Friday, May 29, 2009

Not So Bad Samaritan

Perhaps it’s because I’m not such a bad guy; it’s probably also that my affection for bicycles compels me to want to see them running; and above all, it’s probably that I enjoy the opportunity to show off my limited bike repair skills to someone who’s less adept than me, but whatever the reason, I generally do, when I come upon someone who’s pushing their rig or has it turned upside-down on the side of the trail, ask “You okay?” or “Got everything you need?” and will typically, if assistance is called for, pull over to help if I can.

This week, for instance, I got three people back up and riding with hardly any effort on my part, which made those good deeds all that much better since with a minimum of effort, I got to play the part of the knight in shining armor, or at least, wool.

On Monday, I think it was, I passed a trio of teenagers, two of whom stood around a third who was engaged in that classic beginner-move of flat fixing, the one where you’ve got all your tools splayed out around you and are trying to align a perfectly flat tube around the rim with the tire nowhere to be seen. I circled around and explained how it was easier to adopt a strategy where you would tuck the tube into the tire and then showed them how it was done, a relatively easy task given that the tire was all nice and worn and stretched out and didn’t even require levers to reseat the bead. They thanked me profusely and one even stopped talking on his cellphone to express his gratitude.

And then, on both Wednesday and Thursday, I passed by middle-aged ladies who had dropped their chains and despaired of getting them back on.

These are the best kind of roadside repairs: they take but a moment and then you’re gone; a hero off into sunset.


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