There are better things to think about on the afternoon of Christmas Eve, but as I’m sitting by the side of a Southern Oregon road with a wheel in my hands, I’m wondering about this: What is it in the cosmic scheme of things that causes sharp little bits of steel and slivers of glass to find their way, with such great regularity, into the back tires of my bikes?
I’m guessing it’s because there are so many of these things lying around. I can understand the part about the glass. Some people seem to like throwing liquor bottles from their cars. And there are car wrecks where headlight lenses and maybe windshields get smashed.
But bits of steel wire, so small you can barely see them with the naked eye but sharp and stiff enough to poke through the tire of a bike — where do those come from? They would do no harm if they were lying flat. So how come they are vertical just when I come along?
OK, the tire is off, the tube is pulled out, and before long the nasty sliver is found and — by means of a nail clipper from my bike bag — extracted. The spare tube is inserted, the tire remounted and I’m on my way. But not before an SUV with California plates slows down and the passenger yells if I need help. A minute later a guy on a bike stops. He too asks if I need anything. “I’m OK here,” I say. “I’ve got everything I need.”
Contrary to what you may have heard, out here on the road, most people are very nice and helpful, and not only when it’s Christmas Eve. (hh)