I’ve hardly been on my bike this year at all, which pains me greatly. I desperately need the exercise, but with the new work schedule I’m having a hard time finding time to get out there. I haven’t figured out a way to incorporate it into my work commute like I did at my last job, and with one thing and another on weekends (allergies, getting sick, yardwork, housework, bad weather) that hasn’t worked out so well either.
Today I decided enough is enough. I was feeling well enough to make the effort so I pumped up my tires, got the shoes out, packed my camera just because, and headed out.
Unfortunately, I didn’t pack my tire patch kit, tools, or spare inner tube. Yep, first time since I bought the bike four years ago, I got a flat about 5 miles into the ride. Picked up a gnarly nail which I plan to keep as a memento of the occasion. Boy did I feel stupid out there with no tools or spare inner tube or anything, though. I started walking back and just a few feet down the road, another lady on a bike came up on me and asked if I had a flat (legitimate question, I could have been walking for any of a number of reasons). She stopped and tried to think of a way to help, but her bike had much larger tires (it was a mountain bike) and she wasn’t carrying a patch kit either. But we had a nice chat, she admired my bike, offered me the use of her cell phone (I did have my phone with me at least), asked if I had water (I did). She felt bad, but ultimately there was nothing she could do either so she finally pedaled off. I assured her before she did that I didn’t live far and the walk was fine.
I did finally summon help about a mile down the road. It was pretty hot, and I have the sunburn to prove it. I covered another mile before my ride showed up. I can say the biking shoes are not bad for walking in, however. So I got home, and decided not to try changing the tire myself and called the Bike Gallery in Beaverton to see if they had time to do it. Happily they did, bless their hearts. I drove over with my lame steed and hung around and chatted with the bike tech, Wade, while he changed the tire for me, and had him basically school me in how to do it. He was great, very friendly and gave me all kinds of helpful tips for changing tires. Thanks Wade, you’re awesome. Honestly I’m not sure I would have been able to change it even if I’d had all the essentials with me (but perhaps one of the cyclists who passed me like that lady who stopped might have been able to help. Cyclists are like that around here. And if by some chance she happens to see this, my thanks again for all your offers of help, you were very kind to stop).
So my quick little ride turned into a full afternoon affair, but I have a brand spanking new tire on the bike (kept the old one, but there was a lot of junk in it that hadn’t actually punctured: bits of glass, pebbles, splits). Next time I’ll be packing everything, but I got some exercise!