Wednesday, December 13, 2006

New Wheel, New Friends

I'm amazed my borrowed bike is faring so well overnight on its bike rack. Sure, it's locked up to the rack along with Big Dog's borrowed bike, but I keep seeing bikes with missing wheels, missing seats and missing frames all over town and I know that many a rider has been unpleasantly surprised. So I was only mildly surprised when I found that my rear tire had a flat yesterday. Accident? Vandalism? Who knows.

"It was fine when I was riding it last night," I explained to "Frank" at Island Triathlon & Bike.

There is a motorbike and bicycle rental shop a few doors down from us but they wouldn't loan me a bike pump! Obviously they are not real bike people. REAL bike people always help out other cyclists. Some will charge a small fee for using their pump but most will just help, because that seems to be an unwritten law among cyclists. I found Island Triathlon & Bike in the phone book and THEY were fine with my using their pump. In fact, they'd even check my tire for me to see if it was a puncture or not.

Walking my injured cycle along the Ala Wai canal, I was amazed to see schools of big eyed fish. The locals are still talking about the sewage spill that happened, I think, in the spring. Raw sewage spilled out into the canal and out into the ocean, infecting a man with flesh eating bacteria that eventually killed him! Pretty disgusting, huh. They've been doing major work along the canal to put in a new sewage line ever since.

Island Triathlon & Bike is a cute shop on Kapahulu, opposite the Ala Wai Golf Course -- friendly and funky, it's the sort of place that might be a local cyclist hang out.

Turned out I indeed had a gash in my rear tire, but while the mechanic outfitted my bike with a new back tire and tube, I got to chat with Frank and his exotically gorgeous partner, Jeri. They had both lived in Japan in the early 70's and it turned out that Frank had even gone to the same university as me -- about a decade earlier. (You know, that's another funny thing about cyclists. Most are ageless. A cycling buddy in Tokyo is now approaching his mid-60's but he sure doesn't look it!)

Frank pointed out that the bike I was riding wasn't really the right size.
"I know, but it's hard to travel with your own bike. There are travel cases for them, but once you get somewhere, what do you do with the case? Plus you get hit with a surcharge by the airlines," I complained. That's when Jeri told me about Bike Friday. Unlike other fold-up bikes, these are light and fast! Might be the solution to my travel needs…and it looks like a fun bike. Lots of cool bike travel blogs on their website, too! So, what started out as a bummer (punctured tire) turned into a nice encounter!

Meanwhile, we wait for the swell approaching North Shore and the final day of the Pipeline Masters. Friends are telling us it might be tomorrow…

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