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Don’t ride it like you stole it.  Ride it like you bought it.

March 2015
« Feb   Apr »

One of the quotes that drives me up a wall is, “Ride it (or drive it) like you stole it”.  On one hand, it is “cute” in a criminal sort of way.  On the other, what this world needs is not more hugs, kisses, unicorns, rainbows or Care Bears.  It does need more respect for one another.  Stealing someone else’s stuff is the ultimate lack of respect – and what is often done with stolen bikes could easily called sacrilege.

Call me whatever you like, “ride it like you stole it” is…  Just… Wrong.

I much prefer “ride it like you bought it” because it implies respect.  If I were to ride my bikes like I stole them, I’d treat them like crap rather than taking the time to maintain them.

Had I stole my bikes I’d leave them out in the shed where they’d be out of the way, in lieu of hanging them with care in the spare bedroom.  I wouldn’t spend time every week degreasing and lubing the chains, cleaning them meticulously so they maintain that new look for years, changing out the shifter cables every year (or as needed on the Venge – internal routing is the BEST).

I haven’t ridden a bike like I stole it since I was a kid – and no, I didn’t steal a bike when I was a kid.  My parents bought one for me and I treated it like a rented mule.

UPDATE:  A fella who goes by “writingbolt”, in the comments section, correctly points out that we ought not spare the paint job whilst pursuing our daily cranking of the pedals, instead taking it slow and steady so as to preserve the paint job.  Regular readers of this blog will know right away that this wasn’t the intent of the post and that I certainly don’t skulk about to preserve the sheen of the paint.  On the other hand, he’s got a point and it would have helped to clarify that in the post. 

UPDATE #2:  The Fossil Cyclist recommends “Ride it like you mean it” as a good way to be more inclusive.  Eloquently put.


  1. writingbolt says:

    You miss the point of the affirmation, though. Riding something with the respect of an owner who doesn’t want to see a scratch implies going slowly, cautiously. But, riding like you stole something suggests picking up the pace and taking more chances. Sure, you could take it apart and focus on one word literally, but that wasn’t the intent.

    In the words of Ferris Bueller, “Life moves pretty fast. If you don’t stop to look around once in a while, you just might miss it.” Regardless, in the movie, if he didn’t seize the day, his life would probably be less of a tale to tell future generations. Instead, he lived and risked Cameron’s (dad’s) car to do it.

    If we spend all of our time maintaining everything, we might lose/waste time that could have been spent learning or trying something new. And, I’ve never been a cat burglar…except in a past life, perhaps. I’ll still ride my bike cautiously to protect my body, but I will strive to worry less about the bike.

    • bgddyjim says:

      Yup, you’ve never seen me ride – you did the same thing I did. Welcome to the club. Maintaining the bike is just as important to going fast as buying the bike in the first place. Sure, it might be a bit of overkill to polish it up but how fast are you going to be with a busted dérailleur cable or chain? Not very methinks. It’s all good though. Two points for working Ferris into this one.

      • writingbolt says:

        🙂 I know I’m rather lousy about maintenance. I just got tired of being a neat freak in my late teens. I am torn between what is necessary and what I shouldn’t stress about so much. So, I let more go and leave “how long will my bike last” up to chance. I don’t want to be so attached to anything that I am devastated when it’s gone. Nearly dying a few times will do that to you, detach you from your possessions. As people say “things happen for a reason,” maybe, when the bike no longer works, I don’t need it, anymore.

        This concern for the bike makes more sense when I read about your passion for racing/triathlons. You are gearing up for a different hunt, honing your bow skills.

      • bgddyjim says:

        I hear you, I have three decent bikes and one super-freaking-awesome race bike and it is the one material possession that I deeply enjoy. It is the one material thing I thoroughly enjoy – and it cost me a lot of money. It also rides like a dream so I want to make sure I do what I can to keep her hummin’ along. It’s all good brother.

      • writingbolt says:

        But, if something bad happens to that “awesome” bike… I just think of all the “awesome” things I’ve cared for and lost. I regret days when a toy was more important than a friend. I shouldn’t harbor hate for someone because they might be to blame for my prized video game system short circuiting. The friend is as hard if not harder to replace.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Oh, it’s not that expensive I can’t get a new one (with upgraded components and carbon wheels 😎). I’d never fault a friend for crashing me, I’d just get a better bike! I’d have to thank him.

        I think we’re looking at this through different filters. I like my bike but it’s still just a chunk of plastic and aluminum… And they do continue to make them – better, faster and lighter.

      • writingbolt says:

        I guess so. I sense we are constantly out of sync with our feelings. I suppose that’s human nature; not all harmonize perfectly.

      • bgddyjim says:

        Feelings are a pain in the butt. I divorced mine and am much happier! 😄

  2. How about “Ride it like you mean it” – will have different resonances to echo with folk?

  3. EpicGran says:

    Just ride it….. oh and maintain it so it doesn’t let you down. I guess people probably misunderstand us bike people sometimes… when I say “I love my bike” I really mean I love what it does for me, the incredible places it has taken me and the way it has pushed me further out of my comfort zone than I ever deemed possible. As you correctly say it is a material, replaceable item.

    • bgddyjim says:

      I was a little surprised at where that went myself… And you’re right, there are those who just don’t get us. That said, the comment stream was a perfect example of how I write through my filter while others read through theirs. Every once in a while the two clash. Thanks for clarifying even better than I did.

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