Thief saves us from hell on three wheels
Updated: 2013-01-24 13:35
E-bikes had opened up to us a new world - that is, the city in which we'd lived for years. We could go anywhere at any time without waiting to be picked up (or, often, ignored or refused) by cabs.
And we could avoid bus travel's parking-lot pace. We live nowhere near a subway stop.
My wife and I were whizzing past traffic jams in bike lanes, and theft was our greatest parking concern.
But e-bikes are limited. You can't easily pile a husband, wife and toddler on one - although it's not uncommon in China.
The e-trike seemed the perfect marriage of the boons of a car and e-bike without the banes.
Our family could cruise to the countryside with several batteries, enabling us to cover hundreds of kilometers, with mother driving, and father, baby, picnics and tent in tow. We knew these vehicles could be dangerous but vowed to drive with extreme caution.
We even considered installing a car seat for our infant daughter, Lily.
My wife and I talked about getting one for months. But it seemed like divine intervention when our old e-bike was stolen.
So we shelled out the cash for a tricycle with a large bucket and customized the accelerator by splicing the wires to draw from two batteries at once.
These power sources were stolen two days after my bumpy ride home, which made pedaling the hefty frame like dragging a dead goat with a regular bicycle.
We considered selling the trike after realizing its dangerousness. But then we thought: We see so many people - vendors, delivery people, recyclers - zip around on these trikes with ease.
They were our inspiration for the purchase.
If they can do it, we can, too. We just need to practice - although preferably in a vast padded room.
Yet we wondered at the trike's value-for-money after experience of our first ride home showed us we should never, ever put our daughter on it, no matter what.
But all that was settled about two weeks later, when the trike also disappeared altogether.
While the latest theft hurt our savings, it probably saved our bodies - maybe our lives.
With the ultimate decision to keep and tame the bike, we were perhaps headed down the wrong road.
And the thieves likely steered us straight - although that almost certainly wasn't their intention when they wheeled it out of our possession.
The following week, we bought a new two-wheeled e-bike.