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Lost and found


One of the best things about riding a bike to work regularly is all the great stuff you find.I don't mean the hokey stuff - fitness, yourself, a love of nature, purpose, yadayadayada.I mean the stuff people lose, drop, misplace, throw out of windows and forget on the hoods of their cars. It all ends up on the road or close to it, waiting for some two-wheeled scavenger to come along and claim it.I reckon not being isolated by glass and steel makes it easier to find stuff, but my dad is quite the auto scrounger. He could spot a dime on the freeway at 70 mph. OK, he never goes 70, but he could spot a dime on some deserted highway at 45 mph.Among the goodies I've found:Money, and lots of it. Sure, most of it jingles, but it adds up. I started a fund of found money and have cashed it in a couple of times - about 20 bucks each time - over the past couple of years. I found a tenner once, and a couple of $5 bills. But I do have my standards. I won't stop in the middle of Sixth Street at rush hour for a penny, but I'll turn around and go all Frogger for a fivespot.Tools galore. Sockets, wrenches, screwdrivers, hex keys ... you name it. I'm going to start a tool kit for my son of found tools. First in is a nifty multitool I found the other day.Cell phones. I always pick 'em up and try to find the owners whenever possible. I've probably returned a half dozen to mostly grateful owners. One woman actually insisted I drive to her workplace to return hers to her; I declined. One man offered a reward, which I refused. Two weeks later, he showed up at my house with pizza for the whole family.Credit cards. Most I figure were stolen and tossed, but every now and then I find one, call the number on the back to report it and hear from a thankful owner that he/she used it to pay at the pump, set it on the car and drove off.And that's just the stuff I bring home.Part of the fun of bike commuting is spying all the unusual roadside debris and trying to figure how and why it got there.For instance: What's with all the silverware on our roadways? Spoons, forks, knives ... there are probably a dozen or so just on my five-mile ride to work. Who chucks a spoon out the window?Or here's a good one. Coming home from racquetball this week, I saw on the side of the Clinton Parkway multiuse trail several empty bottles of Mike's Hard Lemonade, set up similarly several yards apart. OK, somebody was partying on the trail. A few yards farther, I rode past a condom. Then another. And another. So, the liquid courage kicked in and our partiers started feeling a little randy. Then, just before I turned off, I happened upon a pair of latex gloves. Uh ... that's when my imagination failed me. Thank goodness.


Dixie Jones 9 years, 9 months ago

my hubbies a road scrounger as well, sometimes bringing home some pretty kewl things. alot of bungee cords we will never have to buy one in our life time...laughing.... We found a huge box of photos one time obviously someone was moving, we started looking at some of them and i knew a man in them, i called him explaining our find and he said his mother in law was moving and had lost them, he was so glad we had found them and contacted him. it makes you feel good when you can return things found that mean something important to someone.

Alia Ahmed 9 years, 9 months ago

Very entertaining blog, Andrew! It almost makes me want to take up biking. :~)

Lori Tapahonso 9 years, 9 months ago

That was the best piece of writing on the LJW website that I've read in a while! I'm still snickering to myself! Thanks, Andrew. You made my day!

50YearResident 9 years, 9 months ago

I see some of these treasures on the road while driving my car but I can't stop or turn around to retrieve them without my wife complaining about me already having too much junk at home.

Ralph Gage 9 years, 9 months ago

Bungee cords, Drew. All manner of fasteners seem to come unfastened and onto the road.

alm77 9 years, 9 months ago

We've found money, but usually in parking lots. We too, found a mobile phone and contacted the owner (which was funny because he didn't have a number labeled "home", so I called the one labeled "dad" and his dad kept saying "What a dumbass!" over and over as he gave me directions to his son's house.)

mom_of_three 9 years, 9 months ago

Glad to hear someone returns cell phones besides myself. No one called about my daughter's cell phone that she left in a restaurant bathroom for a couple of minutes before she realized. But the next day, I found a cell phone sitting on a bench, and I called the "dad" number and he was very grateful. At my old place of work, we had lots of lost and found items. One was an elderly gentlemen's (from the photo) passport. took a little while to track down the phone number, but his wife informed me he recently passed away, and was very grateful to get the momento returned.

bearded_gnome 9 years, 9 months ago

well,andrew, this is a great topic. maybe here in lawrence we need a central "lost and found?" or, the newspaper could serve that function? the hard lemonade, condoms, rubber gloves...wow, that's pretty kinky. hope you didn't touch any of that! and i agree with the above: Andrew this was very good writing. hey 50yearresident, stop letting your wife henpeck you! you're a man, be a man. you know, you might "need" one of those monkey wrenches, ratchets, spoons, sometime!
walking on the levee last week, I found a woman...yes, she'd stopped her bike because her ipod had failed, and it was an actual high-priced ipod. hope my battery advice was helpful.

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