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The Liberation of Lil Blue

Posted May 15 2011 3:53pm
 Well, after two weeks of tearing my apartment apart and many a crowded subway ride to/from work, I finally had to cave and accept the fact that I'll probably never see my keys again. I've had plenty of time to imagine where they could have run off to and I've narrowed the possible scenarios down to two: 1) I accidentally threw them out during my new roommate's move-in weekend or, 2) a shady looking squirrel that hangs out where I lock my bike behind my apartment mistook the giant bike lock key for a chocolate covered nut and the little punk swiped it from my jacket pocket.

Whatever the case, the keys were gone without a trace and it was time for damage control. Because I invested in one of those theft-proof, monster-sized Kryptonite locks, I knew it was going to take a lot more than a couple of bobby pins and some elbow grease to get the job done.

After calling around to a couple of locksmith chains I found online, it was looking like I'd have to cough up close to $100 if I ever wanted to ride Blue again. But this is Queens after all and I knew there had to be a local locksmith that probably wasn't turning up on a random Google search.

Sure enough, Ark Locksmith  popped up on Yelp just a couple blocks from here and quoted me an amazingly reasonable price of $50. Minutes later, a motorcycle rumbled into the driveway and there was shop-owner (and my soon-to-be hero) Roz, armed with a drill gun and looking like he meant business.

Drill, baby, drill.
Kryptonite markets their locks as the best in anti-theft protection, and I have to say I definitely got my money's worth. I've locked Blue up in plenty of shady spots in the city over the last year and the only thing that's ever been stolen was a dinky little headlight and my bike bell (honestly, what kind of person steals bike bells?).

The drill was no match. 
Seeing as Kryptonite makes its name by thwarting even the most experienced bike snatchers (and in NYC, bike thievery has become something of an art form), I was pretty interested to see how long it would take Roz to break through.

He set right to work, trying to drill directly into the keyhole. Ten minutes and what looked like two perfectly destroyed drill bits later, he hopped back on his motorcycle (he's badass like that) and left to get something more heavy duty. He returned with what looked like a small electric saw and it took him all of two minutes to hack the lock in two.
Roz: 1, Kryptonite: 0.
And that was that. Roz to the rescue! He's proof positive that we should all try to support local business as much as possible. While I hope that this will be the last time I lose my keys and have to call in Roz for reinforcement, I'm not quite naive enough to bank on that ever happening, especially given my track record . I'm pretty sure his shop services all five boroughs but they're definitely convenient for the Astoria/LIC area if you're ever in need.

It was amazing how giddy I was to be back on two wheels—pretty much how I felt after a nasty accident last month road-sided me for about the same length of time. So, to celebrate Lil Blue's liberation I had to take her out for a ride.

And I got one word for you folks: WEEEEEE! 

The weather was kind of crappy but a few friends and I decided to trek down to Coney Island anyway. If you haven't heard, May is national bike month and every weekend there's something new going on. We decided to meet at the Brooklyn Bike Jumble in Park Slope, which is like a bike lover's dream flea market. Vendors were hawking everything from $1 tires to amputated handlebars and the aforementioned (and way overpriced for a flea market) Kryptonite locks.

As a cruiser-lover, I got a little excited to see some great vintage three- and single- speeds. 
As it turned out, everyone I was riding with had just purchased brand new bikes. Poor Lil Blue looked like a granny in comparison. It also didn't help matters when someone told her she needed to lube her chains. :-/

When all was said and done biked, I logged roughly 40 miles. It probably would have been closer to 35 or 36, but as usual, I got all turned around in Greenpoint, BK and took what I like to call the "scenic route" to get to Park Slope from Astoria. It felt great though and once again reminded me what a fiasco the Five Boro Bike Tour was. Our route was simple: we took 5th avenue all the way to the Shore Parkway bike path, which wraps around Bay Ridge and offers up some great views of lower Manhattan and Staten Island.
The very pretty (and hilly) Owl Park in Bay Ridge.
You can see my route here on Map My Ride
It rained steadily on the way over to Coney, but I secretly love riding in the rain so I didn't mind. I once got caught in a lightening storm trekking over the Queensboro Bridge into Astoria and if you haven't flown down that bridge with huge bolts of electricity lighting up the sky on all sides, then you, my friend, are missing out.

But I digress. Here's some more photo eye candy of our ride
Corn dogs. 'Nuff said.

My first time here since last summer and after the renovations. Lookin' good Coney!
Under On the boardwalk, we'll be havin' some fun...
Stunning view from the Pulaski bridge overlooking midtown.
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