My friend loaded up my bike on the back of her car and we were off. We chatted and laughed updating each other on the past week, talked about gluten free energy bars and other important things in life. We exited off the highway and filled up at the BP in Lavonia, GA.
As my friend was pumping gas, she noted how large my bike bag was and mentally tucked away that I could possibly store some bars in it. She also noticed a group of people that seemed sort of out of place. Nothing in particular about them but they seemed to be checking her out. They just gave off a bad vibe.
My friend soon arrived and we headed 6 - 10 miles down the road to the ride start. We had printed directions which didn't seem correct so about a half mile down the road, we found ourselves back at the BP asking this group of gentlemen for directions. They pointed out the way even checking the GPS on their phone for us.
When we arrived at the ride start, we made a quick circle of the parking lot looking for a spot to park when we saw KC. We briefly chatted at the car window and headed off to park. My friend pulled the car into the spot and I hopped out of the car. As I was getting out, the exchange went something like this:
BB: Where is your bike???
Karen: (puzzled look on face) Whaaaaaaa????
It was surreal. What do you mean my bike is gone? My initial thought was this was a joke but then I realized it was not. We confirmed that the car had indeed been on the bike rack at the gas station 10 miles down the road. We were certain it was tightened down in the rack and could not have fallen out. Surely, if it were to fall out it would have done so on the 60 miles of interstate we rode prior to the gas station. We retraced our steps after the gas station looking for any signs of my bike on the side of the road.
We began discussing the gas station. All the bad vibes from that group of men who for some reason were hanging out at the BP at 7 AM with all car doors and the trunk open in more than one vehicle. We had each felt odd about them at the time but had not discussed it, it was just one of those things we tucked away subconsciously that didn't seem important.
We came to realize that in those few moments when I was considering whether or not to lock the door while BB was inside the BP, they had taken the bike off the back of the car while I sat there not even realizing what had happened, much like the stealthness of a pickpocket.
We checked inside the store to see if there was video. They promised to review the video as soon as possible but we have not heard back. The bike really wasn't worth much but it was my only bike and it did have a little sentimental value as it got me through Beach 2 Battleship. It makes me sad that it is gone. It also makes me sad that you can't even leave your bike unattended for a second without worrying about someone taking it. I investigated credit card fraud for years and that saddened me on a daily basis - there is a whole industry of people out there who do nothing but steal from others. It is pathetic.
So this is a tale of two bikes... Saturday afternoon, BB and Bruce from Apalachee Cycle set me up with a loaner Trek Lexa to ride tomorrow (he even added on clipless pedals, bottle cages and a little tool pouch). I am going to meet BB early in the morning once again and we are going to head out to Hartwell for day two of the ride. We shall overcome! As much as I am disgusted by those who take what don't belong to them in this world, on the other end of the spectrum, I am always overwhelmed by the kindness of others. Thank you Bruce! :)