This is super out of order – it’s part of my series called “cleaning up my drafts folder”
I usually bike a pretty direct route from my house to the office. There are three possible routes I could take, but one of them is only viable when it’s dry out (too much mud for my street bike), and the other one more than doubles the distance that I have to go… and includes a rather harrowing stint on a main road.
But this was Friday, and I was energetic, so… yeah, why not? Let’s take a longer route.
And near the end, I ran into the reason why I always like to have extra gear with me. I didn’t actually run into the reason… more that I saw the reason sitting on the side of the path looking glum.
I was on the minuteman trail near Cambridge when I saw the kid sitting with his brand new bike, looking a bit lost and a bit worried. Not too much of either, but just enough that I stopped and asked if he needed a hand.
In fact, he did. He’d blown a tire, and had no idea how to fix it. No gear, no skills, and his phone had died while trying to call his mom to pick him up. So here he was, 5miles from home, listening to an iPod and wondering what to do.
So, we pulled the wheel off his bike, and took my patch kit out of my bike, and got to work.
I showed him how everything worked, what things can catch you and pop the tire a second time, and a few other small tricks to keeping a bit running and moving with inflated wheels. It took a while, and we both ended the job with a nice covering of grease, but it was worth it.
Especially since, just as soon as he was ready to ride again, his Mom showed up with her SUV so that he wouldn’t have to ride back.