A wonderful moment on the West Side Highway…

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Which started out crappy.

So I think I mentioned I bought this new bike. Well, it’s mostly been cold and crappy here, so I haven’t been out too much to ride it yet.

Today, though, was gorgeous out. So I decided to have a go. Up the West Side Highway to the GW Bridge, and back. 12-13 miles or so. Not bad. Just to test it out.

Works beautifully. Really nice action on the pedals, I’m learning how to get in and out of the pedal locks on the shoes, etc… It’s good.

Until I get a flat.

On 135th Street and the Hudson River.

I live about 4 miles from that.

I’m wearing bike shoes.

Now naturally, being a responsible rider, I have a spare tube and tools in the little pouch on the bike, as well as a pump. Sweet.

Except, I don’t have a clue how to replace a tire on a bike.

I take out the spare tube. I take out the tools. I take look at the tire.

I spend ten minutes looking from the tire to the tube to the tools.

This gets me nowhere.

I gingerly turn a knob on the bike.

Nothing happens.

Like I’d expected the entire bike to magically fix itself from turning that knob.

Which, not surprisingly, it didn’t.

It’s getting dark.

I’m getting frustrated.

I can start and sell more than one company, I can write a book, and save my life while plummeting to earth at 120 miles an hour, but I can’t change a f-cking bike tire.

I look to the sky, and remember my Grandpa Dave. He died when I was about eight months old, but I’ve heard some amazing stories.

He was an engineer. He was one of the guys responsible for laying the groundwork for ARPANET, the precursor to the Internet.

He designed the lighting for JFK Airport. Or maybe LaGuardia. A big airport in the area, so it was one of those two.

Anyway, Grandpa Dave was really, really smart.


Sadly, I was not Grandpa Dave.

I tried channeling him.

It didn’t work.

I looked at the tools again, and tried channeling him.

Again, it didn’t work.

After about five more minutes of unsuccessfully attempting to channel Grandpa Dave, I gave up and started walking my bike the long four miles home.

About a minute into this, a flashing light signals another biker coming towards me, on his way home.

With two full-of-air tires, I noted, frustratedly.

He stopped, though, and asked – “You need a hand?”

“You wouldn’t know how to change a tire on a bike and feel like teaching me, would you?” I asked.

“Sure, I’d be happy to,” he said. “It’s good karma.”

“Oh, dude, you have no idea how much I appreciate this. Thank you SO much. Here are all the tools, and the tube, and thank you thank you thank you. I’m Peter,” I said.

“Hey, Peter,” he said, extending a hand. My name’s David.

Then, about 20 seconds later, he repeated above sentence again, because I’d apparently been staring at him like an idiot while I tried to process that.

Within five minutes, I’d learned how to fix a flat, my bike was up and running, and Dave shook my hand and was on his way.

I rode home with a happy grin on my face.

Thank you, David.

And thank you, Grandpa Dave, for watching out for your sometimes-a-dumbass grandson.

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