An Open Letter to My Bike Wheel Thief from Jim Dowd

An open letter to the person who stole my rear bike wheel at the Gloucester Train Station yesterday:


Dear Douchebag;

So, I stepped off the train yesterday to find you had run off with my real wheel. Really, Douchebag? Really? I was coming home from work… wait, I should explain. Work is this thing I do- It’s sort of cool. I go into Boston and do interesting stuff with technology and science and then they pay me money so I can buy the goods and services my family needs. You should go to your local library and check out this whole “having a job” business, you will learn all kinds of neat things. Many of the most famous people in history, for instance, had jobs. The Roman Emperor Valarian, (253-360 AD) had one and so does Snoop (1971-Present).

As you do your research you’ll find that not everyone has a job all the time, but even folks that don’t have one usually find other useful things to do like volunteer or get additional training. Based on what your skill set is probably like maybe you could offer to serve as ballast on a ship or as a large, lumpy thing to put in front of a door to keep it propped open. The point is, doing most anything is better than just sitting around, though that in and of itself is preferable to making a public nuisance of yourself as you have done.

It’s important to note that I had to purchase this bike last September after somebody stole my previous one (the beloved Madeline) from the exact same place you took my wheel. You’d think I’d wise up and not park my bike there, but I sort of don’t have a choice, that’s where the locking station is. I secure the front wheel to the frame with that great big chain you probably noticed, but I didn’t think anybody would be enough of a massive pestilent ass-boil as to unship my rear wheel, detach it from the bike and stagger off as you did. But here you are, proving me wrong. I guess in some weird way that’s a kind of public service you’re providing, sorta. Maybe you should still try out for the doorstop job though, just to keep your eyes on the prize.

So its drugs right? Maybe I’m still in denial, but I just can’t imagine that any non-impaired human mind has the potential to be this profoundly lame. Though I don’t have much experience myself I hear from some of the musicians I like speak frequently about how much fun drugs are. One time I even got stuck on a bus in a snowstorm next to this guy who for some reason found it necessary to spend seven hours explaining the supreme excellence of various specific types in exquisite detail, so, I get it. Drugs are fun. I too enjoy a number of recreational activities such as reading, boating and electronics. But, key difference here my man DB, if at any time I find myself thinking, “I should commit a petty crime so I can make a circuit board for this hobby project,” I will drop my soldering iron and seek help immediately. See the difference?

And it was a petty crime, wasn’t it? That’s another key point. Besides obviously having nothing to do in the middle of the day than steal people’s stuff, you haven’t even put very much effort into being a criminal. You took the back wheel off an unattended bike at the train station. Not exactly Professor Moriarty are we? (your local library will have information as to who Professor Moriarty is and why that’s funny.) Cool criminals from literature typically live by an internal code that define an alternate, but rigidly defined morality. You, on the other hand, live by a large pile of scratched lottery tickets and empty Natural Ice cans.

Yeah, I know poverty is endemic and addiction is a disease. I’m Irish and I grew up in Lynn, I didn’t need a sociology course to teach me that. I have plenty of sympathy for people in need and have been in need myself. But my rear wheel and hub are not a loaf of bread. Most people are able to make their way, even in the face of extreme hardship, without resorting to nuisance crime. You, on the other hand, are the kind who not only does, but also who will do so in such a brazenly stupid manner as to have a number of witnesses call the cops on you. Way to go, Lux Loser.

The harshest fact is this: if you’d come up to me at the train station and told me that you needed a rear wheel, I probably could have gotten you one (and one not one drilled out for Schrader valves with that goofy trailer-hub I have one there. Good luck figuring that out!). I have three of them at home; I know a bunch of people who have spares. People help each other out like that all the time. Dude, I got like ten emails after I posted the picture of my wheel-less bike on Facebook offering me a new one: “Just go take one out of my garage” said a friend on vacation in Utah.

In summary: A). Your life has become a waste of time and energy for the rest of us. B). This could be ameliorated somewhat if you were to find some useful task, like being dragged on the end of a line behind a boat to serve as bait for the shark over in Truro. C). You are even bad at crime. D). You gargle dog testicles.

