Yesterday I went on a long bike ride as I won't be able to do another one prior to my triathlon next Sunday down in Washington DC (I have to drop my bike off tomorrow to be shipped down there since I can no longer take it on the train. Damn you Amtrak!)
Anyway, I am about to go over the GW bridge up by 180th street and am cruising along enjoying the emptiness of West Harlem at 7:30am on a Sunday morning, when my front tire explodes with an audible *pop.* Lord knows what I hit--a shard of glass or even a bottle cap at the right angle--all I knew was that I was over 120 blocks from home with an un-rideable bike, and there was a bum laughing at me.
Being an idiot, I had not brought any spare tubes or tire patches with me, so I start to walk. I'm clicking along in my bike shoes (not comfortable for walking, by the way), and after about fifteen minutes, a man in full cycling gear with a charming Caribbean accent stops, asks if I'm ok, and upon seeing my busted tire, goes, "no worries, I can help you fix that. It is easy. I'll show you how."
And so he patches up my tube in no time at all, giving my dumb self a tutorial in the process, not to mention saving me from the worlds longest and most embarrassing walk of all time. The fact that he took twenty minutes when he was obviously out for a three-hour joy ride himself was possibly the penultimate "good Samaritan" act I have ever been the recipient of, and now I can only hope I have an opportunity to "pay it forward" in the near future. People in this city never cease to amaze me, and this was certainly one of the most pleasant surprises I have ever been privy to.
I only wish I had gotten his address so I could send him a pie or perhaps a whole basket of fresh fruit, him being a fit and health-conscious cyclist and all.