My Homer Simpson Moment … and a Happy Ending

Just the other evening, I got a late start home. While not dark, it was rapidly getting there (it was cold too!). On the bike trail, blissfully ignorant, I am making good time when I managed to run over something sharp.

POP!!! Hissssssssssss …….. and the front tire rapidly deflates. ARRRRRRGGGGHH!!!! Flat tire!!!

I pull over to the side of the trail, and look for the evidence. Sure enough, there is a quarter-inch slice in the tire. Nothing in the tire now ……. I go back on the trail to look for the culprit, but it’s getting darker by the moment (colder too) and I can’t see anything that would have caused the puncture. Oh well. Time to change the tire. Release the quick-release lever, pop off the tire and …………….. something made a noise. A closer inspection and I saw two sets of wires now dangling next to the front forks. D’OH!!!!!

See, I had forgotten about my dynamo lighting system. There are wires that run from the lights down to the hub and plug in there. My quick pop off of the tire, without properly releasing the wires, caused them to strip out from their connection piece. So, after fixing the flat (an adventure in itself in the failing light) I tried to connect the wires back …… but cannot get the lights to work.

By now, it has gotten very dark, very cold, and I’m a long way from home, and I have no lights. No lights? Oh yes, I forgot to mention I let my son have my other backup light for his bike the week before, expecting to buy a new one — just hadn’t got around to that yet. Thankfully, another rider comes by and he lets me ride with him for most of my commute home — I really didn’t want to be a bike ninja.

So now, the Happy Ending. The next day, right after work I pedal to Kyle’s Bike Shop. Kyle had done the original dynamo hub and light installation, and I figured he would know how the wires should get re-connected. To make a long story a bit shorter, he did. He showed me what to do in the event this happens again so I don’t strip the wires. He also takes a moment to check the front spokes, notices a few he feels are a bit loose, and he trues up the rim and tightens a few spokes. After all said-and-done, I pull out my wallet to pay him for his time, and he says “Hey — no charge”. I insist. He declines, saying this is how he wants to win continued business for his shop.

The moral to the story? If there is one, I guess it would be I’m glad we have bike shops like Kyle’s that are still in business. I know the lure of the Internet deal, but having a relationship with a local bike shop can really save your bacon. I am guessing, but I bet some of you may have bike shops that also treat you with this kind of respect. That’s why we need to give them our business, even when the “Internet Special” emailed to us shows a lower price. And a “Wally-World” business — do you think you’d get that kind of service from them? I suspect not ….

So I am now sitting at my desk, enjoying a donut (Mmmmmmmmm, donuts!) and I’m confessing to you my Homer moment. Anyone else out there with similar stories to tell? 🙂

2 replies
  1. Keri
    Keri says:

    Right on! Relationship-building an supporting the local economy are a win/win!

    Now my tire-changing Homer moment:

    I was on my way to meet Mighk for lunch. Leaving from Maitland with barely enough time to get to White Wolf, I knew I was pushing it. I was turning from Howell Branch to Lake Howell when the bike suddenly didn’t feel right. Sure enough, the back tire was going flat.

    I pulled over at the shopping center and found a tree to work under (it was August). I’m capable of being very quick with a rear-wheel tire change… when I’m not in a hurry.

    I removed the pannier, set the chain, released the wheel and then discovered that the bike was unwieldy with the trunk on it. But rather than stop and take the trunk off, I fought through it, knocking the chain off the chainring in the process. I laid the bike down and then realized I needed the tool kit out of the trunk, so I reached under the trunk and pulled the zipper… and out into the grass came a cascade of coins and loose bits I had stuffed in the top pocket. I pulled the wrong zipper (DOH!)

    The tire change, including finding the culprit still stuck in the tire, took about 3 minutes. But cleanup of my mess and then having to reset the chain, all because I didn’t take a second to take the trunk off cost me a lot more time.

    I hate to be late, so I hammered to lunch… on an empty stomach. And very nearly puked on the sidewalk upon arrival. That would have been a grand entrance.

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