22 September 2008

This great fraternity on wheels...

Yesterday I took my boy cycling to Tatton Park - just an afternoon, taking advantage of the good weather in a safe environment but not without its little challenges for a 7 year old - the odd little hill, which taught him a bit about gears, the odd 'off road' bit (hard on my hybrid, but not impossible).

A fellow cyclist was stranded on the side of the (internal) road, seemingly struggling with a flat tyre. I offered help ("Yawright, mate?"). Then joined in the struggled, trying to appear knowledgeable but realising that, three years on, I'm still a newbie. But there again, this chap had only bought his bike on Saturday and was already venturing on a 20-mile inaugural journey of self-discovery, all on his tot with a pocket puncture repair kit, mini-pump and naught else.

First I display my knowledge by making his presta valve work ("here, you unscrew the tip like so"). Then I dispell the notion he had that his bike was tube-less ("here, you pull the tube out like so"). Then I manage to identify a whooping big puncture, and repair it... and then I make my big mistake, for I fail to look for any more punctures. We just left the guy to put the tyre back together, and cycled on.

When we cycled back past the spot, 30' later, he was still there, this time assisted by seriously experienced hands who had identified more punctures (we was still polite and grateful, good chap).

Eventually we saw him cycle on his way - I hope he made the 20 miles back home, and I hope he, like I did in my time, felt the satisfaction that comes from realising you've joined a loose but real fraternity - the People of the Pedal, so to speak.

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