June 20, 2005

Flat tire story, or, What is wrong with people, anyway?

After taking care of a few things yesterday morning, Dr. Dregs and I decided to load up the bikes and venture out to Plymouth for a short afternoon ride on the Luce Line Trail, since we wanted to see how our bikes would do on a crushed-limestone surface with their skinnier tires (this is because we're planning to do some riding on the Mickelson Trail in the Black Hills in a couple of weeks, and we wanted to make sure our tires were up to it). Dregs is still recovering from an ankle sprain, so the plan was to take it slow and easy, and not go very far.

Despite the heat, it was a spectacularly gorgeous day for a ride, and as a bonus, the trail was not that crowded. The bikes seemed to be performing very well on the unpaved surface, and we were pretty happy. After a few miles, Doc Dregs decided to forge ahead a little way. I didn't think he should push it with his ankle, but he wanted to, so he took off while I continued at my leisurely pace. A couple more miles down the trail, I noticed that something felt weird, so I stopped, and sure enough, my rear tire was flat.

I was a little annoyed, but I had tools, a new tube, and a mini pump, so I knew I could fix the tire, given enough time. I took out my cell phone and called John, who didn't answer (he couldn't hear his phone's ringer). I left him a message to let him know why I wouldn't be catching up with him, removed the rear wheel, and got to work. I was in a nice shady spot, but had to work on the edge of the trail, since the vegetation was too tall and thick off the trail.

So here I am, a single woman, sitting on the edge of the trail, bike in pieces next to me. Other cyclists pass me, obviously note my presence, and say nothing. What's up with that? I didn't really need any help, but it seems to me like it's common courtesy to ask. I don't think I look threatening at all -- it just isn't possible they thought I was a thug or a serial killer trying to lure them in (also, this is in the western suburbs a stone's throw from Lake Minnetonka -- not exactly a high-crime area). A family out walking passed, me too -- father and three kids -- without so much as a "Hey, are you okay?" I just don't get it. Finally, a couple of serious-looking cyclists on road bikes did stop and ask me if I needed any help. I didn't, but it was nice for someone finally to ask.

Eventually, John got my message and came back, and helped me finish fixing the tire. We set off for the car, but a couple of miles in, my tire was flat again. That really did annoy me, since I thought I had checked the tire pretty carefully for whatever caused the first flat. Fortunately, we were near a road and only a few miles from the car, so I waited at the intersection while John went back for the car and came to pick me up. Although it wasn't how I intended to spend my afternoon, it was pretty pleasant waiting for him -- it was one of those spots on the trail where if you don't look at the golf course (of the Wayzata Country Club), you can't tell you're surrounded by suburbia.

So anyway, the ride was nice while it lasted, and it was good just being out on such a pretty day, though I could have done without the tire fixing (especially since it didn't work). But why is it that my fellow trail users couldn't be bothered to inquire after my well-being? That's a pretty sad commentary on the state of the world.

Posted by at June 20, 2005 11:29 AM