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The Spokesman-Review Newspaper The Spokesman-Review

Spokane, Washington  Est. May 19, 1883
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The Slice

Apparently I don’t look like a bike thief

So I rode my bike to Huckleberry's this morning.

My list was in my head: Bagels, port, Chocolove bars, peach kefir and a few other staples.

I secured my bike to the green bike rack outside the store, as I always do.

But when I came back out after shopping, I could not unlock it.

This has happened a time or two before. But the old bike lock always comes free after I fiddle with it for a second

Not today.

I must have tried the combination 50 times. No luck.

I texted my wife, telling her I might be awhile. A bit later, after I had tried finessing and coaxing the lock into opening countless more times, she wrote me and asked if she should bring our long-handle pruning shears. I said "Yes."

I sat down, defeated, leaning up against the east wall of the store and contemplated just how swell life can be. An older guy walking a little dog on a leash paused to let the canine, a pug, sniff me and my bike. That was fine. We weren't going anywhere. 

I didn't think the pruning shears would work. But what was the next step? I figured I could enlist the aid of my friends at Wheelsport on Grand. Surely they have had to deal with this before.

My wife arrived and I got the shears out of the car. I was right. They didn't work.

Then my wife had an idea. Maybe they've got something at Ace Hardware, across the parking lot, that would do the job.

Brilliant! (OK, I should have thought of that myself without having to drag her down to Huck's. But I don't have much experience with slicing bike-lock cables.)

Walking to the hardware store, it occurred to me that they would find my predicament somewhat amusing.

And in my yellow safety vest, bike helmet and old-man sunglasses, I thought I looked like an honest citizen.

But they didn't find my predicament amusing. The key message seemed to be that the bolt cutters were not returnable.

Maybe the guy who sold them to me -- $21.73, including tax -- thought I was a member of the notorious Over The Hill Gang.

So I walked back to Huck's. And by now everyone inside having a bite to eat and facing the east wall was watching. I was ready with a quick, succinct explanation of what I was up to, if anyone asked.

No one did. I guess most bike thieves don't have their wives come rescue them.

The bolt cutters did the trick. One snip, and that was it.

It was so easy that my reaction was a mixture of delight and dismayed shock.

I was using the smallest ones they had at the hardware store, 14 inches. And they cut through the lock cable like it was yarn.

I made a mental note: Get a much better bike lock when I replace the one now on the sidewalk.

So anyway, how as your Sunday morning?

The Slice

The online home for Paul Turner's musings and interactions with disciples of The Slice.