Wednesday, August 20, 2008


You better hope your bike isn't too ugly for Union Station. " bike is old. I bought it used from a bike store a few years ago, and it has certainly seen better days. But it functions as it should, taking me from point A to point B," wrote Georgina Ardalan to The Washington Post.
Isn't that what a bike is supposed to do? Get you there, get you back. Ardalan locked her bike near the station--she didn't even tempt commuters and Metro employees by taking it on the train like I would.

But when she got back, the bike was gone. She thought it was stolen and reported the theft at the station. When she reported the theft to a security guard he "promptly retrieved [her] 'stole' bike." But there isn't any relief because Metro "stole" it.

"As it turned out, my bike had been judged to be 'unsightly' by Union Station standards and had been impounded." Ardalan asks if banks will foreclose houses for peeling paint. I wonder if I park at the station if they'll tow my car because I hit a guardrail in the parking lot a few weeks ago and cracked the headlight. (The cover. The light is fine.) Ardalan asks about cars too, but she's not serious. ...I kind of am.

The story made the rounds last week and letters in response included stories from other riders. If a Google search is indication of anything (it's not, I'm just being smug) Union Station does this frequently. It's not clear if Union Station is willing to waste valuable man hours and its already underfunded monies to cut through an industrial strength U-Lock (for the sake of argument I'm ignoring that it's allegedly really easy to break those locks because it's not convenient, I don't think I could do it, and experience cyclists have said, no, not really, it's kind of hype). Just watch, I'll end up near the station to grab breakfast at Taqueria Nacionale before work and hear the sickening whine of a saw. I'll be as disgusted as I would if it were zombies feasting on entrails. (Queasiness is all that holds me back on a zombie attack!)

It seems especially unfair when you consider this bike on Bike Hacks, posted in May. Ardalan's bike is actually really cute. Maybe it has some scrapes, maybe a little rust, but you can't see it in the photo. I see no disrepair, no bent spokes. I see a basket and some cushy handlebars. I don't think my bike can hold to Union Station's standards, and I think my bike is in great condition. I'm paranoid about people touching my cellphone, my cameras, looking at the car from the wrong angle, and I don't think I treat anything better than my bike.

(It was stolen once. It was emotionally taxing. I'd probably have slept with it at night if it had fit in bed when I got it back.)


Anonymous said...

Dude - you were WAY impressive in getting your bike back. Marching over to the creep who took it and demanded it be returned in a timely fashion.

Katherine said...

Thanks, dude! I should put that in my book. Ha ha ha.