So these were my theories when weird bikes started getting locked up outside my house and on my fence a few weeks ago: Were they gang signs? Bike thief storage? Secret drug sale holders? Some people arrested and couldn't take their bikes in the paddy wagon? A poor man's bike rental business? Amnesiacs going off to see the sights near Roosevelt and State who couldn't remember where they parked their bikes?
And then I checked the theories off the list one by one. 1) Nowhere to really store drugs on bikes like that, a cop friend explained, adding as well that 2) in 30-plus years on the job--and a childhood being raised in Cabrini-Green--he never ever heard of locked up bikes as any kind of graffiti replacement for gang tags. 3) The spots were too open for stolen bike storage. 4) If it was a poor man's bike business, how come the locked bikes never moved from their spot? Not much of a business. And last but not least, 5) how many amnesiacs--or arrestees--could there be parking around my intersection?
Someone in Dearborn Park suggested they were bikes that belonged to NATO demonstrators and when they left town they just stashed them--locked up--for the next time they came to town. Nah, I checked that one off the list, too. These bikes arrived a couple of weeks after NATO.
My homeowners association president called the cops. They said they'd be right over to do something about it. Four times. But they never showed up.
My imagination started going wild with other ideas as to what these bikes could mean? A witch's curse? A marking of the house--or even of the whole neighborhood--for doom? The bikes got creepier and creepier with each and every given day they stayed attached to a pole or a fence post.
I was afraid to blog about it at the time it was happening. Afraid to take a picture and publish it. I was just plain afraid.
But it's all over now. And I won't exactly explain how it all ended or why. (That will be your little mystery
to deal with.) So I felt in the interest of neighborhood history, I would break open a conversation and ask this question: what the heck were those creepy bikes doing locked at my corner for days and weeks on end? Anybody know?
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