At my parents house, in the garage, there was this beautiful red bicycle that nobody had used for years. At 18, when I moved out to rent a small studio on my own in Paris, I took this bike with me.
I was a young student, living alone for first time, so thrilled to finally be “independent.” More than anything else, the bike amplified that sensation of independence. I was free to go anywhere at anytime. Night bike rides in the streets of Paris were my favorite. I had my little secret corners along the way where I used to stop to take a rest and admire the lights of this magical city.
Until the day somebody stole it. At that moment I felt like somebody took away my freedom and put me in jail. I cried my eyez out. I remember walking, sobbing, to the bar around the corner where the bike disappeared. Not sure why I went there, maybe I thought I was going to forget my pain drinking… One man, sitting at the bar, asked me: “What’s wrong young lady?” Devastated, I told him my story. He smiled, took a pen out, wrote an address on a paper napkin and handed it to me. “Come see me tomorrow.”
The day after I walked there. It was a modest office in the 20th district. The guy was a social worker. On the wall, a beautiful vintage bike was standing. “Nobody uses it” he said. “It’s yours.”
And here I was again, riding the streets of Paris, with a big smile on my face. At that moment, I must have been the happiest person on the planet.
Since then, I moved to Barcelona and then to New York. I had many bikes, all shapes and colors. I rode so many streets, roads, paths, adding to so many miles that I do not even dare giving an estimate number. Sadly, I lost contact with my benefactor. Maybe he does not even remember this story, but I will never forget what he did for me. Thus, I dedicate this post to him.