Well, I knew it had to happen someday! Despite bulletproof tires.

The many things I am grateful for:

  1. Rich! Not only a handy mechanic, a fix-it kind of person who can figure most anything out, he is an elementary school science teacher, so he’s had lots of practice with being patient.
  2. It was a gorgeous day out
  3. I had the necessary supplies to change the tire
  4. It was on my way home
  5. Though it took me almost an hour to accomplish, I did accomplish it.
  6. Flat tires are no longer something to fear

As I rode today, creaking and aching every where there is to creak and ache (those 108 Sun Salutations are the gift that keeps on giving), I felt like I was especially slow on the one road I find it especially important to be fast on. And then I had a sinking suspicion that I was riding on the rim of my back tire. So I pulled into the next side road to check it out.

That tire was flat as flat could be. I looked at it for a few minutes, hoping to change reality, but just as honking your horn doesn’t change the reality of someone being in front of you, staring at a flat tire does not magically inflate and de-puncture the tire.

And so I dug in my bag to find my spare tire and the tools I’d secretly hoped never to need to use. I loosened the quick release, and started to take off the tire. And that’s when I became intimidated by the chain and the rear deraileur, and dug in my bag for the next most important tool to carry – the cell phone.

Rich answered right away, and in his hello was both a laugh and an “uh oh”. We never talk on the phone. Text, email, visit, but the only time we talk on the phone is when I’m lost, need directions, announcing my arrival, or….have a flat tire.

He talked me through everything, and it was incredibly nice to have a friend there with me, via phone if no other way. I like to think I’d have managed it completely on my own, but I’m glad I didn’t have to.

And in the end, that tube was changed, the new tube was inflated, I got the wheel back on the bike (after considerable effort, and this was where Rich’s experience with 7 years olds came in handy), and managed to reconnect the brake (that’s where my puny muscles were really put to the test), and with blackened hands (I wiped as much off onto the grass as possible, but there is only so much you can wipe off on the grass!) I set back off on my trip.

It was empowering, when all is said and done. It was a great feeling. And I was somehow that much more comfortable on the bike as I made my way home.

So it ended up being a 2 hour commute home, but that just means I was outside for 2 hours on an incredibly gorgeous fall day, talking to a great friend for almost half of that.

A great day, really.

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