Saturday, July 27, 2013

Angels with wheels

Today is day 101 for me.  If you've been following my blog, you know that I have been wrestling (not very hard) with a charging system issue.  I wheeled the bike out and put the bags back on and decided that if it started strongly, I'd go over and see whatever event Battley had going on and if not, I would simply take a nice ride without any stops. 

I turned the key, switched it to run, and pressed start.  The starter had that hesitant sound that tells me that if I get another start out of the battery, I'm darned lucky.  Just a ride, no stops.  Not the best of plans, but that was as much planning as I did.  I set out west on Rt. 108, planning to take it to 650, then go east to Georgia Avenue then south back into town.  The ride was beautiful.  The sky had that wonderful glow that you get from the sun backlighting the clouds and I could feel the presence of the Heavenly Father smiling down on creation. 

When I got to about midway between 108 and Georgia, I noticed that the bike was handling funny.  A bit wobbly, as if a wheel were loose.  I knew that that wasn't likely, but there was definitely a problem.  I slowed and when I got to Georgia, I pulled into the old gas station/store.  I checked the back tire and found that it was soft.  Very soft.   The gas station portion of the store has been closed for years and no air was available, leaving me in a position where it was either limp or leave the bike.  I chose the former and began limping it down Georgia at about twenty to twenty five miles an hour.

I would pull off in driveway or intersection aprons to let traffic by, as the speed limit is fifty.  On one of these stops, two bikers pulled up with me, a lady and a gent.  She was riding a Harley Davidson Sportster and he a Yamaha V-Star.  She asked what the problem was and I explained the situation and what I was trying to do.  She said that they didn't live far and if worse came to worse, she had a trailer.  They offered to follow me to the BP, where the air is free.  I gladly accepted.

She rode ahead and he behind, as she would signal if it were clear ahead and he could direct faster traffic to pass us.  Riding the bike on a soft tire was challenging.  Turning meant slowing a lot and turning by turning the wheel rather than leaning the bike.  The most challenging part was the sharp uphill curve and 90 degree turn in Brookville.  The rest of it was a straight shot.  They stayed with me up to the 108 and Georgia intersection, where the BP is, at which point we parted ways and they went east on 108.

The end result was that I got into BP, filled the tire and got home before it went flat.  When I got into my driveway, I listened for the escaping air and found the hole.  It was a 1/4" diagonal cut in the center of the tread.  I called Connor, my younger son, and got out my tire repair kit and gave him a lesson on tire repair.  I used a bicycle pump to refill the tire and checked it with soapy water.  No bubbles.  The leak was fixed. 

The lesson?  Angels are not always spirits, but are also people, like you and I.  Any of us can be an angel to anyone else.  These two angels helped me to get to my destination safely and gave me the reassurance that if I couldn't make it, I wouldn't have had to leave Comet.  These two made my day.  What could have been a major pain became an opportunity to encounter two very wonderful people.  A lot of groups like to talk about brother/sisterhood and community, but most of the time it's just talk.  But when it comes to bikers, it is the real deal.  The brother/sisterhood of bikers is real.  It goes beyond waving and a shared aversion to being hit by cars.  Bikers really are there for one another.  And have a reputation for being there for motorists as well.

Not all angels have wings. Some have wheels.  So to whomever it is that helped me today, you are both angels!  Blessings be upon you and may your rides be ever safe!  You have my thanks!  And more importantly, my own pledge to 'pay it forward' to whomever I should encounter in need.

Rock hard & ride free!

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