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“Nationals October 2019

A Little Help From A Stranger

| August 31, 2010, 02:21 PM | 4 Comments

When I first took up cycling, I was nervous.  It wasn’t the speed that bothered me.  Getting my feet stuck in the clips was a little worrying but I could handle that.  I didn’t even really have a problem with the cars.  The real worry was that I would get a flat tire twenty miles away from my children’s school and I wouldn’t be able to get back in time to pick them up.  As a mom with more than my share of mommy guilt, this was a real concern.  So, I did what I am apt to do.  I bought a book and read about changing tires.  I went to the local bike shop and bought the tools that would make it easier and I sat in my living room changing my tire over and over again.  These days I can change a tire in a minute flat.  When I am on the trails or road and come across another rider in need, I feel confident I can lend a hand and I offer my assistance every time.

Still, there is always that nagging feeling, what if I am in need.  Will someone stop and help?  This weekend that question was answered.  I was on my second loop of the BWI Trail when I hit a pot hole and popped my tube.  After all my tire changing experience I wasn’t worried. I had everything I needed to change a tire.  Or so I thought.  After turning my bike over and replacing the tube, I pulled out my handy little pump and discovered that it was broken.  I was gutted.  After all of my work in learning this new skill, I was stuck with a bum pump.

I shouldn’t have worried though.  Within minutes another rider stopped to see if I needed help.  I asked if he had a pump.  Without hesitating, he told me that he did have a pump but it was back at his car two miles back up the trail.  I told him not to worry about it.  I was sure someone else would come by.  He was not convinced.  Instead, he turned his bike around and rode 2 miles back to his bike, collected his pump and came back.  I never got his name but I am eternally grateful to this hero of the trail.  An added benefit for this act of kindness?  I went home and told my husband, who is convinced that bikers are all rude and inconsiderate brutes, how this total stranger had interrupted his own ride to spend 20 minutes helping me.  I also told him about the six other riders who stopped to check on his stranded wife.  It seems that with the help of a few strangers, I may be on my way to changing his mind about riders – fingers crossed.

I know there is still a chance I will one day be stranded and miss pickup time at my children’s school but now I know that will only happen if there isn’t another rider in the area.  It looks as though I am not the only rider out there worried about the consequences of being stranded.  As it turns out, there are others who believe that what comes around goes around.  By helping another rider or even being willing to help another rider, we have become a community of riders giving each of us a little added security along the trails and roads.

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  1. IronmanLongRunr says:

    Good to hear that you’re helping hand was there when needed. I’ve stopped to help many time myself and fortunately haven’t had to cash in that karma but I know it’s in the bank ready when needed.
    Thanks for sharing, I hope a few motorists read this article too.

  2. IronmanLongRunr says:

    Dang it, one of my pet peeves and I did it anyway…
    Should read: Good to hear that YOUR
    NOT you’re…
    and times not time…
    I know better…

  3. Sheila says:

    Good story. You are much more proficient at changing flats than I am, but so good to hear about the people willing to lend a hand. I am going to practice changing my tube again this weekend coming up. Cyclists really are nice. Or at least, all the triathlete cyclist I know from the LA TriClub are very nice and helpful.

  4. dpeach says:

    I have been a runner for a few years and would like to try getting into cycling, but have had a bit of the same fears. Running is easily fixed if I have a shoe blow out. I live in a country where there are more taxis than people. But how do I stick a bike in the back seat of a taxi?

    You have encouraged me a bit with this post.

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