My bike has a story. Yeah, I'm sure every bike has a story, but my bike's story is so typical of me that it's just downright funny. Anyone who knows me personally will understand.
My bike saved my cell phone. Really. Here's the story...
I bought my bike in January 2006 after totaling my previous piece of junk in the Eilat Triathlon. Funny how things happen. I really hated that old bike. It was too big, the Sora components gave me a lot of trouble and I never really enjoyed riding it. I wanted desperately to replace it, but I'd only had it for just over a year and I couldn't justify the expense. Well, at least not until I totaled it. Flying over the concrete road block wasn't fun (I've still got a scar on my knee) and I'll even admit that I cried over my one and only DNF, but in the following weeks, it became clear to me that that road block had actually been my friend.
There was this woman who had been on our team and had quit triathlon for various reasons. She had purchased a new bike not long before she decided to leave the sport and she was no longer riding it. Actually, another teammate, the one who had advised me on my first bike purchase (I should have paid more attention to details), had picked out the bike for her. It was quite a bit nicer than the one I'd destroyed. And now, she was selling an almost unridden bike. An almost unridden bike that was just my size. An almost unridden bike, just my size, that she was willing to part with for about half of what she'd paid for it because she needed the extra cash to plan a wedding. And I needed a bike.
So I bought the bike that was to become my best inanimate friend, the bike that would make cycling the best part of the race for me instead of the worse, the bike that would make me look forward to long rides. But there were a couple of hitches along the way...
Since she had had no success selling the bike on her own (she had originally asked for a lot more money and there aren't too many people around here looking for a 50 cm road bike), she'd decided to bring it up to Israel's only triathlon store in Rishpon, which is about an hour and a half north of here. I had to drive up there to pick up the bike. So on a rainy Friday in January, I made the drive in my Fiat Punto (for those who aren't familiar with it, it's a very small car, especially by American standards). In order to take the bike home, I had to remove the front wheel and fold down my back seats. No big deal. While I was there, I bought myself a brand new helmet, too. I took the bike and the helmet and put them in my car, which was parked on the side of the road. Then I set off for home.
There's an exit for Rishpon on the northbound side of the main road, but not on the southbound side (or not that I know of). To get back on the road going south, I had to actually go north first, up to the next exit. After finally heading south, I suddenly had a strange thought. Had I put the front wheel in the car??? Oh, come on, of course I had! Who would forget something so important??? (Can you hear all my friends shouting, " You!
"??) So I peeked back and I didn't see a wheel, but it was hard for me to see anything. It was drizzling and there was a fair amount of traffic and I was on the main road, so I thought maybe it would be a good idea to pull over before taking a better look. I pulled over, turned completely around and there was no wheel.
"Ok, don't panic," I told myself, "Just call the store and ask them to go outside and pick up the wheel. It's right there at the side of the road. It hasn't been that long since you left -- chances are it's still there and hopefully no one has run it over." So I went to take out my cell phone, but it wasn't in my bag. Not in my bag? It had to be
in my bag! I knew I'd taken it because I'd used it while I was in the store. Where could it be??? I dumped out the contents of my bag. No cell phone. No wheel, no cell phone. And no exit. I had to drive all the way down to Herzliya, get off, turn around and then drive back north up to the Rishpon exit. It was going to take me at least another 15 minutes or so, if not longer.
"Don't panic, don't panic!" I kept repeating. "It's just a wheel and just a cell phone. How much does a new wheel cost? How much does a new cell phone cost?" Now I was really
panicked! I'd barely scraped the money together to pay for the second-hand bike!
It was still drizzling. I was thinking about my wheel and my phone lying out there in the rain. Or not... I don't remember much of the drive. All I could think about was how, exactly, I was going to explain this to my husband.
I got to Herzliya, turned around, drove back up to Rishpon, got off and drove through Rishpon in the direction of the store. As I was approaching the store, I saw a car coming in the other direction. The car stopped right around where my wheel and phone should have been and the driver got out. He bent down and picked something up. My phone!!! I kept driving towards him as he took my phone and started to get back into his car. I was screaming out the window, but he couldn't hear me (I'm sure all the rest of Rishpon could, though!). So I started honking my horn like a maniac. Now people were looking at me and at him. I screamed out to him, "That's my
phone! I dropped it!" This time he heard me and since people were standing around looking, he looked at me innocently and said, "Oh, I wasn't going to take it, I was just going to try to figure out who it belonged to." Yeah, sure you were... In Israel, if you leave a cell phone lying around unattended for more than a minute or two, chances are very good that it will disappear forever.
So the guy gave me back my phone. And then I saw my wheel, lying on the side of the road. I rushed out of my car and picked it up. It was completely unharmed. All of the stress that I'd been feeling for the last half hour or so just flowed out of me. I didn't know whether to laugh or cry.
Yes, my bike saved my cell phone. If I hadn't forgotten the wheel, there's no way I would have noticed that my phone was missing. There's a continuation to this story, though. A few months later, my phone suddenly stopped working. It turned out that there was corrosion inside the phone. Water damage. Since my phone had met no water apart from the rain on that drizzly day, I have to assume that that's where the damage came from. It was insured (it wasn't insured for water damage, but I have a very convincing husband) and my cell phone provider replaced it. The next one fell in the toilet...
Why do these things always happen to me???