Another Bicycle Problem, Another Helpful Stranger

I think this story may be getting old, but I can’t help myself. I’m going to write another story about a stranger helping me with my bike.

It’s the rainy season in Thailand. That doesn’t mean that it rains all the time. It rains probably every other day for a few hours. Sometimes it starts to rain right before I’m ready to leave work. That’s bad because I get stuck at the school for hours! Today I was working in the office and heard some thunder. I looked out the window and it was dark and windy, but not raining. I decided to try to get home really fast. I hopped on my bike and started home. It was fine at first, but really dark and windy. I felt a few raindrops, but it wasn’t bad. It started raining hard when I ran into a long line of traffic trying to turn into my neighborhood. Thinking that it was a bad day to forget my helmet, I rode around the cars to the front of the line. (This was bad, I know, but people on motorbikes here do it ALL the time). So I joined the motorbikes at the front of the line. A police officer was moderating traffic and signaled to us that we could turn. Well, I was surrounded by about 30 motorbikes. I had to ride really fast to keep up with them. Otherwise, there was a good chance that one of them would hit me. So I was riding as fast as possible to keep up with the motorbikes, and one of my pedals fell off in the middle of a roundabout. I pulled to the side of the road and saw my pedal in the middle of the roundabout. I thought it would be impossible to get it back.

Luckily, a street vendor saw me. He pulled my bike under the roof of a shopping area and got a security guard to stop traffic and pick up my pedal. We had quite an audience while he fixed the pedal. Everyone from the shopping area came out to watch. The women were all giving me sympathetic looks while them men gathered around the bike to inspect the repair. It started raining harder and harder. By the time I left, there was no traffic at all. I rode home in the rain and was completely soaked when I got home. One of the apartment maintenance men saw me and asked what happened and why I wasn’t wearing a helmet. Of course, he asked in Thai and I didn’t understand a word. We’re all becoming such good mimes!

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