Bicycle obituary – R.I.P. Shirley

Shirley the Surly has been stolen.

Barely a week into her jaunt to London she passed away on Greenman St, Islington. Stolen while I had a wonderful dinner with a whole gang of people loosely affiliated with SoL (jeans). The thieves so keen that they removed the street sign to which she was attached. And, a nearby CCTV / security camera failed (due to it being off!) to catch the guys on tape. No-one in the nearby pub on the corner was really able to help either….

<- See where the hole instead of a pole, and air instead of a bike!

Shirley is survived by trusty bumblebee. Poor old bumblebee the Bob Yak (now lime green, with speckles of undercoat and rust showing through) has survived three (expensive) bikes: Sunshine (Rocky Mountain Edge), A KHS softtail, and now Shirley. Collectively they represent at least AUD$10, 000 worth of bikes I’ve lost. Anyway…this is not about mourning, this is about celebrating the life that was!

Shirley was my trusty steed, whose grace and speed were only limited by my own abilities. She performed brilliantly from Adelaide to Melbourne, around Tasmania and Wildside, free-riding in Geraldton, and round and round the track at a couple of 12 hour races, AND through some pretty heavy snowdrifts mid-winter in Sweden. Touring, downhill, road-races, cross-country, mud, snow, heat and rain…she could do it all. An extremely rare quality in a bike…and the very reason I loved her heavy Cro-Mo, burnt orange frame so much : )

I loved her, but things change (anicca! – Pali word for impermanence) and ultimately you know it makes sense to experience the grief, go through the cycle of grief, and ultimately remain equanimous with whatever arises. My only real source of sadness is that she was real, alive, and truly deserved to be loved…and now may be in the hands of someone who treats her with none of the care and attention I did.

Perhaps if I get some travel insurance money I can start to fill the little hole in my life. Until then, it is a rusty black mountain bike, recovered from the backyard of some other Australian’s house…that I will be using to drag off the expensive road bikes, and oh-so-cool single-speeds from the traffic lights in the London. And, I guess I will get even more into my running : ) If you are moved by all this, please check out Poetica on ABC (streaming audio) for their recent programme on Bicycling Poetry
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