The bike lock

I got the lock off of my bike!

So, okay, here’s the bike lock saga. About ten years ago I got a bicycle. I rode it for about one summer and then stopped.

You see, if I was going to be gallavanting around my neighborhood for fresh air and exercise, I might as well be taking my dog for a walk. A simple experiment proved, forcefully, that my hound is not one of those dogs who trots alongside a cycle in congenial and calm fashion.

After the bleeding stopped I resolved to walk my dog through the neighborhood. I put my bike in the garage. I then — apparently, as I have no memory of this — locked it to itself with a very nice four-digit-combination Kryptonite lock.

In recent weeks I’ve been pondering getting the bike out and riding it. There are some lovely paths and parks nearby, and there are Fitocracy Quest Points to be gained. As I have not touched the bike in ten years, not even to move it from one side of the garage to the other, it needs new tires and some maintenance work. About a week and a half ago N was taking his bike in for spring tuning and offered to take mine as well. Sure! Excellent! Do that, I told him.

I was at the Y when the following text conversation took place:

N: what is the combination for the ulock on your bike?

Me: Ooh, I have no idea.

N: Well, is it likely you’ll figure it out?

Me: Um. Try [redacted]

N: I have tried all combinations of [redacted]

And so forth.

It turns out that bike shops do not simply cut locks off of bikes that you haul in. This, while perfectly sensible, was a point I had never considered. A quick phone call to N’s brother secured us an angle grinder. But J and I wanted to try a few combinations first.

[all combinations of redacted]
[birthday months and days of the kids, in combination]
[birthday months, days, and years of everyone I know, in various combinations]
[0911, 0901, and other numbers related to September 11th, 2001]
[date we moved into this house]
[various dates associated with my job and hiring]
[street address]
[former street address]
[J’s former street address]
[street address of my best friend in third grade — it was 2729 N. 53rd St, Milwaukee, WI, if you’re interested]

I went down to the filing cabinet to see if I’d written anything down. I found that I’d gotten the bike the year before the kids were born, making all the combination attempts with their birthdays particularly silly.

[date I bought the bike]
[date the bike was assembled, since that was on the receipt]


After much discussion, J and I decided to simply try all 10,000 combinations. After all, it took us each about three minutes per 100 combinations. And then our thumbs hurt. So we would take a break and wander back a bit later to try again.

Today, after 9000 possible combinations, J noted that the latch button seemed … wigglier. So I tried the original, first, [redacted] combination that I had suggested to N nearly two weeks ago. This time, it worked.

All we can figure is that the lock mechanism had frozen/jammed/rusted/whatever in the past ten years. The days of us working on it must have jarred it loose. Now the combination worked, and the lock opened.

I am very pleased. Both that it came off, and that the wisdom of Past Me was proven, in that I chose a combination I would, in fact, remember in ten years. Go Past Me! And go Team Us for getting it open!


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