Bike thieves indirectly contribute to global warming

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By Constance Osuchowski

As you all know, ice is melting, the world seems to be ending and it feels like humanity is going to go extinct in a flaming cesspool of its own garbage.

All I wanted to do was use a form of transportation that would be environmentally friendly, and if that doesn’t work out, at least it would help me get into good enough shape to survive life post-climate apocalypse.

I was already making an effort to be eco-conscious. I was clutching all of my groceries in my arms because I forgot to bring a tote bag and I didn’t want to use a plastic bag; cringing as I hand the Balzac’s barista my reusable coffee cup that has not been rinsed for days, and spending an hour in LUSH smelling different shampoo bars. Sacrificing my time because Mother Nature is worth it. Besides getting stared at in Bulk Barn while spooning sour cherry blasters into what is clearly a former pickle jar, my eco-conscious life was going pretty well. It only made sense to me to roll up my pant legs and do the scariest thing I could think of: start biking in Toronto. 

Growing up in a small town without a driver’s license, I had to hop on a bike and roll down the sidewalk to all my destinations. Moving to Toronto for university, I quickly learned the tiny sidewalks were only meant for pushing your way through crowds on foot and getting way too intimate with passersby. The only other thing I knew about cycling in Toronto is that zip-tying a milk crate to the back of your bike to use as a basket was cool as hell.

My non-biking friends had to pay expensive TTC fares and cram into crowded streetcars and buses, or spend hours stuck in traffic, only to struggle to find parking. I was commuting for free, minimizing my personal carbon footprint. And when it rained and everything was delayed for hours? I could just put on my raincoat, my ski goggles, and reflective vest, and if I didn’t slip on the street I’d be only half an hour late for class and completely soaking wet. 

Naturally, I was very anxious about my bike getting stolen, so I would usually lock it up. One time when I came out of class to go home, I sat down on my bike and immediately realized that someone had stolen my bike seat, but replaced it with another. I think about this chaotic neutral action daily.

That incident was the closest I’d come to bike theft, until recently in this very school year when I had foolishly neglected to make sure that my lock was snug. I loved my bike—it was 12-speed, totally beat-up and an absolute bastard on the streets. When I came out of class and walked up to the bike rack in front of Balzac’s, it was gone. I walked from rack to rack, all along Gould Street.

After I realized that my bike was really and truly gone, I called my dad, sobbing in the middle of Gould Street. 

I tried to be as environmentally friendly as I could, and this is the thanks I get? Congratulations anonymous downtown bike thief, the city of Miami will be underwater far sooner due to your brazen theft. My beloved bike was snatched away from me, as was any hope the Amazon rainforest will last another 10 years. You, sir, have personally killed every polar bear cub with a small, dainty butter knife. If I decide to get another bike, I think I’ll invest in a Kryptonite lock and a little plaque to hang on the basket that says, “Please don’t steal my bike. It is virtually worthless and you will make me very sad.” 

This story is part of Covering Climate Now, a global collaboration of more than 220 news outlets to strengthen coverage of the climate story.

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