Sunday, July 15, 2007

The kindness of bicyclists

This morning, I loaded the boys in my double jogging stroller and set out on the hike to Target. We were out of tissues and in need of another baby lock (the one on the pareve cabinet in the kitchen broke over Shabbos). My ISIL, incidentally, mentioned this morning that her husband thought it was silly how many people are pushing around jogging strollers who never ever jog. I said no no, they are the most practical things imaginable: easy to push, good tough wheels, the best thing when you have a long way to walk and want to move fast. (As long as you're not planning on using any public transportation along the way--they're awful to get on buses.)

The trouble is, though, that you do have to keep the tires pumped.

I'm not so good about that.

A couple of blocks away from our house, I noticed that the stroller was veering off to one side. Was the front wheel out of alignment? No. Was Barak, who was walking holding one side of the stroller, pulling on it? No. Was the... oh. Yeah. That back tire was totally, completely flat.

Hmm. I didn't have my pump with me, because it's really too heavy to carry everywhere. And I really, really didn't want to go home, unload everybody, bring the stroller back up the stairs and inside, pump up the tires, and start over. It was getting hot already and I'd lose 45 minutes that way, easily.

That was when I spotted, across an intersection, a whole horde of spandex-clad, spiffily helmeted bicyclists on fancy bikes, obviously about to start biking a billion miles or so.

What could be better? I crossed the street.

"Excuse me," I asked the closest woman, "This is kind of a silly question, but does one of you have a bicycle pump?"

It was sort of like asking me, in my own home, if I have any yarn. I was converged upon by bicyclists with every manner and type of bicycle pump, pump attachments, and, um, whatever you call the little thing that has to fit just right on the little thing that you pump on the tire. Some of them pumped air. Some of them actually had little CO2 cartridges, like the kind you use to make soda water. They were all ridiculously tiny and high-tech-looking. I had sort of expected someone would say, "Here, I have a pump," and hand it to me--no no no. The tires were examined and their dire state of flatness exclaimed over in tones of horror. They were then expertly pressure-gauged, pumped, pumped with a different pump, poked, tested, and found good. There were at least six people working on my stroller for me. It was like having my own personal pit crew. I said as much.

"Barak, are they helping us fix the tires?"

"Yeah! They're very smart."

(Now, in all honesty I should point out that that he says this because his mother has him totally indoctrinated into the necessity of wearing bike helmets. If he sees anyone with a bike helmet, he tells me, "He's wearing a helmet. That's very smart." Woe unto the rider who isn't: "Ohhh. He's not wearing a helmet. He's not very smart. He could fall and hurt himself! Go boom on his keppy! That would hurt a lot.")

The bicyclists, of course, did not know the background to this (and were, as I said, all helmeted to the nines). Once our tires were pronounced road-worthy, we all wished each other a good ride and set off, me with my three wheels and all of them with their two.

Two blocks away, Barak realized what he was missing. "Imma? I needa helmet please. I needa be smart."

Maybe it's time for a tricycle.


Deborah said...

I hope you also bought a helmet at Target! Reward those smart desires.

Deborah said...

I hope you also bought a helmet at Target! Reward those smart desires.

Anonymous said...

Wow! A tricycle!!! I can't wait!

whsamet said...

Okay, this time you really cracked me up. I had to send this post to my husband at work. You see, he is an avid cyclist. 52 road miles every Saturday (goyem) and several hours of mountain biking on Sundays. Much as he loves the biking itself, he also loves all those gadgets and tools and opportunities to fix things (again, goyem I think). And...he loves proselytizing about biking. He definately would have been one of those guys who each had a better way to pump up your tire and make sure you were all squared away. He probably would have had Barak up on his bike playing with him if it had been okay with you. Can't get them started biking too early you know. Oh yeah, and he 6' 4" and wears those crazy clothes, too.


jasmin said...

Yeah! hooray for everybody.

I also found the jogging stroller hard to steer, but maybe that's because of the model I had, 9 years ago (nine! yikes)