Wheels of fortune

On Saturday night, they stole my girlfriend’s bike.

I thought it was a prank at first. I’d just read this week’s cover story, Raheem F. Hosseini’s exploration of how punks ruthlessly swipe bikes in this city. So when she called, then sighed, “My bike’s gone, will you come pick me up?” I was convinced:

She must be messing with me.

But they really did snag her clunky red cruiser. The one with the torn and sun-damaged seat. And the nearly flat tires. She’d parked it outside of a Midtown cafe. Went in. Came out. Gone.

City police told Hosseini that victims hardly ever call in stolen bicycles. Yet more than 1,000 do. Think about it: Does this mean that some tens of thousands of bikes actually go missing each year?

Welcome to Sacramento, the bike-theft capital of America.

I’m convinced of this fact more than ever in light of my girlfriend’s newfound victimhood. The city’s after-hours shadows are primed for five-finger discounts. And bikes are, apparently, a blue-plate special.

Hosseini—who, by the way, will join SN&R this week as its newest staff writer—tells in this week’s cover story of how two wheels have become a currency among thieves. And that thefts have sparked a new subculture of vigilantism, because the cops are understaffed and, you know, busy solving murders.

I personally have a few tales of two-wheeled woe—the most crushing being when my trusty vintage Raleigh was snagged. It was the same afternoon some heister nabbed Lance Armstrong’s wheels in February 2009. Yes, even the world’s greatest cyclist had his ride jacked in the River City.

Anyway, that old Raleigh devoured the city’s pavement. It even once helped me evade an assault on J Street. It was a beast of steel, metal and rubber. And then it was gone.