zero.

    1. A friend remarked how he cringes every time he sees some shabby dude pedaling around at 12 mph on a Tarmac in the 53 x 11.

  3. Wonderful post Seth. I am hopeful that Nancy will get her bike back as the South Bay community has really gone on high alert. That bike in particular held a special place in her heart as that was the bike that represented her movie: RP The Ride of My life: https://youtu.be/6PoZMi7wrzI

    Hopefully it turns up soon!

  4. Seth, thank you so much for this insightful and powerful blog about Nancy’s bike being stolen. I rode to Caffe Tre Venezie in Torrance with Nancy that morning, along with several other members of the PV Bike Chicks. The sense of betrayal is overwhelming! Sadness, anger, outrage, hand wringing, brain wracking, and empathy for all the parties involved are just some of the recurrent emotions and thoughts swirling around our group and the community. There is lots of work needed to make our world a safer place. Let’s start!

  5. Wow! Beautifully written! It is terribly sad to see what some people will do for a tiny sliver of instant gratification. Definitely not how one should play the long game, well, at least if one has any respect for that unexpected friend called karma. I heard Mr. K is on the way! 😉

  6. There’s a special place in hell for a bike theif.

    I’m just assuming in that this person is an opportunist and probably dosnt even know what they actually have. They probably don’t know that the South Bay cycling community is like a family. We hurt together, but we also fight together.

    None of us could possibly say enough good things about the rider, and I imagine it’s not the bike itself but the memories it made. The amazing documentary she made, the impact on her personal life and health and the impact her and her riding have made on all of us.

    Personally, I go to the cafe often. It’s exactly half way between my home and my bike shop. The coffee is great, the people even more so.

    What’s left from this is a personal yucky feeling that some creep got anyway with a part of this riders heart, the awful taste it left in the mouth of the business owner and the rage the rest of us feel for the rider and this situation.

    My friends at bike index are on the hunt. they are vigilant, and merciless.

  7. 1st – https://bikeindex.org/ – register all your damn expensive bikes
    2nd – That wonderful cafe could improve bike security easily. How about somebody buy a 20ft heavy cable and a decent combo lock? Used for group events like this one. The wonderful cafe can hand out today’s combo to any group that shows up. Anchor one end to something solid, the other end has the lock.
    3rd – Don’t even think some blurry internet camera is gonna help at all.

  8. Thank you to Seth and all your readers plus the South Bay cycling community. I am overwhelmed by all the posts, suggestions, and generous offers. We’ve done all we can and now it is time to close this chapter and ride past it.

  9. This is a terrifically written post though the subject matter is certainly not what one would want to happen to a good friend….or to anyone for that matter. Nancy is one of the loveliest, kindest souls on the planet. I’m hopeful that the thief feels remorse and returns the bike…if not, may the fleas of a thousand camels infest every inch of his body…..just saying.

  10. Carolyn Maynard

    Wonderfully written post for an amazing woman and friend. Words do not seem to do justice when describing Nancy. Not only would she have given him the $75, but also made sure he had plenty of food before he left and given him the jacket off of her back! Nancy, one again, has shown her heart, poise and class in in her response. Ride On!

    P.S. Love Cristina’s “Class A” curse!

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