Saturday, April 22, 2006

Flat Tire equals serious buzzkill

So, I've been riding my bike for some 10 miles today, I'm all warmed up and the sun's out, and here it comes, the huge hill to climb at the Botanical Gardens at Whitnall Park, once I'm up it, it's smooth sailing for awhile. I've got the latest Morrissey cranked up on the iPod, I'm panting every stroke, and then I've done it, I've made it to the top of the hill, and man, woo-hoo, I rock and I'm sailing past the visitor center, past where cars can go, I see my favorite tree, and right when Morrissey starts wailing like a bouzouki, I feel it. Whoosh. Flat tire. Damn, damn, hell and damnation. Damn Damn Damn. Ferocious buzzkill. Hell and damnation.

Oh, did I mention this was the third flat tire in 7 days? Just yesterday I got one coming home from work, and though I had Gallery Night to go to, I dropped everything, threw the bike on top of the car, and hightailed it to Wheel and Sprocket, where I'd been just six days before, absolutely convinced I was gong to be buying a whole new everything on the back wheel that isn't made of metal. They're nice about it, they convince me that only the inner tube needs to be replaced and since I'm on their maintence plan, no charge. The Mr. Tuffy has some imperfections in it, that must be the issue, so he offers to cut off the end with the problems, and, against my better judgement, I let him, instead of doing what my gut told me to do, which was just shell out the $20 for a new Mr Tuffy. The one tech, however, questions me when I mention that there's something wrong with the valve, because I couldn't even use my CO2 cartridge to fill it. "Do you have an adapter?" he asks. "What kind of adapter? I just have this thingy that goes on those kinds of valves..." "Well, you need a special adapter to fit on that," and I point out that I HAVE the right fitting for a Presta valve, my CO2 pump won't even work on schraders. Geez, I've had this bike for three years now, dontcha think I would have noticed by now that I don't have a schrader valve? "Look, I'm not as blonde as I used to be," but he didn't quite get it.

At least today, I'm within walking distance of W&S, as I am at Whitnall Park, after all, but still, major buzzkill. I'm limping up highway 100 in the curb lane, and some bitch in a butt-ugly SUV honks at me and flips me off, because how dare I have my bicycle in the curb lane, where she clearly needs to be somewhere fast and doesn't feel like waiting the five seconds for traffic to clear so she can get around me after her right turn into the curb lane off Janesville road. And where does it turn out she needs to be in such a grave emergency? Is she rushing her son to the ER? Is she racing to a friend's house to talk them out of doing something rash? Is she hightailing it to the store because she she broke some eggs into the biscuits and just realized she's short on baking powder? Hell no, she had to get past me in such a grave hurry because she needed to pull into fucking Starbucks! She pours her fat ass topped off by a bad perm out of her ugly gas-guzzling SUV to go into Starbucks, ostensibly to get some whipped cream and special flavored sugary thing that is coffee in name only. As opposed to me, doing something healthy like riding my fat ass off, topped by a haircolor that's showing some outgrowth, but today is hidden by a helmet. I hated that fat bitch and realized why: five years ago, she was me. Except I would have never honked at a bicyclist (I've always been a biker) and I would never drive such a butt ugly vehicle. And I've driven some ugly machines, let me tell you. But the being fat and living on crappy fast food was me. I could have concentrated on her terrible perm, or the hideous outfit she had on to diss her and her impatient rudeness, but of course, since I hate the fat that is me, I hate it in everybody else, too. But only when its a bitchy situation. When people are cool, fat is not an issue. I'm such a bitch, eh?

But anyway, as I see the oasis that is W&S, I remembered that I had nothing on me but my cell phone and Ipod, so if I do have to replace anything, (and I know I will, for I am now convinced that there is an gremlin in my rear wheel and I will have to literally burn rubber to eradicate all that evil), I have no cash and hopefully somebody will remember I was there less than 24 hours ago (and 6 days, too!) with the same issue. But, as it were, I was done being disgusted by the bitch in the black SUV and more disgusted with myself when I walked into W&S. I didn't recognize any of the techs from last night, but Matt, with whom I've spent at least four figures and is on a first name basis with me, is there and sees to it that I'm taken care of after I blow off the steam from the flat tire, the bitch at Starbucks, and the fact that I'm in a bikeshop loaded with people in great shape wearing a skintight t-shirt dripping with sweat and rolling with fat. "As you can smell," I explained to the tech who was taking care of me, "I was in the middle of a ride when, poof!" I end up needing a whole new Mr Tuffy, and they're kind enough to let me put it on layaway and call in my credit card number when I get home. The crew behind the service counter laughs when I mention the Morrissey I was listening to, and I plead "No, really, you wouldn't think Morrissey wouldn't be good for hill climbing motivation, but this new stuff really is good for that." Nevertheless, as they send me on my merry way home, I switch off to the Allman Brothers with a little Dandy Warhols toward the end.

Hopefully, they've finally troubleshot this, and its my last flat for awhile.

Oh, this episode is Reason #743 why you should buy your bike at a locally owned and operated bike shop and develop a relationship with the local businesspeople. Heck, its reason #743 why you should buy your ANYTHING at a locally owned and operated ANYTHING. Do you think some underpaid schmoe at Walmart would have let me walk out of there with a $20 Mr Tuffy on a smile and a promise?

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