a little bit of cheer

December 23, 2006 § Leave a comment

This afternoon I escaped from the office into an unexpected half-day of freedom. Perfect day for it, too, with the sun shining & not a lot of traffic (thanks, Tahoe!).

A good friend and teammate of mine has become my half-day riding buddy, and as soon as I found out that I’d be free I sent word. We agreed on an approximate time, a place. Everything was going according to plan…

Then the fishtail started. Just a little squishiness at first, but after a few pedal strokes there was no denying that I had a flat. My friend’s house was right up the road, so I pulled over to try and force enough air into the tire to get me to her house, where I could change the tire in a little more comfort.

Alas, the flat was from a ripped seam around the valve, so after wasting a few minutes trying to get it to hold air I had to suck it up and start changing the tire. My friend was up the road, waiting, but unfortunately her cell phone was at home and I couldn’t get through to her. Nothin’ to do but find a sunny spot and get down to business.

A number of cyclists passed me as I worked by the side of the road. I’d say at least ten, probably closer to twenty. I obviously wasn’t the only person with a little time off. Of all those cyclists, though, only one asked me if I had everything I needed. One. I was pondering this fact as I finished up, when I became aware of something bigger slowly approaching me from behind. I braced myself and turned around.

“Do you need any help?” She was a pretty, perky-looking blond woman, maybe mid-thirties, driving alone in a big Land Rover. The very type, I’ll admit, that I often feel superior to. The type I assume knows the price of everything, the value of nothing, whose idea of sharing the road is not to honk as they scrape by you, cell phone in hand and swatting kids in the back seat. And right now I’m pretty darn ashamed of that, because I don’t ever stop my car when I see a cyclist changing a tire. When I’m on my bike I check in, but when I’m in my car I figure they’ve got it covered and keep going. Only one of the many cyclists sharing the road with me bothered to ask if I needed anything. But this woman stopped her huge SUV, smiled at me and took a little time out of her beautiful Friday to make sure I was okay. I’ll be damned.

Happy holidays.

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