She was devastated, says Linda Peters from Den Bosch. Just before Christmas, her brand new bicycle was stolen. And even worse: in the panniers were the mittens of her recently deceased father. But the story had a special ending on Friday. “I was on my way to the gym and, believe it or not, my bike was there.”

    It wasn’t the surprise Linda was hoping for this holiday season. “We had arranged a Christmas party with colleagues in De Keulse Kar in Den Bosch.” Very cosy. But when she left a few hours later, her bike was missing.

    “I looked everywhere,” she says. Without success. And her bicycle key was nowhere to be seen. “My own fault. I forgot to lock it.” Not the first time, she adds. “I’ve been suffering from lung covid for about a year and a half now. Since then I’ve been forgetting things all the time.”

    “I wore my father’s mittens. He passed away a while ago.”

    But even if she’s disappointed, she doesn’t think it’s a reason to take the bike with her. “You don’t touch other people’s things, do you?” Still, the bike wasn’t even her main concern. “I wore my father’s mittens that evening. He passed away a while ago. I had put them in the panniers.”

    Because Linda herself forgot to lock the bicycle, the police could not do much with her report. “Too bad, but alas. That was the message.” Yet that was not the time for the sad owner to put the matter to rest. “I kept looking around every day if I saw him standing somewhere.”

    “The same wooden basket at the front, matte black panniers. That couldn’t be a coincidence.”

    Small chance. None, maybe. But on Friday morning, the miracle happened. “I was on my spare bike on my way to the gym. I drove past an apartment complex and… that looked like my bike! The same large wooden basket in front, matte black panniers. That couldn’t be a coincidence.”

    It was immediately clear to Linda what she had to do. “I called my daughter to say she had to bring the spare key. And then the police. Because I could just take that bike with me?”

    The police were at least as surprised as Linda herself. “They never experienced this and had to find out exactly what it was.” Not much later, some cops came to the spot in question. “At that time my daughter also just arrived. The four of us put the key in the lock. Fit right away, of course.”

    “I had already ordered a second-hand bicycle. I immediately canceled it.”

    All’s well that ends well? Almost. “The first thing I did was check if the mittens were still in it. But alas.” Still, it is a great consolation that at least the bike is back where it belongs. “He is now with the police for another week. It is of course possible that someone had already bought it from the thief and was therefore also disadvantaged. He now has a few more days to report.”

    Linda has at least a good story for the upcoming parties. “Great to start the new year like this. I had already ordered a second-hand bicycle as a replacement. I immediately canceled it. The man from the bicycle shop didn’t think it was a problem at all, though. He was very happy for me. I visit him soon to have a new lock put on my bike.”

    The key immediately fit into the lock.
    The key immediately fit into the lock.