The benevolent order of bicyclists

Yesterday I was on a long (and hilly) Cascade Cycling Club ride and I blew a tire. As I was trying to change it, every group that went by — and I was close to the front, and we’d been up a huge hill, which meant it was spread out — asked me if I needed help, if I had everything I needed, and so on. It actually got kind of annoying, trying to fix it and acknowledging everyone.

After everyone had gone by, though, I realized that my piece-of-shit Performance CO2 inflator would not puncture the cartridge (short version: when you screw a cartridge in, there’s a little fitting in there that punches the metal, releasing the pressurized air for use). I tried, I strained, and I realized that I was in the middle of nowhere with a flat tire and no way to fix it. I had spare cartridges, but no spare inflator (and why would I?).

I spent some more time struggling before I called home and asked for an extraction, even though I couldn’t explain where I was. But I was saved! Two guys (not from the ride) came by, asked the question, and I said “do you have a pump I can use?” And soon, I’d given my cartridge to them to use in their non-Performance inflator (fun note: one of the guys had had the exact same problem with his Performance unit).

I then hauled back to the start point before disaster could strike.

I spend a lot of time bitching about stuff, but I love this about serious cyclists. There are cyclists who are jerks, ride inconsiderately, sure. But I’m as anti-social as they come and I ask “You all right?” every time I see someone, and I’d be happy to give whatever I can spare.

And I know too that had I taken a thorn today and had my pump explode, the next biker to come by would have helped. It’s like a cool club, where everyone’s looking out for each other.

This weekend’s tally:
Saturday: ~29 miles, ~2,000 feet of climbing
Today: 95+m, ~3,000 feet of climbing

And I feel really good. If I can keep up this training pace, I may kick STP’s one-day ass this year for the first time ever (having survived it twice before).