Monday, February 6, 2012

A Week of Kindness

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, 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.

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