I’d been up since 2 a.m.
Awakened by the need to use the bathroom and hounded by concerns about the Church Women United meeting I was hosting in our church building later that morning, I laid awake in bed for 30 minutes before accepting the fact that sleep was not going to return and joining my computer in the office. I finished preparations for the meeting, corrected all the assignments my Electronic High School students had submitted, responded to all the emails in my inbox, and found myself with just enough time to take a mind-cleansing, body-awakening bike ride before it would be time to head over to the church building and begin setting up for the meeting.
I was 45 minutes into my planned 60 minute ride when my tire went suddenly and completely flat. To prevent such a scenario, I’d equipped my bike with thick (and heavy and slow) thorn-resistant tubes and filled the tubes with Stan’s (“The #1 Rated Tire Sealant on the Market. Just two ounces of Stan's in a converted standard tire or tubeless tire can repair punctures up to 1/4" almost instantly to keep you rolling.) Nonetheless, I had a flat, I was a long way from home, I had no phone with me, and there was a group of women arriving at the church in less than an hour to help me set up for the Church Women United “World Day of Prayer” celebration.
No need to panic yet…. Phones are findable, Lance was accessible, and it was very possible I would still be home within the hour time frame I’d given myself for the bike ride. This was do-able. A gracious stranger loaned me his phone, a gracious (and groggy) Lance answered the call and it looked like all would be well.
Being the type of person who does not graciously stand still (Can you say “impatient”?), I began walking my bike home, planning on meeting Lance en route….which would have been fine had I accurately described the route I would be taking or had I a cell phone with me so that I could have made course description corrections. I had neither.
I walked, towing my bike, for what seemed like hours. Precious time was ticking away. I knew Lance was somewhere, stressed because he could find me and stressed because he knew I was stressed. And I was stressed. It was becoming increasingly clear that, though I had been up since 2 a.m., I was going to be late to the 10:00 a.m. meeting that I was in charge of.
My head swirling in a cloud of panic, I did not notice the car that was pulling up beside me until it stopped almost in my path. From the car exited a good man…..who happened to also be my brother-in-law (Lance’s brother), Chris.
Chris, who is an avid biker, saw someone (me) walking her bike, knew from experience that people usually do not walk bikes for pleasure, and pulled over to offer his help. Only after stopping did he realize he’s stopped to assist someone in his family.
Long story short: Chris called Lance, Lance found me, I rushed home, showered quickly, and “made it to the church on time”.
Fast forward a month or so……
A weekend wind storm knocked out power through much of Ogden and forced several local schools, including mine, to cancel classes. The unexpected free day was a precious gift and I decided to celebrate by going on a long bike ride.
I’d replaced the puncture-resistant tubes, filled them with Stan’s again, and once more set out for a bike adventure. This time I had a two hour time frame and a plan to bike the Ogden River Parkway to the mouth of Ogden Canyon and back. I started at 1:00 in the afternoon and would be home at 3:00, in time to greet Miles when he came home from school.
The ride along the Parkway was stunning—winter brown turning to spring green, wild winds turned to gentle breezes, pleasant sunshine not yet turned to oppressive heat—until about 45 minutes into the ride when, once again, my tire went instantly and unmistakably flat. Though I had a cell phone this time there was no one at home to rescue me and, once again, walking my bike become the only viable option.
Fortunately I was about a mile away from 2nd Track Sports, the shop from which I had purchased both the bike and the tubes, so I began my trek. Even more fortunately, about a half mile or so into my bike-pulling stroll, Perry Huffaker, Ogden’s Public Ways and Park’s Manager—a man who I see only once a year at the Arbor Day celebration that had occurred the Friday before—was driving a truck on the same road. He stopped and offered me a ride to the bike shop. In fact he said, “I’ll accompany you inside to make sure they treat you right.” And he did.
He walked my bike into the store, said “This young lady (!!?!?!) bought these tubes here that are supposed to be puncture -proof and she has a flat and you need to take care of her and get her back on the road.” After assuring himself I was being properly taken care of, he gave me his cell phone number “just in case” and left.
Andy, the 2nd Track Sports bike mechanic, was on it. Andy is a great guy and would have been whole heartedly “on it” without Perry admonition. Turns out the problem was a hole (rather large) in the tire through which the tube herniated, which caused the rupture. He “ghetto” patched the tire but was not confident his patch would hold. They did not have a tire in stock to replace my holey one.
Young, hip, handsome Andy, offered to leave work early (“I was going to leave early anyway to go to the chiropractor”) and drop me off at home (“My neck has stopped hurting anyway so I don’t really need to see the chiropractor”); an offer I graciously accepted and he even more graciously fulfilled.
Recently I’ve been blessed with a few good men (lots of them actually) in my life….
…now if I could be blessed with a few good tires! (I only need two!)