Thank you,


16 thoughts on “An Open Letter to My Bike Wheel Thief from Jim Dowd

  1. jim, you are hilarious. i didn’t realize you were the same guy who wrote the bike rant when you came in today – just start locking your bike up at our shop!

    someone stole my ’60s schwinn town and country adult tricycle from my carport, in mid-day, around noon a few years ago, while big mike was home recovering from surgery. how the hell did no one see that?

    sorry again about your wheel. i test-ride bikes in that parking lot 3-4 times a day – i’m gonna have to start patrolling it. officer pink hair of the neighborhood bike watch.

    -kt, big mike’s wife


  2. JIm, so sorry. I can’t believe this has happened to you again. I think the perpetrator just really loves your writing style and being the subject of it, so had to take your rear wheel to give you something else to write about. You really should write a book about your bicycle experieces in Gloucester.


  3. Jim – Sorry about your stolen bike wheel, but “way to go” with your writing! New Yorker level humor. Loved it! Too bad it takes a theft to bring on the funny stuff. Keep writing. You are are gifted!


  4. Well said..I think you are too much of a gentleman to say how you REALLY feel…The only thing lower that this is to steal a service dog..Petty crime my eye !


  5. You covered a lot of terrain. I hope you reported both (and subsequent) events. I know it will seem trivial to the desk at the time, but the only way to evidence an epidemic is to log incidents. You cannot be the only victim. I know there is cctv there to surveil the area for other activity. If somebody wants something they will get it. As good as that lock is, I do not think the chain is intimidating. The only protection is enforcement. If this is a ten year old, you can help change their life now by reporting. If it is an adult, they need to know better. I was raised in that neighborhood . All easy for me to say, especially since I know where my next meal is coming from. Peter Tood, am I right?


  6. I don’t know u Jim…but I loved this letter…sorry about your wheel…( sigh). Some people r just desperate or just plain asses…maybe both.Hope they really needed that wheel…jerks!!! Just makes my blood boil….Grrrrrrrrr


  7. I can’t believe I had to find out you grew up in Lynn on GMG.
    Shame on me.
    I just saw the mention of a reward for the author of this post, and so I want to contribute…I hope you get enough GMG tee shirts to resell for a new wheel.


  8. There is a city (GPD) operated camera on top of Gloucester Mill building on Maplewood Ave. for the main purpose of observing activity at MBTA station. If you report this theft to GPD, ask them to review tapes.


  9. Hey Jim – Don’t forget you can lock up at the Beacon Street Farm! We’ve got so much crap in our driveway that your bike will just blend in. Just add it to the pile : )


  10. Unfortunately the DB who took your wheel will never read this because A. He can not read. B. He would not have a computer. C. If he did, he has already pawned it for drugs.
    Perhaps there is a place now for “Douch Bags Anonymous” something else that can be categorized as a “disease” then he and his buddy’s could get free Health Care, free Housing, and SSI Disability. Hey, do I sound angry? Kristina B.


    1. Kristina, lol.
      Jim, so sorry about your misfortune and hope you get your bike wheel replaced. Your rant cannot be in vain. If you posted it on Facebook I would ‘LIKE’ it. I felt bad laughing, but your piercing sarcasm was very humorous!


  11. This is why Jim earned an A in my college English class. WTG Jim! I hope the petty douchebag reads your rant and is duly shamed. Oh wait — why am I assuming he can read?


  12. You do what Borges said: “Transform what happens to us into art. That is the way to be happy.” So it was important to your happiness that someone steal your bike wheel? No, but we readers nonetheless appreciate that irony and say that you’ve taught us a way to be happy in a stinky world without pretending that it smells like roses. Good for you, Jim. Many happy miles to you on your new wheels. And bad sess to the blighter what took yours. May he live long and understand both the curse of that wheel and the blessing of the English language. May he read your note and learn to see himself/herself as others see him/her. And may you feel the wheels under buoying you up on air as you fly – your wheels, wheels you have made your own by casting them in a spell of powerful words. Now Gloucester is a little bit safer from thieves, a little bit prouder of its artful residents, and a lot more ready to face the road ahead, bumps and all.


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