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I'm paranoid. I'll be the first one to admit it. I bought my bicycle from the Public Safety unclaimed -- read stolen -- bike auction two years ago and I figure Murphy's law will work one of two ways here. I'm a big fan of Mr. Murphy, incidentally. Perhaps because this bike had been stolen once, it therefore was going to be stolen many times more -- it had been preordained as a bicycle fit to be stolen. Or maybe, since it had already been stolen, the odds were that fate would not touch it again -- Garps' pre-disastered corollary. I got it fixed up and -- deciding that being safe was better than being sorry and bikeless -- went in search of the most secure lock set-up I could find. I finally settled on the heaviest Kryptonite Lock that is sold: a Rock Lock, which weighs more than my bike. I added a steel cable that secures my wheels to the lock. I made such a hefty purchase because the friendly and helpful gentlemen over at the bike shop so pleasantly and effortlessly demonstrated how easy it is to crack the average u-lock into two pieces, using a little leverage and a hollow metal pipe. It is also possible, I had heard from friends, to buy a can of freon refrigerator coolant from your local appliance store and spray it on a small area of the "U" part of the lock, freeze it and then shatter it with a hammer. Comforting, eh? For about two months I kept my bike locked up outside of High Rise North until various attempts were made to steal it. Luckily my seat post is one size too big for my frame and is jammed so that it's impossible to remove. Of course, that didn't stop someone from stealing the quick release bolt. Then someone else attempted to steal the wheels off the bike. The chain stopped them but it wasn't enough to discourage them from trying in the first place. Maybe I needed a bigger lock. Since a bigger lock would have required adding a motor to my bike to permit transportation, I decided to move the bike indoors to my large and ever-so-spacious High Rise room. For the past two years then, I've essentially slept with my bike. We've become good roommates. Bikes rarely snore. I also became quite accustomed to riding my bike all over campus -- over hill, over bridge, over dale, across Green. But that was fine, because in the summer there are very few people to hit on Locust Walk. During the normal academic year it's a different story -- the pedestrians hit back -- so I can quite understand the University's intention to ban bikes from Locust Walk for everyone's safety. Now, of course, the safety of the hordes of bicyclists who must deal with Walnut and Spruce streets, automobiles and fifty million food trucks has been jeopardized. I cannot, however, understand why they've set up bicycle shopping marts all over campus. It dawned on me as I walked past the "bicycle parking lot" between Annenberg and Stiteler. Was the shrubbery really necessary? All over campus, Penn has created the ultimate in convenient, spacious and hassle-free bicycle theft zones. They are very proud of all this work. They've even set up a nice dark-and-secluded alleyway behind Van Pelt Library so that prospective bicycle thieves won't have to worry about being caught in the act. I can just see it now. Packs of bicycle thieves roaming through campus -- shopping like Freshman parents in the Bookstore. "Ooh, that one looks nice. And that one over there is brand new! And look, the owner of that nice mountain bike only has a sixty pound lock on his frame. Should only take us seven seconds to crack that one open." So Penn has decided, in its usual infinite wisdom, to test my faith in steel. Effectively, they've even raised my tuition, because not only have they spent all this money on the bicycle lots themselves, and attendant shrubbery, but I have to take out another student loan to afford the equipment to lock my bike safely in the center of campus. I've mastered getting food at 1920 Commons. I've managed to declare my major. I've cashed a check a Mellon Bank in under three hours. I've even used PennInfo to figure out my schedule. This is a challenge I'm ready for. The gas tanks for the acetylene welding torch I've purchased strap nicely to my back, and it only takes a few minutes now -- after lots of practice and a few burnt appendages -- to weld my bike to any given rack. If only I could keep my tires from melting, I'd be set. I'm currently working on my patent application for my combination bicycle helmet/welding mask. I wonder if the Penn Bike Police have similar problems? Reality has begun to settle in, though, and perhaps there are alternatives. I could walk -- after all, I don't have any classes in DRL. Hooray for the humanities! But walking would be giving in. Maybe I'll buy a car. A good 1972 Chevy Nova can't cost all that much -- certainly less than a new bike lock -- and I'd only have to wait three years for a parking permit. I just get the feeling that I would miss the nice foliage of the bike lots. Paul Luongo is a senior American History major from Riverside, Connecticut.

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