9.25.2014

what is my responsibility? I stopped... I offered assistance... but how far does this need to go?

this is a tough one...
I am a big advocate for paying it forward

I also believe in taking care of your own (bikers looking our for fellow bikers)
in the last month I have stopped to help more cyclists than most people have stopped for in their life
there are a few things to this...

the new breed needs to learn to carry some minimum equipment; spare tube, mini pump, and bicycle multi-tool... or if nothing else a patch kit
then... they need to learn how to use these things 




and of course...
the new breed needs to learn that it is the ethic of the cyclists to call our to the rider on the side to see that they are okay... you may wish for them to say "I am fine, go ahead"... but if they need assistance then if need be... they stop

this is for mechanical and for injuries... I have stopped for injuries and for mechanicals


with more cyclists there are more people in need of mobile bicycle repair

I do not want to stop... that guy walking with his department store bike.... it was clear what his problem was... I had the tools and I knew I could fix it... I did not want to stop... I did not want to lose MY time... I wanted to get on with my day... but I stopped and helped him out... he talked tools... I said BIKE SHOP! having tools will not fix a bike... tools minus know how? well... the tools are not so useful

enough with that... that intro was trying to lessen the words below
I need to review what I said
not that anyone reads this stuff
but if someone does... I don't want to be entirely misunderstood
a little misunderstood is to be expected


yesterday after work I did not feel like going for a ride...

often I push through and ride anyway
but on this day I figured I could just take the dog for a longer walk than usual
so... I took the most direct route home from work on the bike
once home I leashed the dog and took to the woods

I was not looking for an epic adventure

just a little more than the standard 20 minute loop
a little more than usual for me but actually for the dog
the dog needs more than my standard 20 minute loop

so I walked through the woods on down towards The Melvin Hazen trail by Kingle Mansion
on my way there I saw all sorts of post work activity

there were of course aggressive car commuters

crossing the street in front of my house I got no respect just trying to cross
and then
none of which factored me into the equation at the 4 Way Stop
there were lots of people everywhere
trail runners in the woods

then of course there were post work bikers
and then people like me... humans tethered to dogs

and all this is just 7 minutes from my house


I was on a small patch of land that borders Beach Drive

there was the road on one side and the creek on the other
just ahead forty of fifty yards I could see the multi-use bike path
the path turns towards a bridge and goes over the creek

up ahead I could see a woman on her bike

she did not take the right across the bridge
instead she headed straight on the same swath of land where I was with my dog and a woman was ten yards ahead of me with her dog
I stepped to the side in anticipation of the rapidly approaching cyclist
while the woman ahead of me allowed her dog to continue sniffing
I was not sure if she even noticed the oncoming cyclist

it is not entirely clear who has the right of way

this is not a road or even a bike path
in fact... it is just a piece of land between the road and the creek
there is a beaten path... single track... a narrow path and then the grass around it
well... it gets me from the three way intersection to the bridge that crosses over the creek and takes me to The Melvin Hazen
but... it is not an official\sanctioned trail

either way

I feel that there has to be a relationship between users of shared space
there are basic guidelines of what should happen
but in the end there needs to be some non-verbal communication and mutual respect

the woman just ahead of me with her dog had not looked up to see the approaching cyclist

the approaching cyclist had not altered her pace to take into account the woman and her dog
then it happened
the bike is bouncing around after it left the smooth asphalt multi use trail... there was some clanking and some clatter... maybe a loose bolt... a rattling rack... or a loose fender
and then the bicycle came to a screeching halt
only without the use of brakes

I kept walking

as I walked past the woman on the bike I could see what had happened
she had a mesh bungee cord with multiple hooks get tangled in her wheel around the cassette and hub
it was clear that she would not be able to untangle things by just pulling at the free cords
so I offered assistance

being in a bit of a hurry with the rapidly dropping sun I got right on task

there was no need for small talk
I just wanted to assist with the problem at hand
meeting this person and making a new friend was not my objective

I felt it was my duty as a fellow cyclist to lend aid


I told her that she would have to remove the rear wheel...  she did not seem to agree

she kept tugging at things... in hindsight... I should have walked away then, but I didn't
I asked her to hold my dog leash while I tried to set her right
again... I wanted to lose as little time as possible
all the while I tried to fix things... this person had her hesitation
I guess my assistance was never requested
I guess she thought she could handle this herself

she definitely thought she could fix this herself
I thought otherwise

so... no... she would not be able to fix this herself

sure... she said this has happened before
but this time... this time was different...  this time it was a little more tangled than the last time
she pulled a key from her pack and started to try and cut the bungees

what?
again... I am watching the sun drop off the horizon
my time is slipping away

I assured her that this was not the resolve and that in the time she tries to do this... we could walk to my house and I could use the proper tools to fix this

but first... I would have to walk my dog
I would help her... but I needed to finish my task at hand

she did not seem interested in my assistance

in fact... she never gave me a sense that she was thankful that I had stopped
which was fine... I still thought I could help her while not giving up any more time
yet... she was refusing any of my input... thus taking up more of my time

again... I felt I knew how to fix things... while it was clear she did not have a grasp of the entanglement of it all


I explained that the bicycle was not rideable... she did not seem to agree

she was dead set on just riding the rest of the way home

there was no connection between us

I had no interest in connecting with her... she had no interest in connecting with me
but... I still felt that she needed assistance
so.. I put her wheel back on her bike (forgetting to reconnect her back brake)
then left off to walk the dog
telling her that she had a few choices

you can work on things yourself... I will be done hiking the dog in 20-25 minutes... then we can head to my house where I have the tools to fix this


you can walk your bike home


or you can call someone

I think you may want to just call someone

she seemed intent on riding her 1987 Blue and White Specialized Hard Rock home

it was not rideable
the cassette would not spin
two of the four bungee hooks were pinned between the cassette and the plastic disc that protects the spokes

then there was the mass of mesh bungee...

she tried to connect the other hooks to the rack
not realizing... this would even create more of an issue
I think she then tried to stuff the mesh bungee in between the spokes above the hub

but really... she was just setting herself up for more frustration

the cassette would not spin
which would cause her issue when she tried to coast
so even if she were able to tuck the bungee inside without further issue... there would be other issues

so I walked...

I walked my dog to the water
Didg was enthused about chasing the stick... but got distracted bringing it back
I was not in the mood for his OCD behavior with digging up the rocks in the creek so I took to the woods
we did a short loop letting Didg go back in the water one last time after our loop

when I got back to the spot where the woman had her issue with her bike only to find she was gone

darn... not really... 
I was more curious than anything else
I was not sure what happened
was she able to ride it away? unlikely?
did she call for help? maybe
did she have to walk her bike? most likely

but really...

she was not my responsibility
I offered help... she just had to meet me half way
show some appreciation for me effort
even ask for my assistance
but... she was not my responsibility
I have to work on my own bikes
I need to work on my kids' bikes
she needs to take care of her own bikes

again... I am curious about how things panned out
hopefully she got home safely and then got her bicycle to a person or shop who could pull the cassette and untangle things so she could get rolling again

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