At the beginning of my triathlon career, my husband bought me a shiny fancy new road bike. It was yellow and black and we called her ‘Bumblebee”. Being a complete novice cyclist I had no idea if she was a good bike or a bad bike. All I knew was that she didn’t weigh nearly as much as my prehistoric concrete mountain bike, she had thin fancy wheels and clip in pedals. I mean, could you get anything more professional?
Bumblebee saw me through many races, including Half Iron Man, without so much as a puncture. She was super.
It was only later when I learnt more about bicycles that I realised she was by no means the most expensive bike on the block, nor was she the most fancy or sought after. But I loved her and her no-drama attitude.
About a year after we got Bumblebee we were broken in to. It happened one night when we were both fast asleep and we only woke up to the guards at our complex telling us that our front door was wide open. At that stage we lived in a ‘security estate’. They stole a whole bunch of stuff, except Bumbleebee.
The next day we bought a terribly ferocious guard dog by the name of Rupert.
Fast forward to Christmas 2013 and we were broken into yet again. This time they hit the garage and literally cleaned us out. We only noticed a few days later on Boxing Day when I happened to go into the garage to look for the vacuum cleaner (Side note – the reason I never went in to the garage was because I’m married to a triathlete, and every woman married to a triathlete knows that cars sleep outside, and bikes sleep inside).
When I say they literally cleaned us out, I mean they took pretty much every single thing in the garage. Except Bumblebee. There she lay, mounted to the walls, between empty spaces that used to be her much bigger, better and more expensive bike cousins (husbands bikes).
We laughed the robbery off (bitterly) patted ourselves on the back and said the usual “at-least we weren’t home/hurt”, submitted yet another insurance claim and laughed (bitterly) at the irony that we LIVED.IN.A.SECURITY.ESTATE.
A few days later I turned round to my husband and said to him. Fuck this, If we keep getting nailed in a complex, let’s move.
We moved. To our glorious house in the ‘burbs.
At this point, ferocious guard dog 2 – Bella – had entered the mix
(Are you sensing a trend here, dear reader?)
This one happened 3 days after we moved in to our new house in the ‘burbs. They managed to take a lot of stuff before our security company arrived on the scene and/or the alarm scared them off. We were both at work and laughed (bitterly) about our luck, but also reminding ourselves just how lucky we were we weren’t home. Garden beams and CCTV were added to the mix, we claimed from insurance again and kept looking forward.
Bumblebee, if you’re wondering, was safe.
Yesterday as I was packing up to leave the office my phone rang. It was our security company notifying me that a panic had gone off and would I like them to go check it out. Yes please, I would like that very much. I immediately called my husband to find out if he had set it off accidentally, and when I got no reply I popped him a Whatsapp asking if everything was alright.
I jumped in my car and left the office.
5 minutes late I got a phone call that left me cold. My husband had arrived home at 4 pm and let himself into the gate and then garage. 30 seconds after parking he walked back in to the garage to hang up some washing (it was raining). In our garage he was confronted by a man with a gun to his face who made him lie down. There were others too, although at this point not visible to my husband. Luckily, he had his gate remote on him and he activated the panic button. Unluckily the alarm went off (not silently as it should have). The frightened thieves punched him in the face, grabbed his keys and left on 3 bicycles.
Almost 6 months pregnant and stuck in bumper to bumper traffic I was unable to get home and felt utterly helpless. Luckily my best friend and her hubby raced over to be with Barry until I could get home.
When I got home I was met with what felt like hundreds of cars, police, armed response and neighborhood watch. Our house was a hive of activity. My husband was (thanks a million stars) OK and the situation under control.
Fast forward to a day later and I am angry and sad and shocked and tired and so upset that this keeps happening. I’m devastated that there was a weapon involved. I’m apalled at our armed response for taking 20 minutes to arrive and I’m absolutely appalled that they phoned me when they should have gone straight through. I’m tired of hearing about crime riddled areas and how one can arm oneself to the hilt, but if these guys want in, they will get in. I’m relieved my husband is OK and I’m desperately emotional at the though that perhaps the only way to avoid living like this all the time is to leave my country.
I’ve also come to realise that riding expensive bikes is a very dangerous sport. Because all our bikes were stolen, except Bumblebee who still hangs on the wall, now very much alone.
Tonight, I’m convincing my husband to take up golf.