Monday, 15 June 2009

The good, the bad and the puncture

I had a bit of a rubbish weekend.

Dad had to be taken to hospital because he had a nose bleed. The blood thinners he takes post-stroke meant it wouldn't stop bleeding and in a monumental bottom-covering exercise he had to be taken in. It meant mum and dad missed the play we'd gone to see (at the Globe) while my sisters and I watched our God-brothers.

Then when I cycled to Paddington the Strand was closed and it took me ages to get round. I took the last train home at 11.40pm and, although I managed to bag the cycle storage spot on the train, I hate taking the last train home while sober. I was asked 'Where do I get off?' by one rather wobbly-looking guy. I said I wasn't sure. I got home at 12.40am.

On Saturday I taught the children while exhausted then stayed in with Mr Weenie.

On Sunday Mr Weenie's laptop broke, with all his work on it and the PC shop refused to take responsibility despite it being the second time it had happened in two months and they had replaced it last time. Grrrrrrr.

Then the cat peed on the bed. AGAIN.

I decided to get in some mileage on Reg as Pete was out trying to get his data recovered and I was upset and angry. Cycling off rage is very effective. I planned out a local circuit and en route I saw a new-born foal, the sun was out and I made excellent time. So I decided to do it again. But as I came up the last hill, I realised I could feel the road a little too closely. My front tire was totally flat.

I'd decided to bring my pump and repair kit with me just in case but I realised my pump didn't fit my new tire valves. I unhooked my pannier and prepared to wheel Reg the three miles home. I was practically in tears. As I prepared to head home, an older gentleman on a well-worn but quality touring bike stopped next to me.

'Puncture?' 'Yep, I've got a pump and repair kit but I'm not sure the pump fits my new valves.' At this point he got off his bike, rubbed his hands together and said a magical thing. 'Well lets get that wheel off and check shall we?'

I stood in shock as he showed me how to get the wheel off, got out his tire levers, whipped out the inner tube, reversed my pump so it would fit the valve, helped me patch the hole, found the glass embedded in the tire that had caused the problem, put it all back together again and gave me lots of advice on my trip to Brighton and which tire levers I should buy. Apparently he's helped many a stranded cyclist in his time. He informed me he started cycling when the dead sea was merely ill. But he'll only help those who have taken the time to put a pump and repair kit in their bag as it shows they've thought about it.

I stammered thanks throughout but all he said was that I should help if I saw someone in the same situation. What a star. My faith in humanity was restored and the good feeling lasted me all through the night to this morning as I gaily pedalled to work.

Pity I hit that pothole and got smacked in the love button by my saddle. It took the shine off my good mood somewhat.

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