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Two bikes. Four wheels. Eight months. Sixteen curses.
That’s the two-times table governing my life now, thanks to the theft of another one of my bicycles this week.
As you know — as everyone in Brooklyn knows — a thief took an ice pick to the tire that is my heart back in July when he stole my bike from in front of my 13th Street home.
Then, this week, my replacement bike was stolen from the ground-floor storage area provided for workers in The Brooklyn Paper’s 55 Washington St. home.
The bike was locked to a specially provided bracket and chain on the wall!
Clearly, someone doesn’t want me biking to work. The good news is that we can probably rule out my cardiologist.
The better news is the outpouring of support I’m getting from the biking community. Not since I broke my ankle last year has Brooklyn been so riveted by yet another one of my highly public tragedies.
“You can quote me as saying that Transportation Alternatives was devastated to learn that Gersh Kuntzman’s bike had once more been stolen,” said Wiley Norvell, a spokesman for the bike-advocacy group.
Norvell tried to perk me up (but failed) by telling me that 60,000 to 80,000 bicycles are stolen off New York streets each year. And then he made me feel like I fell into a pothole when he said that the NYPD has a less than one percent recovery rate for reported bike thefts. (For the record, the 84th Precinct was professional and courteous when taking the theft report; now let’s see if they can crack this case.)
I could look on the bright side, I suppose. “New York City is the nation’s capital of bike theft,” Norvell said. “This city has the craftiest bike thieves.”
Of course, the politicians are already riding over the nine miles of bad road that is my life.
Councilman David Yassky has been pushing an entirely reasonable bill that would allow bikers to bring their wheels inside their office buildings. Even though the bill would not require the building owners to provide anything for the bikers except safe passage to their offices, the legislation is being fought by Big Real Estate.
That could change, given my latest Troubles.
“The theft of your bike could push this bill over the top,” Yassky said.
Then again, maybe the theft is a good time for me to take stock of my riding obsession. I mean, last year, the bastards stole my bike. A year earlier, I was run down on Smith Street and decided it was a good idea to pre-write my obituary (which is in a file marked “Gersh’s Obit” in my computer). A year before that, I wiped out in a pothole on my way to the opening day of the Red Hook Fairway (and bled all over then-Department of Transportation Commissioner Iris Weinshall who, frankly, deserved to be on the receiving end of my oozing fluids for how little concern she showed for my fat lip and cut up face).
Then — indignity of indignities! — a woman named Bernice Kuntzman and claiming to be my “mother,” wrote a letter to the editor of this newspaper in which she wished me a “long, productive and happy life.”
Fat chance, Mom (if that’s her real name). Until I can get around under my own power, putting my mettle to the pedal, if you will, I’m a slave to the MTA and its 23-percent fare hike.
Not to paraphrase the governor of California, but I will be back — though given the economy, it would be nice if someone had a spare bike he’d like to donate.
In case no one caught it, that was a hint, people.
No one caught it, by the way, not even Jane Walentas, whose mogul husband David owns the building where the bike was stolen.
“Sorry about your bike,” the multi-millionairess wrote to me in an e-mail. “I hope you recover it.”
Thanks, I guess. That, and $2.50, gets me a ride on the subway.
©2009 Community Newspaper Group
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