Monday, August 13, 2007

The effect of potential citizen involvement on crime

Plan B was largely successful: Saturday I left my bike at the Max station where I boarded, in front of a monstrous “24-hour Fitness” – so monstrous that I would be afraid to enter it. That’s the new 24-hour Fitness they recently built to replace the perfectly adequate, normal-sized one that was there before. I heard that their original plan was to leave that wall completely blank, but the city intervened and made them put windows there instead. Even though it remains an unattractive building, it isn’t as unattractive as their facility downtown, which is so ugly, being nothing but a large granite box, that they should be fined daily for defacing the city.

Anyway, the fact that there are windows overlooking this bike rack, behind which numerous people are operating hamster equipment, made me feel like my bike was relatively safe. No doubt the feeling was somewhat illusory, but I did park my bike there for a full day and it was still there when I came back.

But think about it: Dozens of people have come to this gym so they can exercise on pretend bikes, conveyor belt sidewalks, ski machines, and faux rowboats behind a thick multi-layered plate glass wall that protects them from the glorious, most-perfect-in-the-nation weather we’re having. Raise your hand if you think that any of these good citizens, upon seeing someone attempting to steal my bike, is going to sabotage their target-heart-rate goals to jump off their machine, locate a building exit, and run out and apprehend the villain. This is unlikely to happen – you know it and I know it, but we hope that the villain does not know it.

In any case I think I’ll be able to continue to implement Plan B with a few minor adjustments. When I started this post with “Plan B was largely successful,” you probably wondered what I meant by “largely.” More on that tomorrow.


At 10:40 AM, Blogger Jeff said...

"Pretend bikes, conveyor belt sidewalks, ski machines, and faux rowboats". And you can probably do all these things while watching "Reality TV"!

If I'm walking, pedaling, rowing, climbing, etc., I need to be going somewhere! I'd only last a minute or two on the stationary machines before becoming bored. There is no adventure in these things.

At 8:57 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

I suppose people have their reasons for getting their exercise that way, but it can’t be good for your poor psyche to ask your body to do all that work and yet get nowhere. Mental illness waiting to happen.

At 10:27 PM, Anonymous Todd Waddell said...

Just a general note to say that I recently started bicycle commuting from Milwaukie to PSU.

I have sincerely hopes to continue this commute through the rain and the winter. I stumbled across your blog last week and have enjoyed your determination and willingness to share your insights, and at the same time talk a bit about the gear that you have found most essential to making this work over the long term.

I haven't finished going back through all of your past entries, but am really looking forward to it.

Thanks very much for allowing us to join you on this trip.

At 7:37 AM, Blogger kate gawf said...

Wow, Todd, you've totally made my day. You're exactly the kind of person I like to imagine reading my blog! (though I also hope that it serves as pure entertainment for those who have no intention of bicycling). A couple of weeks ago I started putting labels at the ends of all my posts. When I've finished doing that (and now you've really motivated me), you'll be able to click on certain words, like "apparel" and everything I've written on that subject will pop up.
I didn't make it all the way through my first winter because I didn't have the right equipment. That's the make-it-or-break-it thing. Far more important than sheer will and the best of intentions.

At 9:53 AM, Anonymous Todd Waddell said...

Well, tags are cool, but don't go out of your way for me.

I've appreciated your take that gear is important, but you don't get hung up on it. Much of your writing provides the context and experiences to help others anticipate the challenges--and the fun.


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