This is my last week of class. It is truly time to hunker down. Last night I decided I would go to school early today. I would study for five hours until my first class started. I got up, took a shower, and made my way down to our apartment’s bike garage.
When I got to my bike, I unlocked it. Then I backed it out of the steel rack. I sat down and started to peddle towards the door. The pedals were ridiculously hard to turn. The back wheel slugged along. I had a flat.
Great! The only day all semester I get up early to go to school and study, and I have no way to get there. I began to devise a plan to get to school in alternative fashion. My eyes move down the row of bicycles still on the stand. First, I look for the ones that have not been moved in the longest amount of time. I then I look for the ones with the easiest locks to disengage. The signs that I have truly accepted the Dutch culture is that I know how to ride a bicycle, and I also know how to unlock a bike without a key.
Before I move a bike that is not mine, I think about the 24-hour security guard in the apartment office. His security camera is on the wall slowly panning around the bike garage. I nonchalantly place my bike back in the rack and walk upstairs to the security office. At this moment, the security guard is dosed off in his desk chair. I edge closer and take a look at his security screen from an angle while pretending to read a brochure on the front desk. The TV screen is on. It shows the camera in the bike garage. The VCR recording the scenes is switched to off, and the tape is ejected.
I quietly place the brochure down and make my way down the stairs to the bike garage. Once there I find the bike I had spotted earlier and pull it off the rack. I pick up the back seat slightly so I can easily move the bike out the door without the rear wheel catching on the bike lock. I open the door, and find myself outside away from the camera view.
Now, to render the lock useless, what I do is run full speed with the bike rolling only on the front wheel. When I reach an appropriate speed I place my palm behind the seat and drop the rear wheel while pushing forward on the seat. The force of the spokes against the wheel lock is enough to break the lock off. I cruised down Watersley, hill after a quick brake check.