Don’t get me wrong, I like to ride my bike. I like to ride my bike to work.
It was fine coming in. I wasn’t raining when I left the house, but it started to come down in a desultory way about a quarter mile from the house. When I got to Marymoor Park, I stripped off my jacket because I was getting overheated. But, by the time I left the park, it started to rain in earnest, and I had to switch out the sweater and the coat. But no big, I made it into the office, stripped off my wet things, and set them by the fan. I dried my socks, then heated them in the oven on “warm” and then put them on.
On the way home, it was dark and raining pretty hard. As I came down the big hill of 228th in fast dense suburban traffic, my front wheel was feeling really squirrelly. At the light at the bottom, I felt it – a flat. I rode carefully in to Pacific Bikes, a bike shop luckily just a few blocks away.
I joked with the techs that it was great to be in the well-lit, dry, warm shop with a floor pump and any tool I might happen to need. I’ve never really been in there, and all the staff was really nice. MY MISTAKE – I replaced the tube and threw the scabby thing away but didn’t buy a new one.
I came down Inglewood Hill and rode around the top of the lake. As I was exiting Marymoor Park, my back wheel started feeling squirrelly. After I got through the intersection of West Lake Samm and Bel-Red, I felt it. Flat.
I rode a little longer, up to the intersection of NE 40th and Bel Red. I got out all my tools, and started to work. There’s good street lights there, but it was still very dark, and pouring rain.
Could I find the hole in the tube? I kept listening for hissing, looking, found nothing. The 249 came by, but wouldn’t take me. My bike was too crippled to go in the rack, but I couldn’t bring it on the bus.
After the bus drove away, I started to cry. I had already left work quite late, and at that point I had given up on going home, and before, I had figured I was riding directly to Interlake High School to hear my daughters’ band concert. So there I was. Low blood sugar. Exhausted. Soaked through. Next bus in an hour. Cell phone merrily charging on the kitchen counter at home. The ability to fix the bike enough to make it rideable looking dimmer and dimmer, and still a three mile walk to either home or the school.
I cried and cried and cried.
I stopped my sobbing, and reduced myself to just little periodic whimpers, and returned to looking for the leak. While messing with the tube, a woman stopped by, asked if I needed help. Turns out she was a band parent from Interlake.
Story shortened: She took me and my bike home in her minivan. My husband made a sack dinner out of the leftovers from the dinner he made for himself and the girls. I changed into dry clothes, grabbed the sack, and while we missed the first two numbers of Emma’s Jazz Band II’s performance, I at least heard the last one, and all of Rose’s Jazz I. I ate my dinner cold out in the cafeteria during Symphonic Band, but heard Emma in Concert Band and Rose in Wind Ensemble.
So it turned out OK. Lots of lessons here:
A. Have a spare tube at all times
B. Keep the cell phone charged and with you
C. If you’re really going to take the bus and your bike is in a state of disassembly, have it set up so you can easily abandon the bike and lock it up and get on the f’ing bus. 5 years ago