How to look like a bike thief / fool


in Daily updates, Oxford, Rants

You will need:

  1. Fairly heavy steel-framed bicycle
  2. Rear tire so badly blown out the wheel won’t turn
  3. Dark suit and tie
  4. Oxford scholar’s gown
  5. Backpack full of revision notes

To prepare, generate such a rupture in such a bicycle. Ideally, this should occur while you are en route to somewhere about 1000m away, with just enough time left to finish cycling there. Lock said bike to a fence at point X, approximately 1000m from your home.

At some later point, attend a high table dinner in your college, wearing the suit and robe. While walking home, decide that it is time to bring back your bike, despite how it cannot be rolled. Do this despite being (a) highly improperly dressed for the activity and (b) already burdened with a sack full of books and binders.

Alternate between carrying the bike over one shoulder and rolling it forwards on the front wheel, holding the seat post at shoulder level. Make sure to do this at night, in a city with the highest rate of bicycle theft in England.

Surprisingly, two police cars rolled right past me while I was in the middle of performing this awkward, uncomfortable, and suspicious voyage. They didn’t even slow down – probably because they were smart enough to realize that anyone stealing a bicycle would not move it in such a stupid way.

The question now is whether I should put in the time to buy a new tube, remove the rear wheel, replace the tube, inflate it, and re-assemble the bike this weekend, or whether I should wait until after exams. Fixing it would waste more time. Leaving it alone would make it even more foolish to have carried it home.

Whatever is decided for tomorrow, it is back to revision for me now.

{ 5 comments… read them below or add one }

Anon June 9, 2007 at 2:39 pm

Rear tire so badly blown out the wheel won’t turn

Does this just mean that the rubber outer portion was over the lip of the metal? If so, you could have just pushed it back and rolled the bike with a flat tire but without any weight on it.

Tristan Laing June 9, 2007 at 7:11 pm

Not entirely pointless, if you’d left it there it might have been stolen or vandalized.

Milan June 9, 2007 at 7:20 pm

True. Though it’s not much safer here. My seat was stolen from the lit bike rack right across the street from my house one night.

Emily Horn November 25, 2007 at 12:32 am


You are darling. I love your mishap stories. They are always wonderfully bizarre.

Milan November 25, 2007 at 3:02 am


I am amazed you read back this far. It was an amusing mishap, indeed.

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