Gear Prudence: Let me preface this by saying that I’m a guy in my 20s. The other night I biked to the bar, as I usually do, and things, for a change, went well. I met someone, we hit it off, and we went back—by bike—to her place on the other side of town. The next morning I overslept, freaked out when I realized I was late, hopped in an Uber, and accidentally left my bike in her apartment. The problem is, I don’t have her contact info. All I know is the building she lives in and her first name. I don’t even remember her unit number. I mean, it was a one-night hookup thing at a bar, and I wasn’t exactly planning to see her again. How am I supposed to get back my bike back? —OK, Nobody Ever Necessarily Intends Going Home To Someone’s Trendy Apartment, Nervously Dashing
Dear ONENIGHTSTAND: Let’s hope she reads this. Unfortunately, there’s no letter this week that starts, “Gear Prudence: I hooked up with a jackass and he left his stupid bike in my apartment. How do I sell it and/or stop hooking up with losers?” If that were the case, GP could play matchmaker and you’d be all set. Instead we have to get creative.
The best, but least likely-to-be-efficacious option, is to keep going back to the same bar and hope she returns. If she does, it’ll be awkward, but hopefully your copious apologies can result in a successful recovery. This strategy relies way too much on good fortune. The sheer number of bars in D.C. means that this will almost assuredly not work. But at least if she never comes back, you can drink away the sorrows of having lost your ride.
To up your chances, be more proactive. Tweets and Craigslist posts are good, but instead go old school and post flyers in her neighborhood. Tacking “Lost bike. Well, not exactly lost. It’s complicated” signs on lampposts on the block or two around her apartment might yield a result if she’s sympathetic, which is in not guaranteed. (Your bolting without getting a phone number, nor her offering one, doesn’t suggest a deep desire to reconnect.) In the meantime, figure out where her building’s dumpster is. If she has no intention of keeping the bike or finding you, she’ll probably ditch it somewhere nearby. Don’t be a creeper and wait around by her building and hope to see her. That’s very bad. You can try to leave a note with her name in the lobby, but don’t expect much help from any building staff or neighbors. No one should ever let you back into her apartment under such a flimsy pretense.
It might just be time to accept the bike is gone. In the future, if you must bike to and from the bar, avoid this whole mess by taking Bikeshare. This is pretty much why they invented it. —GP
Gear Prudence is Brian McEntee, who writes @sharrowsdc. Got a question about bicycling? Email email@example.com.