Blind bicyclist, partner just want stolen tandem bike back

SHARE Blind bicyclist, partner just want stolen tandem bike back

Two men get in some cycling on a sunny and warm day near Irving Park and the lake on April 3, 2012. | Al Podgorski~Chicago Sun-Times

There are times in life when Terry Gorman, who is blind, feels invisible.

Like when he walks into an elevator, says ‘hi,’ and – in the way of keep-to-themselves city folk – no one replies.

That’s why the 63-year-old Edgewater resident’s tandem bicycle, which he rides with his partner, Sheldon Atovsky, is hot pink – so that Gorman is sure to be noticed.

Unfortunately, thieves took notice of the bike Friday morning while it was locked up outside Northwestern Memorial Hospital.

“It’s very upsetting,” said Atovsky, 61, a retired DePaul University music professor. “It’s just so surprising. It was locked very carefully.”

That’s perhaps an understatement. Atovsky and Gorman used four different locks to immobilize the bike and secure it to a low, wrought-iron fence on East Huron, while Gorman went to a doctor’s appointment.

When they returned less than two hours later, the bike and locks were gone – stolen in daylight on a street where there’s almost always a constant stream of patients, doctors and other hospital staff.

The bike is worth about $3,800, Gorman said.

Gorman and Atovsky have called their insurance company; they’ve filed a police report; they’ve checked with hospital security to make sure someone didn’t confiscate the bike. They just want their bike back.

Perhaps you’ve seen Atovsky and Gorman – as Chicago Sun-Times photographer Al Podgorski did this week for a photograph that ran in Wednesday’s edition – riding along the lakefront. Last year, they logged 3,300 miles.

“I love the sound of the bicycle and the sound of the environment around us,” said Gorman, who has been blind since birth and takes the back seat – the “stoker” position. “You hear birds, you hear the sound of the wind, you hear traffic along Lake Shore Drive. You hear golf balls hitting this and that.”

Perhaps you’ve heard Gorman’s bicycle bell. It’s part of a little game the couple play: Whenever someone waves or smiles at them along the lakefront, Atovsky takes notice and tells Gorman to ring his bell.

“Sheldon is someone who doesn’t want to be noticed,” Gorman explained. “I want to be noticed.”

The missing bike is a “C-Motion Scout,” in a color that’s technically called pearlescent magenta. The bike is about eight feet long and it has no fenders.

If you see it, email Atovsky at

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