The bike was fantastic. Super fast – rides great, etc. But it ate away at me, stupid conscience, that someone, somewhere was missing it.
So, after much debate, I decided to try to find out. It didn’t take much looking - sure enough, it was 100% stolen and listed in a database of stolen bikes that I found online(www.nationalbikeregistry.com). So I called the database, who put the owner in touch with me, and this is where it gets sketchy…
At first, the original owner (college guy) didn’t really want it back. He was grateful to have found the bike, but he’d already made an insurance claim and was shopping for new bikes. So basically, his insurance claim (if discovered) was void and he’d have to give the money back. So he doesn't really want it back – I keep the bike, case closed, right?
No indeed. I got some legal counsel from a friend, and because I reported the bike as "found" with the National Bike Registry, there was an official report - possibly available to police, insurance, etc. Which bring about all kinds of possibilities for insurance fraud, becoming someone's puppy in prison, etc.
The original owner of the bike thought about it, and he decided in good conscience to take the situation to the Police. He’s really appreciative now – getting his original bike back, doing the right thing, etc. We might even go for a ride some time. He actually didn’t have enough money to buy a new bike anyway after paying the insurance deductible, so it’s good for him to go the legal route. I think he was just surprised at first by the revelation and it threw his plans off – he seems to have come to his senses now. (It’s his parents’ insurance too – I don’t think Daddy was too keen on the fraud idea.)
As for me, I’m out 500$ unless the cops find this guy. Which is doubtful. Which makes me think hard about the choice I made - buying the bike might have been a mistake, but was I obliged to dig for the truth about its origin?
My roommate, who bares
questionable moral fiber, was blown away by the whole situation. He
told me: if you dig up the past all you get is dirty.
“You made the choice to start with,” he said when I was trying to decide if I should find out if the bike was stolen, “there’s no point in doing the right thing now.”
I wholeheartedly disagree – and here’s where the happy, Christmas-like, New Years Resolution-esce part of the story comes in. It’s not often that life lets you make a mistake and then lingers around to give you the opportunity to man up about it and be honest and come clean. And while you can’t control the whole world, or even parts of the world, you CAN control little parts of the world for little windows of time. That’s Free Will, and outside of our personal sense of right and wrong, acting upon that sense is perhaps the only thing that makes us who we are. In whatever corner of the world I control, theft ain’t cool.
Riding, on the other hand, is very cool - so I went for a night ride with Migz, IBMkidIII, and we stopped by ignazjr's place for a beer afterwards. Like everytime I ride with Miguel, I'm reminded that not everyone needs a race bike anyway(or even suspension) to be really, really fast. Things came into focus and I feel like I've gained a little perspective. I did the right thing.
Here's an IBMKIDII
picture. Remember, you can't get by without your friends. Have a great