A while back Yoda spoke to me (too late) about solving small problems before they become big problems. Well, the Zen-like Jedi has offered me some more after-the-fact advice regarding bike maintenance. Thanks a lot, Yoda. I really would like to find out the Jedi trick for getting Yoda’s sage advice BEFORE I run into problems.
Sunday dawned mild and sunny. I headed out for a bike ride around 7:15 knowing that I had to be back by 9 so my husband could leave for an appointment. Beautiful morning, beautiful bike ride and one of my very favorite ways to start the week.
Around an hour into my ride, my bike started making a funny sound – one I had never heard before. Lo and behold, I got my first flat tire. At this point, my beautiful morning ride turned into a logic problem that could have shown up on one of my 6th grade quizzes: At 8:23 AM, Tina gets a flat tire approximately 5.5 miles from home. She needs to get home by 9 AM to watch her kids while her husband attends an appointment. How could Tina best manage this? Should she:
(a) Take out her bike maintenance kit, fix her flat and ride home? NO, because, while she has a basic toolkit and extra tube, she has neither a pump nor the know-how to fix a flat. What a fool.
(b) Lock her bike up and run home? NO, because she has no lock. What a fool.
(c) Leave her bike somewhere and run home? NO WAY! Tina would never leave Trixie unattended. A cute bike like that would be snapped up in a second. She may be a fool, but she’s not THAT stupid.
(d) Call her husband for a ride? Maybe.
(e) Walk her bike home or to a safe location where she can leave it and run the rest of the way home? Maybe.
I opted (by default) for a combo of (d) and (e). I knew my heavy sleeping husband would never hear the phone until he got up at the very last possible minute to get ready to leave at 9 (I honestly could not have found someone who is more opposite from me when it comes to sleeping habits), so I started walking my bike toward the nearest commercial area, calling my home every 2 minutes to see if someone would answer. I figured that I would either find a gas station where I could leave Trixie while I hightailed it home, or would eventually reach someone at my house.
Finally, at 8:44, I both got a hold of my husband and reached a gas station – an embarrassment of riches after a depressingly long walk. Got my ride, got home, and guess what I made sure to do that afternoon? Log onto the internet to watch a tutorial on how to fix a flat. And then, with a little help from my husband, I fixed it. I feel so much better now that I have that basic knowledge and am annoyed at myself for not learning it sooner.
Before my next adventure, I will make sure to have a fresh tube and a mini-pump in my saddlebag. I was lucky it happened on the weekend and I could easily get a ride home! Not going to push my luck again. So, for any other novice cyclists: heed Yoda’s advice. Learn how to fix a flat and get the necessary tools together BEFORE you head out for a long ride. Trust me on this – it’s really no fun when a beautiful ride turns into a logic problem.