CRANBERRY TWP — It took more than a week, but a tribute to a fallen bicyclist has been found.
The tribute — a “ghost bike,” or an inoperable bicycle painted white honoring Alek Teimouri — went missing July 19 from its spot on the northwest corner of the intersection of Haine School and Rochester roads. The 22-year-old man died in December when he was hit by an alleged drunken driver.
But thanks to the help of the community, Christina Teimouri, Alek's mother, said she received the memorial from police Wednesday evening after a mother and daughter picking berries noticed it lying nearby.
“They said it looks pretty much the same,” Teimouri said. “It has the ribbons and everything.”
Adorning the inoperable white bike are a stream of pink ribbons that contain messages written to Teimouri at his funeral. Teimouri was riding his bike home after working at Mad Mex on Dec. 26, 2019. Another server at the Mexican restaurant attached the fallen cyclist's waist pouch to the bike.
These were items and memories that Christina Teimouri said were irreplaceable — and feared lost forever. But with all its adornments, the memorial will likely soon be back at its spot.
“I think what I'll do is take it home, clean it up, repaint it and get it all nice and fresh, then put it back,” she said.
Teimouri said she thinks somebody might have been displeased with how the memorial looked in the area, particularly if its presence made it more difficult for the nearby grass to be cut. She said she's not opposed to placing rocks under the ghost bike in the future if it would keep the area looking tidy.
She added there was a community effort to find the bicycle, even if it was stumbled upon accidentally. Teimouri said she is appreciative of the help and kind words Cranberry residents sent her way.
“They made me feel better, and really reinforced that the bike was a positive symbol, especially parents with little kids (who) would visit it with their children, or as people went by they would say a little prayer,” Teimouri said.