Bicycle locks are ridiculously easy to break into. All you need is a hammer. I know because my daughter’s combination bicycle lock decided not to open. My first instinct was to cut into it, but all I had was a pair of wire cutters, which did not work. Next, good old WD40, which should actually have been my first thought. WD40, as brilliant of a product as it is, failed.
I searched online how to break through this lock. Turns out, you just have to whack the combination lock portion several times with a hammer. Easy-peasy.
Really, not that easy though. It was an entire day’s project, and by noon the Wyoming temperatures sored to a whopping 70 degrees Fahrenheit, and for Wyoming, that makes one want to lock himself inside with the air conditioner while you stand in front of the refrigerator in nothing but one’s underwear. To be fair, this is in comparison to earlier in the year’s –23. But instead, I was outside, standing on the cement by the bicycle rack, hammer in hand, and the sun beating down on my neck. I was frustrated and mad and pounding on the lock and pounding on it and pounding on it. Then a neighbor walked up. “Excuse me, Sir, what are you doing?”
Okay, she didn’t ask me that, but I felt guilty. Like I was a bike thief, and I’ve had a bicycle stolen from me, and it’s a horrible, horrible feeling.
When I was a kid, my bicycle was white and blue, six gears, slick, thin, street tires and I flew down my town’s roads like a bird. That’s how it felt. How I remember feeling. I ride a bike still now at forty and overweight, but it is a clunky, old, yellow rental from the University. Twenty-five dollars a semester. And today’s feeling is not fun. It is a daily commute to work, and when the end of the day comes along, the very last thing I want to do is get on that bicycle and pedal uphill all the way with zero gears the fifteen plus blocks home. Especially in the
–23 weather, which I have done. If my bike lock had gotten stuck, I would have left the bicycle on the rack and taken the bus.
But my daughter’s bicycle, that is a different story. So I sweat in the sun and beat the heck out of that lock, and she could ride again like a bird, like I hope she does when she is all grown-up.
Going Down Hill on a Bicycle
By Henry Charles Beeching
A Boy’s Song
With lifted feet, hands still,
I am poised, and down the hill
Dart, with heedful mind;
The air goes by in a wind.
Swifter and yet more swift,
Till the heart with a mighty lift
Makes the lungs laugh, the throat cry:–
“O bird, see; see, bird, I fly.
“Is this, is this your joy?
O bird, then I, though a boy,
For a golden moment share
Your feathery life in air!”
Say, heart, is there aught like this
In a world that is full of bliss?
‘Tis more than skating, bound
Steel-shod to the level ground.
Speed slackens now, I float
Awhile in my airy boat;
Till, when the wheels scarce crawl,
My feet to the treadles fall.
Alas, that the longest hill
Must end in a vale; but still,
Who climbs with toil, wheresoe’er,
Shall find wings waiting there.