I know this sounds pretty "out there" but I have had bikes that seem to look out to take care of me and others that didn't. My old UO-8 never left me stranded. Ever. Granted, I had very real ride ending crashes on the bike. Last was into a car door. Went home via ambulance and hospital. (Not the bike's fault at all.)
Mid career (for the UO-8), March training ride. I was forced into a deep pothole by a car. Wheels rolled fine so no problem. About 8 miles later I did a routine look down. Something was radically wrong!! My HB was bent 30 degrees at the reinforcing sleeve! 20 miles from home. 15 years before the the cell phones bigger than bricks. The bike taking care of me? I happened to be 3 flat miles from my training partner's house. I knew she had a train schedule inside her kitchen door, that the door was never locked and the station was one mile from her house. Looked. Next train in 45 minutes. Conductor wasn't gong to let me on board as the train wasn't a commuter train. I pointed to the handlebar. He put it in baggage. Next stop was a mile from my house.
2014, I was preparing to ride Cycle Oregon fixed for the 2nd time. For prep, I went out on Thursdays and rode the length of Bald Peak Road. Goes from 200' to 1600' and back. 2000' of elevation change in two big hills. I ride the loop in either direction, depending how I feel. This day I was going to ride Jessica J, my fix gear, counter clockwise. Bald Peak State Park is the high point, then it is down a fun, fast descent with a right hand turn that is a blast to come into hot, shut down with the brakes big time and still do the tightly banked corner fast. (Really fun on Jessica.)
At the Park, I stopped at the high point, took a break (spectacular view of the valley on the other side), then changed cogs to the 13 tooth. Did a spin around the small circle at the top. Chain tension was way off! Corrected the hub and tried again. No better. Did this 4 or 5 times. Huh? (This was an operation I could do in my sleep.) Looked closely. The chain was hanging up on the lockring, occasionally dropping into the spanner slots. What to do. I could do all the descents on the 42-17. Nah. Or I could ride with a chain that was to tight most of the time. But I wanted to ride that chain in 3 weeks at CO and really didn't want to stress it (and maybe damage hub and BB bearings. Or I could baby the bike down on a too loose chain, going slow enough that I am not going to throw it. Chose to do that. Rode down all 2000' really gently.
Got down on the flat, flipped the wheel to the 17 and motored into a suburb city to do a couple of jersey pocketable errands. But, as I approached town, when I hit the front brake, the bike started shuddering, getting worse fast. Finally so bad I rode the 5 miles home on only the rear brake. Threw the bike on the stand, the front wheel in the truing stand. Perfect. Pulled the fork blades apart. Right dropout flew out about 8" with under a pound of pull! 1/4 of the blade was all that was intact.
Shaken to the core, I turned my back and went in the house. I had just gone down 2000' on that! (I have Lambert fork failure in my history that cost me years.) The only reason I didn't snap this fork on the fun corner was that cog issue. (If it didn't go at that corner, I would have been going far faster later, including in to a down hill stop sign that instead I just mellowed into.
Today, same bike. "New" used handlebars I put on because they were the old SR bars, a little wider than the Nittos I had been riding and they were the old "V" bend of the old TTTs which my hands like a lot more than Nitto's closer to the Cinelli "U" bend. Last Thursday I went over the Portland west hills in both direction in flat ground gearing. Not hard, but still with real pull on the bars. And did probably most of 40 mph on the descents. So today, I rode the 2 miles from my house to the Alpenrose Velodrome for the last afternoon of the annual Alpenrose Challenge. Handlebars were squeaking badly out of the saddle. They had never been completely quiet, but this was new. I kept going because it was (almost) all uphill. Got there, parked the bike and looked at the handlebars. Big crack started by the stem! No way do I want to do the downhill from the track with its stop sign at the bottom. Mentioned this to a woman I knew was part of the racing scene . She went to the PA announcer who announced I was looking for a ride. Took 20 seconds for a racer to offer a ride with his van.
I know I could have babied the bike home today, but I also know very, very well that I have done enough crashes for the next lifetime.
Jessica J, you're a keeper.