I have so many hills with so many different characteristics and challenges, I should give them nicknames. I’ve talked about The Big Hill often enough, and I now ride it every day. It is epic, in its way.

But it is just one of many hills.

One of my top three most challenging hills is another one that I only deal with on the way home. It is more gradual on the way to work. Luckily in both directions there’s almost no traffic, so I can focus on the physical challenges and not worry about anything else.

Thus, I find that I often have my head down, looking at the road just a few feet in front of me, not paying too much attention to anything further ahead. I am going slow enough and on steep enough hills that there is no worry of reaction time, and simply stopping the motion of pedaling is half of the braking that would be needed, if it was needed at all.

So this afternoon, head down, chugging up a hill very slowly, I noticed a wallet.

Noticed, but it didn’t register right away.

Luckily, by the time my brain caught up, I hadn’t gone very far. I pulled over, laid my bike down, and went back to pick up the wallet. The drivers license was visible through the handy little window. I spent a minute looking to see if there was a phone number on the license, though why I thought there would be, I don’t know. There is something about being on a bike that seems to disconnect me from information I do actually know. I’ve had people ask me for directions, and it takes me a second to figure out where I am from a car perspective and how to get to where they are going in the car. It is a very strange experience.

So after realizing that there was no phone number for me to call to let this poor guy know that he was missing his wallet, but that it was also found, I tried to figure out what the solution was. I put it in my pannier, thinking I would look him up online to find a number when I got home, and if that didn’t work I could drop it off at the DMV or something. I actually started to pedal the rest of the way up the hill before it occurred to me to look at the address.

And sure enough, the address was listed as the apartment complex I’d just passed. So I went back down the hill a tad, and to the lobby of the apartments. After more mental fumbling, I managed to use the call box to contact the management, who thankfully had remained in the office an hour later than the stated management hours.

I was very relieved to be able to hand the wallet over to the manager. He said he would call the owner of the wallet right away. And then he asked if I wanted to leave a number so the young man could call me to thank me. I declined, and went on my way.

You know, the thing about good deeds? They feel good. I’m sure there’s a saying along the lines of doing good deeds is its own reward, and it is so true.

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