The Power of Community
This is a personal story. However, it is a great example of what a community can do when we come together and are all aware of each other and each others needs. My family and I have been car-free for 2 1/2 years. This decision was based primarily on the fact that we really love bicycles and how the world looks from the saddle of a bicycle. All of the other benefits of not having a car (no payment, no gas, no emission, etc.), were just perks on top of a passion. Our little girl, the one in the picture, has only ever known bicycle travel. Sure we have rented cars from time to time and even taken the occasional ride from a friend but, those miles driven do not even touch the miles pedaled.
A few months back we had a bicycle locked up at our apartment complex with the trailer attached to the back of it. We had done this often and had never really worried about anything happening to the bike or trailer. Early the next morning my wife and daughter left for a trip with some family. I stayed behind to finish up some work and school stuff. When I came home from work that evening I noticed the trailer was not on the bike. I checked all the spots we usually would have put it and did not find it. After looking in vain I called my wife. She had not moved it and, had no idea where it was. This is when we realized someone had stolen the only way we had to get our little one around town. My brother and I jumped on our bicycles and searched all over the downtown Provo area. We came up with nothing.
I made flyers, called all the bicycle shops in the area, and, my wife sent out messages on Facebook. Nothing showed up. Luckily we have a wonderful friend you let us barrow a spare trailer that he had until we could afford a new one (thanks again Brad). It took a few months to save up and buy a new trailer but, we finally got one. Even though we had the new trailer we did not give up on the hope that we would find the old one. And then, something awesome happened. We were at the council meeting to express our desire to have a bike lane along with the new BRT and ran into some bicycling friends. We got to talking and one of them asked ” Did you guys ever find your missing trailer?” To which we responded disheartedly “No.” He then began to tell us that a friend of his found a green trailer abandoned at her apartment complex and it might be ours. Both of us were really excited to hear this news. We got in contact with the finder of the trailer and it turned out it was our missing trailer! We were beyond excited. My wife went to pick up the trailer, gave the girl who found it a reward and a million hugs as well as our deepest gratitude. Thanks again to Rob and Bree.
You may be saying, “Well this is a nice story but, how does it pertain to me?” First, do not leave your stuff unlocked even if you think it is safe, and make sure that you have your bicycles registered with the police. Second, is more theory than fact. I believe that bicycles are a social catalyst that attract a certain type of person. The type of person that is willing to help out willing to lend a hand especially to other cyclists when needed. As you read through my story you will notice that this could have been much more devastating to my family than it turned out to be. Immediately on hearing about our loss we had someone loan us a trailer, and then almost six months after the theft there were people, besides us, that were still looking out for our stolen trailer. It seems that there is some sort of unspoken code amongst us cyclists that we all understand and try our best to follow. Is it because we have all had a flat tire when we are in a hurry, or because we have all ridden against the wind both coming and going on a ride, or had to fight traffic, weather, theft, or any other thing that tends to make cycling more colorful? I honestly do not know. What I do know is that I am glad that I am part of a community that looks out for its people even if the only information we have about those “people” is that they have a bicycle and need our help. If you have had an experience with what I am talking about please share it in the comments section. If you have not had an experience with what I have related keep your eyes open I am sure that if you look for it you will see an opportunity to help or be helped within the next month of riding. I would like to give a big thanks again, to everyone who helped us with regaining our trailer and, to everyone who helps us know that we are not riding alone.