“Hey!” I yelled. “Hey!”
Several weeks ago, I got a hybrid bike to replace the three bikes that were stolen from my garage in mid-May. As a result though, I am hyper sensitive to my bike being stolen. Even when properly locked. (Side rant: being well-locked doesn’t prevent thievery, because they all carry the tools to break those things. what matters is the location of where the bike is stored.)
But because of certain circumstances like scheduling and unexpected meetings at an offsite, I decided to bike from work to the focus group session on 3rd and Brannan. Yes, I could have asked if I could bring my bike inside, but I had no intention to stay very long. I wanted to observe briefly and then take off.
And so that’s where it began. When I got to the corner, I looked around for a bike rack. The closest valid one (beyond meters) was across the street with the typical u-shaped metal thing built into the ground. I had switched to a small u-lock lately, because it was the only lock that I had left…but unfortunately, it doesn’t wrap around the bike very well. So I struggled with it and the cable wrapping the lock eventually only around the backwheel (because it wouldn’t even fit across the frame). But I knew that the seat wasn’t even secured. I hoped that nothing would happen.
Time ticked. I had a free meal (which partly was the reason that I went apart from the fact that I wanted to learn from the participants). Then I felt that I had reached my time limit. Because I was quite conscious about my bike left in broad daylight, left to the open forces. So I left and bounded down the stairs.
You see, 3rd street is very crowded. Not quite sure where everyone is going. Perhaps it’s AT&T park. Perhaps it’s everyone heading somewhere on caltrain. Whatever it is. There are a lot of pedestrians, which seemed mostly to be office workers.
Exiting into the broad daylight at 7 pm, I breathed easily as I saw that my bike was still whole. I started walking toward the crosswalk when I saw a guy on a bike quickly go up to my bike and move his hand close to my seat.
“HEY!” I yelled and started sprinting. “HEY!”
By this point, he had my entire seat in his hand.
“Give me my seat back!” I yelled as loud as I could.
He was startled, because it was obvious that he thought he was going to get away with it. He held it in his hand high above his head as if he was going hit me. He had dark wavy hair just below his chin. A hat and baggy pants. And some mountain bike. Now I wish that I took a picture.
“I could hit you…” he said.
I glared. “Give me back my seat.”
“Okay, okay, here’s your seat.” Interestingly, he placed it back into my bike tube.
Then he left. I glanced at the nearby white women who looked at the situation with a combination of surprise and exasperation. When the guy left, one woman commented, “Did you know him?”
“No! He was trying to steal my bike seat!”
“Oh my god, I didn’t realize. I am so sorry. Does that happen? I wouldn’t have known. I just didn’t know. I would have done something if he hit you.”
“Yes,” I said. “it does happen very frequently. But no worries..it’s not like you would have known. Just that when you see someone with a bike, they shouldn’t be taking things from other bikes. Just watch out for that.”
Then I continued unlocking my bike. Their uber arrived and the women got in.