In general, I tend to focus on the actual process in which I’ve become embroiled, but sometimes I do reflect on the past couple of years and wonder if this process was really all worth it. Yesterday I spent time going through and finding my bicycle gear. I have been a bicycle enthusiast for many years but have not ridden in the past couple of years.
As it turns out, for all that Vancouver is a beautiful city it does have some peculiar issues. For example, in 2010 over 1500 bicycles were stolen in the City of Vancouver. I’ve experienced this personally, having had two bicycles stolen from me since I moved here. The first was a Klein Pulse Comp that I had modified a bit by adding hydraulic breaks. I’d had it for over 10 years when I brought it up with me to Vancouver. The building in which I bought my condo had secure bike rooms – key fob controlled, with facilities to lock up your bike. I put it in there. Within two weeks it disappeared. While I realize it was “just a bike” I’d had it a long time, put many miles on it, and was really upset that someone else thought I was such a despicable human being they’d take it.
I bought a replacement bike in March 2009. It was a full suspension bike, a Specialized Stumpjumper which they convinced me to buy at Simon’s Bike Shop here in Vancouver. in addition, I bought two locks, both from Kryptonite. One was literally a hardened steel chain with a small hardened lock. The other was a U-Lock. I used both of them to lock up my bike – in the secure bike room. This time I picked one of the two bike rooms that had never experienced a break-in.
That worked until June 2009 – just before I started my odyssey through the maze of immigration, in fact. However at the end of May, 2009 the strata council (those are the elected people who make up rules for the building) ordered that those two bike rooms be closed because they wanted to turn them into offices. While I pointed out to them, in writing, that this would violate the Vancouver building code, they chose to move forward with it. Four days after I relocated my bike into a different locker it disappeared. The thief was considerate enough to leave behind pieces of the lock. Since I was riding 3-4 times per week, I was able to clearly identify when this must have happened. I still remember the feeling of going downstairs to go for my ride, only to find that my 3 month old bike was gone.
The door was fob controlled, it was a small room, I had taken care to secure my bike so that it was not even visible from the door. Thus, the building manager was able to review the logs and determine who had entered that bike room during the short period in question. After a bit of questioning, he found someone who witnessed the theft of my bike but was otherwise uninvolved. Ultimately, it led to the arrest of the person who did steal the bike.
I bought a replacement within days. I didn’t want to let the thief get the better of me. But I also decided that I wasn’t going to ever leave my bike in one of the security controlled rooms either. Initially I kept my bike in the apartment – but it’s small, the strata rules prohibited leaving the bike on the balcony as well as requiring that I had to carry the bike up and down the stairs in the building. This really was a bicycle hostile building – they removed the bike racks in front of the building, cut the number of spaces for storing bikes by 50%, contravening local building code and adopted a series of rules that can only be described as very bicycle hostile. So I started keeping my bike at my office.
Since I moved it to my office I’ve gone riding twice. In three years. As I was digging out my bike gear yesterday morning I realized there are parallels between my bike experience and my immigration experience. Three years – that’s a long time to have something affect your life so profoundly. And yet here I am, three years later dealing with both. Was coming to Vancouver really worth this?
I still don’t know if I’ll be allowed to stay – the work permit renewal application has been submitted (or at least I hope so, as I made sure the attorney had all the paperwork on Friday.) The judicial review application will be argued in mid-October. I should know about the work permit renewal by mid-October. I am hopeful I will have a decision on that quickly, perhaps by the end of 2012, but there are never any guarantees with respect to the timing of such decisions. The judge could announce a decision the day of the hearing or I might not know until the decision is published. Publication could be a week after the hearing or six months after the hearing. Plus, there’s the harsh reality that only about 20-25% of applications are granted. While I have convinced myself that I will be one of those 20-25%, I am realistic enough to know that there is no guarantee at this point. Indeed, one possible outcome is that the court rejects my judicial review application but agrees to certify one or more questions of general importance, leaving room for appeal, which takes another year.
Living in limbo is surprisingly challenging. If it weren’t for the fact I met and courted my spouse here, I know I wouldn’t do this again knowing what I know now. So, in the end it is worth it.
Of course, what prompted this in the first place is that I dug out my bicycle gear. It’s time to start riding again. I just cannot put my life on hold forever.
- Thief swipes reporter’s bike (jsonline.com)
- Protection Measures Increase With Urban Biking (smartsign.com)
- Lightning struck! Vancouver’s Bikeworks found my stolen bike (blogs.vancouversun.com)
- Biking in Manhattan: What You Need to Know (parkingsigns.net)
- The Best Bike Lock [Video] (gizmodo.com)
- The Benefits Of Riding Your Bike (freepeople.com)
- Man spots own stolen bike (upi.com)
- An easy path to more bicycle lanes? (mywheelsareturning.com)