So Borat and I have decided to award a thumbs up in the event that the general public does something that positively impacts a member of the bicycling community or bicyclists at large. As is noted here the first was awarded in response to a gesture of goodwill and encouragement received a couple weeks ago as I hauled recyclables on the back of my bike. The most recent event took place this last Sunday. Riding again on Ridgewood Rd. I got a flat as I turned off of Tunxis and rode through the light. The standard initial denial raced through my brain as I felt the reduced resistance in my rear tire but after a couple more pedal strokes I looked down to see my sad deflated rear tire.
I hopped off the bike cursing the worst pos tires I have ever owned (Panaracer Paselas, 5 flats in less than 6 mos.). I evaluated my situation and tried to decide whether I wanted to change the flat on the spot or just walk the last mile and fix it having the convenience of a full-size rather than a mini pump. Possessing only one spare tube and envisioning either fixing the flat then pinching the tube while putting the last inches of the tire bead back on the rim, or failing to remove the invader which caused the problem in the first place and popping the new tube, or most likely, just out of sheer laziness I decided to walk. This entailed throwing the bike over my shoulder as to not further compromise my already crappy tires (no comfortable feat keeping in mid that my commuter bike is not a flyweight fixie or my Panasonic single-speed, but rather a 40 lb steel behemoth fully equipped with gears, rack, and fenders). After 10 minutes or so my shoulder began to hurt and I realized that the straight shot down Ridgewood that takes no more than 5 minutes to zip down on the bicycle would be a long and uncomfortable walk under it.
At this point a roadie zipped past and asked if I was ok and if I needed a phone or anything. "No, I'm fine. Thanks though," I replied as I already had a phone and was just being indignant towards changing my mind and fixing the flat. "Its Pete right? See you around," see said. Im not sure who Pete is or how she got us confused but I was glad to see a fellow bicyclist looking out for my well being regardless of if she mistook me for someone else.
I continued walking and not 2 minutes later an SUV pulled up and again asked if I was ok and if I needed a ride. "No, I'm fine. Thanks though," I again replied and kept on walking. As my shoulder began to throb I pulled out my bag of work clothes and put it on my shoulder so I could rest the frame on it relieving much of the pressure as I walked. This helped for about 3 minutes before I began to again question my choice. At this point another car pulled up and asked if I was ok and if I needed a ride. "No, I'm fine. Thanks though," I said though this time more hesitant. The car sped off and I started to wonder if it was really worth it. I then passed a couple walking their golden retrievers on the opposite side of the road and they asked if I was ok. "Yes fine. Thanks," I said. "We only live a couple houses down and have a truck and can bring you wherever you need." I thought hmmm, this was a good option as I could just hop in the back thus reducing my chances of being abducted into some iron mining ring taking place under West Hartford. "No, I'm fine. Thanks though," I of course replied. I kept walking realizing how stupid I was being and how annoying it is to walk while carrying something meant to carry you and which does it much more efficiently than vice versa. Enough was enough and I put down the bike in order to change the tire. Just as I pulled out the wrench to unbolt the rear tire a couple in a mini van pulled up and asked if I wanted a ride. "No, I'm fine. Thanks though," I replied. "You sure?" I paused for a moment and asked myself if what I was doing was really logical. "You know what, if you don't mind, I'd really appreciate a ride." They hopped out and popped open the rear gate and I rolled my bike in the back on hopped in. Turns out they had passed me a bit before and turned around and came back to see if I was ok. They had just come from the coffee shop in the plaza where I work yet had no problem shuttling back over there to drop me off.
After they pulled away from the parking lot I thought about what had just happened, not so much my stupidity for not changing the tire and getting on my way in the first place or refusing so much help initially, but rather the persistent goodwill of so many people in such a short span of time. For this reason the residents and motorists along Ridgewood Rd. on Sunday August 24, between 9.30 and 10.00am get a big THUMBS UP from Borat and I, Very Nice!