When I was a kid, I had my bike stolen. I filled out a police report with the make, model, colour, etc., and about a month later, I was asked to come back to the police station to identify it from a warehouse of recovered stolen goods. My younger brother went with me for moral support.
Looking back I think he may have been casing the joint.
The officer opened the door to a room filled with bicycles in all shapes and sizes, and led us to the one he believed to be mine. The thing is, it wasn’t mine. It was much nicer than mine. It was newer, shinier, and had bells and whistles I had only seen on bikes in better parts of town.
When the officer asked, “Son, is this your bike?” my mouth started to form the word, “No” when my brother elbowed me in the guts and piped in,
“Yes it is officer! That’s his bike.”
My love affair with biking ended shortly after that. I used to enjoy bike riding, I really did. But bad bike karma set in, and I felt like a fraud riding some other kid’s stolen Schwinn. Would the kid spot me on the street? Would he think I was the bicycle thief? So the bike collected dust in the basement. Mom hung winter coats on it.
A couple of years ago, buoyed by a pursuit of the amorous kind, I decided to hop back on. I inherited a bike from my new flame’s brother-in-law. But when the relationship ended, and I backed my car out of the garage for the last time, that bike let me know the score – in the form of a massive handlebar-shaped scrape down the driver’s side of my retreating Suzuki. A permanent reminder of two affairs that ended poorly.
Karma, it seems, is a dish best served cold.
So when LocalGuiding.com asked if I would take a bike tour of Bangkok and write about it, I was a bit hesitant. I had no issues while renting a bike in Ayutthaya, but this would be different — this would be a guided tour. And where there are tour guides, there are tourists. And tourists judge. I know because I do it all the time. So do you. It’s just our nature. And I am somehow convinced they will see my shady past as clearly as if the words were etched on my forehead – “Bicycle Thief.”
Here’s hoping they don’t.