The Turkish Air representative on the phone finally confirmed that I should regard my box as lost. That is, my workhorse 2003 Surly Long Haul Trucker in olive is officially gone. I’m not angry about it, nor do I blame the airline. Those were frenetic days in Cairo at the end of January as uncertainty about the future took on a concentrated roar. It was 20 minutes before the departure of the flight when the trying to be cheerful in the chaos check in attendant frantically waved me over to tell me they had one last seat. He quickly hand-wrote the ticket, I put my bicycle on the unmoving baggage belt and sprinted down the jetway. I wondered then whether the bike would make it home — hastily written out air tag, few ground personnel to run the airport operations — but I felt a bit of optimism when the plane sat on the tarmac for all those hours. Maybe the bike would make it on the plane during that span?
Such was the turbulence of that revolutionary time in Egypt, and — thinking of the news of Mubarak’s departure — I smile and am content that I had a lucky chance to be in a small way a witness to it. I’ll replace the LHT with a new one. In my view, it remains the most versatile bike out there for a price that I won’t think about. When pedaling far from home, I never want to worry so much about my bike getting stolen or scratched or dinged or bent that I hesitate to do what I want to do. And if the bike goes missing, well, I want to be able unhesitatingly to excuse myself the happy fantasy that maybe an Egyptian airport worker will find it in the unclaimed luggage room and unwrap it and ride it home.