Skip to content
September 13, 2011 / Thomas Schickedanz

Weird in Altona

The strangest thing happened to me yesterday. I had locked my bike at the Altonaer Bahnhof to run some errands. The bike is a bit broken; the gears don’t work properly since I fixed a puncture, and I couldn’t figure out how to tune those hub gears. Anyway, when I came back to my bike about an hour later, I noticed someone fiddling with it! Usually that could cause concern, as the only time people need to fiddle with other peoples’ bikes is when they’re in the process of stealing it. This is quite a cheap city bike though, and the fiddler was kneeling in a strange position next to the bike, reaching around the back wheel. He was an older man, early sixties, grey-beardy, and wore slightly old-fashioned, somewhat shabby looking clothes. Not exactly your average bike stealer, I thought.

Jovial me, I said: “Hi, are you trying to fix my bike?”, which didn’t really cause a reaction, so I started unlocking it. He continued fiddling. “Are you alright?”. This question caused him to kind of get up and step a couple of paces back from the bike, but he still didn’t say anything. So I asked again whether he was ok and whether he would need some help (in the back of my mind some voice whispered: “Man you’re awefully nice to your personal bike thief today”, but I kindly ignored that). The man was just standing there, coyly looking to all sides possible, avoiding eye contact with me. But he didn’t walk away or bolt.

So after a couple more fruitless attempts to involve him in a conversation, I just sat up on the bike and left. Slowly. Because where I had to pedal madly before, I now had to kick into an extra high gear. A bit perplexed, I realised that the guy must have been in the process of fixing my gears, like so: casually walking around to see any bikes in need and silently lending a helping hand.

A compulsive bike fixer.

I considered turning around and asking whether he could finish the job, but when I turned to look, that man was gone. It felt a bit like just having met Santa, but with quite a bit of an aftertaste of melancholy, like watching Dancer in the Dark in sepia.

Oh, “that video at the top of the post..?”, you may ask. I once heard somewhere that cute pictures of animals or/and toddlers are a real eyecatcher.


Leave a Comment
  1. MacPherson Kate / Sep 13 2011 10:31 pm

    Cuuuuuuuute video!!! x

  2. thomasschickedanz / Sep 14 2011 9:04 am

    See! It’s working!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: