I rode 20 miles, got a little sun, and a flat tire. I had a little epiphany on the trail. I was resting in the shade on a fierce uphill, thinking about work in pretty negative terms. Petty stuff. I started thinking about how my late friend Seth always seemed to have encouragement and joy in life, and I thought “I should be more like that.” Renew my efforts to smooth out the friction points, but more to the point, DEFINITELY not lose out on enjoying the ride.
Friction shifting nine speeds with a seven-speed bar-end shifter was pretty ragged. I’m looking at 13-32 7 speed cassette so I can use the indexing. Especially important if I’m going to loan this bike to my brother in August.
I was headed out of the park, and stopped for a minute at the top of Steve’s Trail. I was sitting on that picnic table, thinking how nice it was, when I heard something like water rushing through a pipe, which seemed weird. Turn my head, just the sound of bugs. Turn it back, SSSSSSSSSS. It’s coming from that rack thing the bike is on.
It’s coming from my bike!
I panicked a little. If I was home right now, I’d already be getting the stink eye for staying out so long. Roll down toward the Lake. No! The parking lot is a better bet. It’s closer, and maybe I can catch a ride, or borrow a phone.
I rode down until the back end got too squirrley, and then just walk/ran the bike. A guy on an older carbon hardtail asked if I needed anything. I said, “A patch?” He stopped, and started tearing a duct-taped bundle off his seat tube. He pulled out a new tube, handed it to me, and said, “Do you need anything else? Tools?” I was like, “Thanks, brother!” (I’ve never called anyone ‘brother’ in my life) “I’ll definitely pass this on.”
“That’s what you do. Do you need any tools?”
“No, I can mount this tire with my hands. I’ll borrow a pump from someone when I get this seated.”
He handed me a CO2 cartridge and a mini regulator dealie. “This should be good for two tubes, but I used a full one my first time. ” Wow.
I got everything situated, and the tire soft but rideable (sure enough, the cartridge was empty), when a woman stopped and asked if I had everything I needed. I said, “Thanks, I’m fine,” and she said, “Are you sure?”
That struck me as a good foll0w-up question, to break through people’s initial resistance to help, and to kick-start their mind to really assess the situation. I’ll use it in the future.
“No, I actually just now finished up, but thanks a ton for asking. Have a great ride!”
I’m grateful to my Samaritans for turning a good ride with a long walk into a stellar ride and a fun interaction.
“It’s not a contest. Enjoy the ride.”
– Seth Vidal