I live in a “small town” about 30 minutes out from Houston. We have literal neighbors that actually neigh at us, and there are lots of stray dogs and feral cats. It can be a sweet town. Lots of the community is good to us, and lots of people care. There’s an aspect of living in a small town that a lot of people tend to gloss over: homelessness and drug addiction. It can be pretty dangerous, which is why I ride with my big bright orange vest, fully charged cell phone, helmet, and emergency whistle. Juuuust in case. We live in a 600 square foot mobile home and I knew getting this bike would be a risk. Lots of people’s bikes get stolen around here and they are usually pawned off for cash that is then used for drugs/ alcohol. Addiction is a really serious disease, and it breaks my heart that people would literally do just about anything for a fix. My sister bought the most industrial lock we could find at a hefty price tag. She was not messing around, so we decided that with my very limited square footage, to store the bike outside like this:
After R kindly put air in my tires and lubed up my chain, he inspected the bike the way he always does before I ride, because he wants me to be safe. He thought it was all good to go! So, I hopped on to the bike and rode for about ten minutes. Instantly I heard an eerie creaking noise, but I figured I’d get to a less busy street before I pulled off to check it out. As soon as I could I hopped off to find that someone had removed the screw to my wheel cover/ seat stay. In addition to that, they kicked in my rear wheel cover. That means that sometime in the middle of the night, someone walked on to our front porch and tried to disassemble the bike! I was so sad, y’all. For those that don’t know I am a highly sensitive individual. While I am aware that this is an easy fix for my bike, it is still unnerving that someone got past our gate and walked up onto my porch to Disassemble A Bicycle for money. To me that screams desperation! It breaks my heart. I wish I could talk to whomever tried to steal my bike and help them through whatever they are going through. I wish I could tell them that this isn’t just a bike to me; its a mission. I don’t have a car so this is my one burst of freedom. I hadn’t even had the chance to put on my new bike gear we got! And to top it all off this was only day ONE of my 30 days of riding!
Oh well. You win some and you lose some, I suppose! I am counting my blessings that I still have the bike! And of course it makes for a great story on this blog, so that is nice. Gotta find the silver lining somewhere, right?!
We rearranged the house a little bit so we could bring the bike indoors at night. The new plan is for me to wake up before R goes to work and ride during the hour he is at home getting ready for work. I’ll hit the road early each day, come inside, and shower and then nap until A wakes up. It’ll be rough, but we have discovered that everyone is asleep at that time so it is safer to ride and I’m not riding during the evening rush hour with lots of people in a hurry to get home as I have been (a whole other challenge in and of itself!)
I wish I had some deeper post for today but, I’m a little bummed to say the least. I will say this, though: Normally, I would have stopped riding, and even after I discovered the problem, I rode for another mile before I called R to come pick me up. It was a short ride, but it was better than nothing, and I could have just quit. I refuse to miss a single day on this 30 day challenge, even if I do have a few screws missing! It may be a long road, but it is one hell of a ride.
If you or someone you know is struggling, please don’t hesitate to reach out to the Substance Abuse and Mental Health Service Administration: (from their website www.samhsa.gov)
SAMHSA’s National Helpline, 1-800-662-HELP (4357),(also known as the Treatment Referral Routing Service) is a confidential, free, 24-hour-a-day, 365-day-a-year, information service, in English and Spanish, for individuals and family members facing mental and/or substance use disorders. This service provides referrals to local treatment facilities, support groups, and community-based organizations. Callers can also order free publications and other information.
Also visit the online treatment locators.
Remember to be kind to yourself and if you or someone close to you is in serious distress or simply needs to talk to someone, please call the national suicide hotline at 1-800-273-8255.