Thursday, April 2, 2009

Hubris, anyone?

So I was talking yesterday about how I have gotten pretty efficient at changing bike tires. Well, apparently the gods perceived this as bragging, and I was put back in my place this morning. You guessed it: ANOTHER flat tire. (This is the first rear flat on Ollie).

I had gone to volunteer at the Capital Area Food Bank this morning before my shift at the bike shop. The radio forecast warned of extreme fog, but with my blinkers on I found the ride quite nice. (Certainly more pleasant than splashing through Rock Creek yesterday in the driving rain.) The ride was almost a straight shot east on Irving Street, then onto Michigan Avenue (a bit dicey during rush hour, though), and up John McCormack. No problems. The ride from the food bank to work, however, was significantly more eventful, starting with the popping sound of my rear tire not 10 minutes into the ride and ending with... well, I'm getting ahead of myself.

I was riding down 4th Street, NE, with plenty of time to get to Eastern Market and daydreaming about getting in early enough to swing by Peregrine and grab an espresso before work, when I heard a pop. Then grinding. Then I was bouncing around on the bike seat. A flat tire. How nice. It's been... hours. So I pulled out my gear. Tire patches: check. Sandpaper: check. Plastic tire shoe horn thingies: check. Tire pump: doh! I walked back up 4th Street for about 5 blocks to where I'd noticed a gas station on the ride past. I flipped Ollie over, removed the wheel, the tire, the tube. Then I went to grab the air pump outside of the station. And of course the attachment was the wrong size. So I left the bike with the mechanic, Paz (nice guy), and headed over a few blocks to the Auto Zone where I rummaged around a few aisles and picked up some pump adaptors. Which, when I returned to the gas station, I discovered didn't work. Luckily I was only out $3 at this point, but now I would be late for work. And I had no idea how I was going to get there.

Now, I consider myself a relatively savvy city girl. I've been stranded all over the place (too many to get into here, but Yerevan, Guatemala City, and rural Bolivia come to mind) and have always managed to get where I needed to go eventually. I'm in Washington: there's public transit. I wasn't sure about putting just the back wheel on with no tire, so I carried my bike to the Rhode Island metro station which, conveniently, was only about 5 blocks away. (P.S.- Walking around town carrying a bike: not a bad workout, either. Yeah, maybe I'm just not getting enough exercise these days.) Not much to report about the next portion of my journey, but I did get some funny looks on the train with Ollie slung over my shoulder and tire/wheel/tube in my hand. Oh, and I was covered with grease. That might have been part of it. In general, people were pretty nice on the metro, and I chatted with someone or other for most of the ride. Lots of sympathy, which I hadn't expected. I made it to Eastern Market and then had a mere 5 blocks or so to schlep Ollie and I was home free. Or at least near a tire pump....

1 comment:

comrade rudy said...

you are cursed.

maybe you can use that fat employee discount to pick up some spare tubes.