When thieves stole his beloved commuter bike on a busy street in broad daylight, PATRICK SYMMES snapped—and set out on a cross-country plunge into the heart of America’s bike-crime underbelly. What he saw will rattle your frame.
MOVIES MAKE EVERYTHING LOOK WORSE THAN IN REAL LIFE.
I used to stay up late watching the film of my bicycle being stolen. It’s amazing what you notice on the 38th replay of a surveillance tape, running the grainy recording backward and forward, pausing and advancing. Sometimes I’d back the tape up to before the 17 minutes that changed my life. All the way back to the part where I still had a bicycle.
Rewinding—past all the New Yorkers striding backward toward lunch; past the Algonquin and Royalton hotels inhaling crowds and the door of the Harvard Club admitting well-fed members; past the New York Yacht Club looming impassively like a beached galleon; past all the finery and civility of West 44th Street—you come to the beginning. You come to him.
The thief. There he is. Caught, if only on tape.