Man, where do I even start with this story (bike thieves, loss, and karma)? Or the other important thing I want to talk about (mental health)?
I Hate Bike Thieves
I’ll dive right into the first story. I’ve never been good with writing a “lead”, so screw it.
I bought a bike off of a public Facebook post about a week and a half ago. I had been riding a modified bike I owned and making do, but when I came across this beauty I had to have it. It was a ridiculously, gloriously upright drop bar bike, built for gravel and pavement alike. It had clearance for pretty big tires, which were cushy and shielded my back from the cracks in the pavement beautifully. It was tiny (I’m 5’1″), and had a nice low stand-over which was amazing for getting on and off the bike with ease considering my limited range of motion. The disc brakes made me feel confident I could stop for anything, and it had fender mounts. Finally, a bike with fender mounts! Even better yet, it wasn’t in “girl colors” — it was matte black with a few well placed bright red accents. Instant love.
I contacted the seller, went to test ride the bike, and then decided to sleep on the sale. I contacted him the next day and went forward with the purchase. A few quick modifications (making the bars even MORE upright), adding water bottle cages, a favorite saddle, and I was off. I was able to increase my outdoor riding time from 60 minutes to 90 minutes almost immediately with little to no ill effects on my back. I was ELATED. I was cruising around the paths, feeling FAST on this zippy little aluminum and carbon number with the balloon-like, puffy slick tires.
Fast forward about a week after the purchase. I couldn’t sleep the other night and randomly started perusing the Twin Cities stolen bikes page because something didn’t seem quite right about the sale listing. You know when you just get that hunch that something isn’t right? (More about mental health and me not sleeping later.)
There it was, another mom saying her black Felt V85 had been stolen in July. It’s not a common bike, and there can’t be many tiny ones circulating around the area. After some research, calling Felt, talking to Minneapolis cops, and tracking down the owner during her workday, we figured out we had a match – the bike was indeed STOLEN. I was absolutely gutted, and knew I had to get the bike back to her. We arranged a time to meet, and I handed over the bike.
She had promised a $500 reward in her post, but isn’t currently in a place to pay the full reward. I’m out money (the thief still has my $$$), and she is out money too since she paid me part of the reward money out of her own pocket, kind of like paying for the bike all over again. Fuck, this whole situation just sucks. She has the information about the fraudulent transaction needed to contact the Minneapolis police, and I’m not sure where she’ll go with that. If you’re interested in donating to my cause, go check out the GoFundMe I created. I’d just love to break even on this disaster so I can move on and buy another bike.
There it was, another mom saying her black Felt V85 had been stolen in July. It’s not a common bike, and there can’t be many tiny ones circulating around the area. After some research, calling Felt, talking to Minneapolis cops, and tracking down the owner during her workday, we figured out we had a match – the bike was indeed STOLEN.
In the meantime, I can’t go on my 90 minute rides outdoors anymore. I sold the other sub-optimal bike I had been riding to fund this one, so I’m out of bikes that can accommodate my recovering spine. I had even planned to go on my first group ride this morning with my beloved pack, and wanted to pay it forward by leading a C-level group ride later this week. Without an upright endurance road bike I can’t ride outside so all those opportunities are gone. I’m crushed.
The Rage Century
Yesterday I was so sad about the loss of that little black Felt, and the loss of outdoor riding and the possibility of riding with the pack. I cried off and on all day. I had been holding my shit together fairly well during surgery recovery, but this kicked me in a soft spot. I couldn’t sleep last night again as my thoughts were racing all over the place. I replayed every scene from the bike purchase, from the listing and cursing that I had been the “lucky” person to message the seller first, to cursing the fact that I had ever looked at the stolen bikes page to learn that the bike I had was stolen. I stayed up until 2 AM and ended up making the GoFundMe page in the wee hours.
Today, I woke up PISSED. Mad about bike thieves, mad about being out of some of my cash, and mad at myself for buying a used bike and ending up in this mess. I hopped on the trainer because I knew my sanity depended on me getting a ride in today. I started with a goal of 100K (62 miles), then I targeted some inane achievement on Zwift that took me to around 72 miles. I was feeling good at that point, so I decided, fuck it, fuck the trainer, and fuck the world — I’m going for the full century. I don’t care if it’s a terrible idea.
Today, I woke up PISSED. Mad about bike thieves, mad about being out of some of my cash, and mad at myself for buying a used bike and ending up in this mess. I hopped on the trainer because I knew my sanity depended on me getting a ride in today.
Five and a half hours of pedaling later, I was done. I made multiple trips to the kitchen for snacks and lamented that I wasn’t riding outdoors and stopping at a gas station (Kwik Trip!!) with a full buffet of food and drink choices. The good news is that tonight, I feel calm. Finally. My legs feel heavy in a good way, my mind isn’t running at breakneck speed, and I feel more ok with the events of the week now.
That brings me to anxiety. I said I can’t sleep these days, and it’s largely due to anxiety. My body is recovering such that I have more “excess energy” to devote to a racing mind. I’m not quite whole enough to exert myself adequately to calm me down, so I’ve been succumbing, giving in and taking more Xanax. I joke but it’s completely true — my blend of anti-depressants and routine anti-anxiety medications are NOT tuned for a “non-exercising Melissa”.
I know that exercising obsessively is bad, I do. However, at this point in my life it’s better than the other coping alternatives that run in my family. One thing at a time.
My household has been on the hunt for a replacement bike for me, but nothing hits all the sweet spots of the former Felt while staying in a palatable price range. I’ve found a brand new bike that would work beautifully and is a significant upgrade, but it’s over $2K. I’m not comfortable selling any of my regular bikes at this point to fund a different one, because I really hope I’ll be back to normal flexibility sometime next year and able to ride my beloved fleet again.
I may buy a hybrid to get me through, and continue scouring the market for a used bike with all the wonderful specs of the Felt V85. Heck, I may even contact Felt to see if they have any left in stock. Likely no, as the bike was produced in 2016, but a girl can hope. Wish me luck on the bike search, I feel like I’m going to need it.