I just heard a scooter drive by on my street...and I felt a frisson of anxiety and anger.
Today I cycled over to my friend's house in Streatham. As usual I put my handbag in the basket on the back of my bike, using my lock to secure it to the basket. I'm fairly blase these days about cycling in London...sometimes cars and buses try to squash me, sometimes pedestrians walk in front of me, and sometimes I buy way too much at Sainsburys and have a little trouble getting home without things falling off/out...but generally everything works out okay.
As I cycled up my friend's street two guys on a scooter bumped me and the passenger grabbed my handbag and yanked, trying to free it from my basket. I hollered a bit and we had a bit of tussle over the bag but I was still straddling my bike so was kind of getting knocked about a bit as the guy yanked on my bag. Eventually my basket broke and they drove away with my large pink handbag with a big U-lock hanging off it.
So I dusted myself off, hopped on my bike and cycled the last 200 yards to my friend's house. They picked a perfect time to target me...I'd just pedaled uphill for from Brockwell Park (that last bit from Tulse Hill station is brutal) and was almost to the downhill. This meant I was totally focussed on those last few yards of uphill and not on the potential for two jerks to try to rob me.
The police came round to my friend's house in less than 5 minutes and were very nice. I have some painful bruises and a big lump on my shin (but really they weren't trying to hurt me - if they had been they could have very easily done so). I've cancelled all my stuff but I won't get my three balls of lovely green wool back, or my 2.75mm needle or Franklin Habit's pattern that I bought in printed form when I took his class....or my Zumba card (with 5 more stamps left). There are so many things that were in that kitchen-sink of a bag, many replaceable with only a little trouble...but have I lost something much harder to replace? I'm worried that I'll be less confident to go out in the world on my little bicycle, that I'll look with suspicious eyes on people I would have blissfully ignored...