911? Yes, This is an Emergency. I Am Locked Out of My Bike.

No, I didn’t actually call 911. Relax already.

There is a pre-story to this story. It is as follows: I love my bike. I know, I know, you remember my triathlon update when I said I didn’t really like my bike and she’s no racer. That’s true, she’s no racer, but she is my bike. She is hot pink and purple (circa 1993, seriously) and has sunshines on the handle bars (thanks, Erik!). It is affectionately known by the family as the “grad school bike” as Kim also used it during her years in grad school. I have also referred to it as the “adult Huffy” based on her excellent sport performance. Regardless of how I tease, I actually really love the pink and purple monster and we travel well together.


I have discovered that riding my bike to work along the Minneapolis Greenway is faster than driving because, frankly, traffic in Uptown is disastrous. Even at 10 am. So I ride ride ride all the way to work and lock up my bike by the Chipotle next door. I do my thing at work, make some tips so I can eat a chicken burrito with guac from said next-door Chipotle, and then ride the trusty pink and purple back home. I don’t eat the burrito everyday, or I would look like the Fat-Bottomed Girls that Queen sings about, where I just like to sing “I want to ride my bicycle! I want to ride my bike!” on my way around town.

So today I followed the routine: wake up, eat, get dressed, ride bike to Greenway, love the Greenway, get off the Greenway at work, make some lattes and such, punch out at the end of the shift, and at this point I would typically ride the bike home. Luckily, this story doesn’t end sadly with a stolen bike. Well, not really, anyway. I went to my bike to unlock it, and despite dialing in the right code several times and pulling with all of my might, the bike lock would not budge. So there I was, with my bike but definitely unable to use it.

I didn’t know what to do, so I relied on an old classic. What do I always do when I have gotten myself into something I can’t get out of by myself? Get my sister involved. It just so happens, however, that I called her actually looking for her husband, who knows the most about bikes and bike paraphenalia. They suggested that his parents, who live in the area, may have some WD40 to lube up the lock or a bolt cutter to permanently relieve the lock of its service. So, the phone tree began. In short it went like this: Me–> Kim–> Someone at Erik’s work–> relayed message to Erik–> who called Kim back–> who called me to tell me she was–> calling Eriks parents, who weren’t home–> so she called again, and suggested I walk to the fire station and ask for help.

Helmet in tow, I crossed the street to the fire station. Their front door isn’t open past 5pm, so I rang the doorbell. Twice. Finally someone came to the door. And then I stammered like a little kid that my bike lock was jammed and I could use some help if they had the tools and time. And then I thought about it– of course they have the tools. These people pull people out of cars and such, they should be able to open my bike lock. Of course, I felt kind of foolish, and said “This must happen to you guys all the time.” Thank goodness for honesty, as the woman who answered the door said “Not really. People get locked out of their cars a lot. But not really out of their bikes. Ever.” Awesome. Thanks. Then they teased me about using the fire department to steal a bike. Yeah, my own bike.

I am glad they said they could help me and 20 minutes and 2 firemen later the bike lock lay on the sidewalk, shredded but open. On my way home, I found myself in a conundrum: I don’t want to buy the same bike lock because I have had that one less than one year and it failed me. At the same time, even firemen couldn’t steal the awesome pink and purple. That’s a quality lock.

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