a man called horse

an email came to me via the Internet today
it was a short thanks for some assistance I offered to a stranger with a flat tire on his bicycle on Beach Drive
here are some words on that course of events...

a man called horse... perhaps a work horse
okay... I have no idea where I am going with this

Sunday was devoted to my younger son's sixth birthday party
actually... Saturday and Sunday were devoted to my younger son's 6th Birthday Party

the SNOWPOCALYPSE kept us from hosting a party on his birthday proper
so... after a few questions and requests we decided to throw something together before the month of his birthday passed

the invites went out Friday via email... there was a pretty solid response for such short notice
I was excited that so many of the people that Grant had requested would be able to show up

while also being anxious that I had not purchased enough crap made in China from FIVE BELOW
there were only 16 foam swords... 16 miniature knight heads with 4-D knight puzzles, and three tiaras

16 was a rough guess-ta-mation
I feared buying too little... but tried not to buy too much

initially I had a crazed notion that I could get an hour or two on the bike in the am before the stated 1PM Party Time


there was way too much to do
the house had to be cleaned and final preparations had to be made

lots of last minute things to do...
in a rush I went to my neighbor's house and borrowed some fabric and created two quick KNIGHT COSTUMES for my boys to build on the SLEEPING QUEENS themed party

finishing the process with just enough time to place an online order to DOMINOS PIZZA before the first set of guests arrived

VACE may be our pizza of choice... but they do not deliver... so DOMINOS got the call

a few minutes after one and the house was chaos... complete chaos... complete chaos fueled by foam swords and the imagination of small children

the party went on well enough with a minimum amount of tears
when dealing with sword play there is a near guarantee of tears

pizza and cake and a short SLEEPING QUEENS TOURNAMENT were pleasant breaks from the sword battles...
but... the kids returned to the sword battles over just about anything
anything but the assembly of the 4-D Knight Puzzles

the take away foam swords and the take away knight puzzles were a total hit
no pinata... no goodie bag...

the kids started a slow exodus at 4PM
when all the kids were not gone come 5PM I started to get anxious
as I cleaned the house and responded to the kids various requests for more juice... another cup cake... can we play Wii? can we watch a movie? do you have....


I exploded and sent the final sets of boys who live on the block home

with the kids gone I asked Lisa if I could go ride my bike... she sent me on my way
not really wanting to ride I fought my demons and reflected on the words of that 20th Century Philosopher Nike and said to myself, "JUST DO IT!"
wise words... good words to live by

there was still some sun left to the day

with little measure of the dropping temperature outside I suited up and threw my leg over the bike and started pedaling
there was no intention of "an epic" ride... this was just going to be a quick hour plus on the bike

some time on the bike is better than no time on the bike
life is cumulative

not a block from my house and I was already being passed obnoxiously fast and obnoxiously close by one of the many LESSON TEACHERS out on the road
why else would someone pass me so close? to teach me a lesson? what is the lesson that is taught?

it is tough... Submissive Cycling Enables Aggressive Driving
I had been riding way to the right... but having a few cars pass fast and close within the lane forced me to move more towards the center of the lane
thus forcing those that needed to pass to actually pass me

no one is concerned about my health and well being but me
contact would not be a fender bender
contact with a passing car could be catastrophic

if those drivers could ride a few miles in my saddle they would understand the meaning to my methods

I rode to the closed section of Beach Drive
as I pulled onto the bike path that feeds to the closed road I glanced back to see who the asshole was who had been tailgating me for the last half mile
then I looked forward and focused on pushing the pedals

the wind was blowing and then down came some icy cold rain drops
I was already on the bike... had I felt the elements before suiting up than I would not have gone out for this ride
I was already on the bike
it is always better on the bike
I was glad that I was on the bike

I was on the bike and part of me really wanted to be at home on the couch
instead of turning back I stayed the course
trying to be a good boy and take my medicine

it was getting late... the sun was dropping and there were not that many people on the weekend and holiday closed sections of Beach Drive
sure there were some jokers with leashless dogs running wildly in front of me
and some runners going the wrong way down the road.... forcing me to alter my trajectory instead of them modifying theirs
other than that it was smooth sailing

as I approached a person on a bike moving at the same pace as a jogger I keyed in on her front quick release flopping about in the breeze
I slowed as I made my pass telling them that her front wheel was at risk of falling off
not wanting to stop I asked if they could handle it
unable to hear the answer I was already on my way
figuring that there were two people... together they should be able to sort that situation out

then a mile after that there was an older gentleman walking his bicycle with a rear flat
this time I turned around
he had a pump and a seat pack
our quick exchange had me thinking he could not fix it
I pulled a spare tube from my pack and passed it his way
this man said that he broke the last valve with his pump
I offered my pump telling him to place it by the stop sign and I could get it on my way back
but admitted that the breaking of the valve was more than likely user error

this nice older gentleman who must be in his 70's looked familiar
familiar on the bike... someone I see on the trails on my commutes home from work
our exchange was quick as I did not want my heart to drop and my sweat to make me cold
I kept waiting for this person to man up and tell me that he needed my assistance
there was some hesitancy on his end
never a direct request for help... the hints were slight... but not obviously apparent

so... without an up front and obvious request for assistance I accepted his money for my tube and told him I would assist him on my way back

back on the bike moving forward trying to keep my heart rate up
trying to get on my way and get in a ride before the sun disappears

expecting to see him in thirty minutes I continued forward on my short trip to the Mormon Temple and back
on my return this man was not at the spot where I left him
then when I passed the parking lot just 100 yards past where we spoke I thought that he had either fixed it himself... perhaps he had been lucky enough to get help from another cyclist... or got a ride home from a hiker or runner with a car able to store a bicycle
then a mile or so later I saw his familiar form
there he was walking... walking with the tube I had sold him in his left hand

I pulled up and greeted him
not wanting to lose much time I moved fast
my bike was in the snow on the road side and I had his flipped upside down
the tire was off his bike and the spare tube was in my hand

I tried to offer a quick lesson... but had to get on with my day
as I worked I made mention of WABA's bicycle maintenance classes
we talked and I tried to give a verbal account of what I was doing as I did it
I think I had the tire of the rim and was inflating things when this gentleman presented his tire levers
he asked... how did you do that without these?
I guess he missed the tube replacement class
in what may have been 2 or three minutes I was back on my bike
there was mention of my blog and I was on my way
again... back on the bike
knocked out the rest of my ride without having to depend on my dim headlamp


William Howard Taft

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