Well, yes, there’s Le Tour de France that starts this weekend(!), but that’s not what I’m talking about.
I’ve stopped for two cyclists with flat tires in the last two weeks. Both of them have been walking their bikes along the side of the road – presumably intending to walk all the way home, which is to say, wherever they’re staying. Amazingly, both of these cyclists were French! I mean, what are the odds of that? And they both had nearly brand new bikes. Maybe I’ve got the wrong idea about the French because of Le Tour, I mean it can’t be that everyone over there is a bike nut, but still I was a little surprised by either their inability or their lack of appropriate tools to fix their flats. They both tried to help as I helped them but… well, sometimes two’s a crowd.
On a more personal and/or psychological and/or spiritual note, I have to say that both times I was rather reluctant to stop and help. Does that make me a bad person? Today I was like, oh god, another flat tire walker! And I rode by, but then I realized that was a dick move so I returned. I guess I figure that if you’re already walking your bike then you’ve made the decision that it’s probably just easier to walk it home because you’re close and don’t want to deal with the side of the road, would just rather fix it at home with a beer within reach.
Funny thing though, I was just before I saw this cyclist thinking about the book Siddhartha by Herman Hesse and how a certain one of my friends could probably benefit from reading it. In the book, Siddhartha learns that he can sit, he can fast, and he can wait.
As I was passing this flat-tired-cyclist I was like man it’s hot and I’m hungry and I’m tired from all that work. But then I was like OK, I can wait, I can fast. It can wait. The universe will not be thrown off kilter. No place else to be. So I turned around and we patched the tube. Hopefully that patch holds forever.
So I think I passed the test today and that other day with that other Frenchy. I didn’t get an A today, though. Or that other day for that matter. I think to get an A you’ve got to lose the reluctance and you’ve got to stop on the first pass. I’ll give myself a C. C+, okay.
Now my hands smell like vulcanizing fluid and/or inner tube rubber. That stuff is hard to wash off.
Ceci n’est pas une pneumatique plat…
Vive le France!