Saturday, March 3, 2012

a week of small adventures

Good news, at least for me.  My silence is not a result of Pale Blue Mercedes Guy hunting me down and flinging me onto the windshield of his car for the crime of bicycling next to my husband.  Instead of death by angry white guy I have each day been bicycling along to work, or bicycling home to my family, and each day has had it's small memorable moments.

Monday I am approaching the awkwardly positioned intersection of San Antonio and Charleston.  There are always some cars here that are just too old and feeble or too young and inexperienced to make the corner without pouring their wide fat cars into the very narrow about to go away entirely bike lane.  I handle this by making a preemptive strike into their lane which at minimum gives me an escape zone if they demonstrate that they are too impaired to drive between the lines.

Today I hear a new noise.  Experienced commuter bicyclists are supremely away of their surroundings and a noise that does not fit the usual pattern of belching cars and muffled music and tires on pavement gets our attention.  Like an antelope who has caught a whiff of cheetah I lift my head and peer around alertly.  A moment later I see a sedan with a flat tire clumping up the street to the traffic light.  It is ahead of me and to the left.  Do they know their car has had one of it's legs shot out from underneath it?  We have two gas stations at this corner, it would be a good time to stop.

The light turns green.  The car blaps through the intersection and on up Charleston.  I sigh grouchily and chase after it, clearing the intersection and drawing up even with the car at considerable cost to my long-suffering but not unappreciated leg muscles.  I start gesturing at the woman.  Unfortunately there is a lane in between us and she is not noticing me with the interference of the cars to my immediate left.  I signal and move over so that I am bicycling along beside her.  I wave my arms and pedal.  A car behind me honks, irritated.

The woman finally glances over.  She looks surprised to see a bicyclist hauling ass alongside her.  She thinks it over during which time my heart threatens to cash this check that my legs are writing.  She rolls down her window.  I yell in what I hope is a friendly but informative voice "YOU HAVE A FLAT TIRE, MA'AM!"  Now she looks both surprised and disappointed.  She slows down and I do not die which I am appreciative about.  The cars behind me honk.  As an aside, fuck you and the horse you rode in on cars because this is why we hate you, always honking and fucking shit up when a someone is just trying to help a someone out.

The woman pulls her limping car over and for whatever reason I join her.  Possibly because I can't breathe.  She says, "What should I do?"  I am non-plussed.  When I get a flat tire I generally call the Contraption Captain but I wisely suspect he would be underwhelmed to get a phone call about this.  The woman adds, "Do you think I should call Triple AAA?"  She has a strong accent and English is her second language.  My chafed and grumpy heart stirs a little.  I could change the tire.  But she's asking what she should do and what I think she should do is turn around and slowly and carefully drive the half block back to the gas station and this is what I suggest.  She thinks it over and then nods a little and then she thanks me and we continue on our separate ways.


  1. The Car talk guys are always joking about strapping someone to the hood to help identify strange noises that cars are making, but what they should really do is hire bicycle riding mechanics to ride along and ID noises.
    Would only work for noises that happen at relatively low speeds, unless they have some really fit mechanics.

    1. Maybe this explains the automobiles that attempt to make us over into hood ornaments. In truth they are just looking for information on that funny safety-pin-rattling noise coming from their transmission.