Most cyclists have been caught in a situation before where they kick themselves for their stupidity. Last week, while the weather seemed a bit more like spring than February, my giddiness took over and I headed out for a ride...without a spare tube. I got a mile or so into the ride when I realized I had left the pump and tube at home. I took the "lazy" way out and decided to keep going. I hadn't had a flat in ages but as most of you know, when you don't bring an umbrella, it rains.
As I neared the furthest spot from my house, the unmistakable wobble came from my front wheel. Sure enough, the tire was going flat and there I was, 15 miles from home (not that far but too far to walk) with no choice but to hitch a ride. I walked to the nearest gas station and took a chance. I'm not sure why luck was with me but the first person I asked actually lived two blocks from me, had a pickup truck and was on his way home.
This was one of the many acts of kindness from strangers that washed over me last week. A couple days later, while in Chicago, I found myself dumbfounded by folks doing really wonderful things. All were small gestures on their own, but compiled together made me say to my husband, "If everyone took just a moment out of their day to help someone in need or compliment someone, the world would be a much better place." This way of thinking is not new or profound--in fact it's ridiculously simple. I just feel that we are all so caught up in our daily routines that it's not something we give much thought to.
As a cyclist, kindness not only makes the day a little brighter, it can actually save a life. A small thing like giving at least three feet of passing space while driving, or if biking, saying "on your left" while coming up on a pedestrian can make a huge impact. Being raised in Minneapolis, "Minnesota Nice" was a joke. In fact Jeff Frane, writer for Bike Jerks www.bikejerks.com, actually makes caps that say "Minnesota Nice" on them. As I get a bit older, I realize how important that way of thinking is. Niceties are not a joke. We need to implement them into our day once again if we want to all live together in a peaceful way. I urge you to take a moment and practice this--because it does take practice. I know that because of the kindness others have shown me, I will try my best to pass this good energy on.