Sunday, February 19, 2006


Murphy's Law is alive and well in Orange County. I've been making the three mile bicycle trip back and forth to work since September with nary a mechanical problem. That all changed in an instant last week. Sure it was bound to happen, but the when, where and how were less than convenient.

The usual Tuesday evening pedal to work was pretty much the standard trip, passing cars backed up at stop signs and signals, only to have those drivers bury their foot and pass me only to have me pass them again at the next traffic control device. I'm always thankful that I don't have to pay their fuel bills. While many don't understand why a licensed driver who owns a vehicle would choose to ride a bicycle, I'll never understand why people accelerate towards a red light or stop sign. It's a wonderful World. Just past the halfway point on my chosen route was an unsually dark section of roadway. The weak LED headlight that blinks on the front of my cruiser does not illuminate the road as well as it alerts drivers of my presence, so I missed a piece of road detitrus that made my back wheel hop a bit and then the unmistakable sound of a tube popping and air rapidly escaping. The trouble-free streak was over that quickly.

Decision time was less than a second. I didn't have a spare tube or patches with me, so it was easy to decide to push my disabled vehicle to work. Do that with a car or motorcyle for a mile and a half. I quickly found out that topsider shoes don't work very well for walking at a rapid pace for more than a hundred yards or so. No biggie, as I had plenty of time to get in and there was sidewalk of the way in.

I arrived at work five minutes before my required showtime and settled in to the usual evening array of troubleshooting and standard tasks without a second thought about my transportation situation. I did have to adjust my break to fit the operational hours of the eateries that are close by, but it dovetailed nicely with the normal system back-up time that is normally a slow period. When things slowed way down for the night, I had a little time to check the bike out and then formulate a plan to remedy things.

The foreign object in question turned out to be a nail of the sort that is shot from a pneumatic nail gun.

The head had gone in first and the sharp end was pointing out. The tube was shredded, so patches would not have helped any, even if I had some with me. I decided to walk home after work and come back with a wrench, tube and pump later. I also decided to carry the aforementioned items with me on my commute from now on and that I had been very lucky to this point with all of the discarded crap and debris that litters the roadways here.



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