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STORIES FROM THE ROAD


May 19, 1999

THE UNWANTED HELPER

About four miles south of Zumbro Falls, Minnesota the tube in my front tire blew. I found out that there had been a pinhole leak but I couldn't get the tire pumped up.

My pump was acting up. There seemed to be a problem with the O-Ring. After about twenty minutes of work, I was able to get at least sixty pounds of pressure in the tire but I knew that I had to get at least fifteen more pounds into it for a smoother ride.

A car pulled up and this older guy stepped out. I don't know whether he was there to help or just to gawk. I tried to explain to him my problem with the pump but to him I wasn't doing it right.

I had given him the pump and he took it upon himself to try. He fumbled around with it and finally got the pump on the tube. I don't think he knew what he was doing because of how he held the pump against the wheel. It took only a few seconds to realize that he was pressing too hard on a spoke but it was too late to say anything. The spoke snapped at the nipple.

I tried to hold my temper. I started to talk to him through my clenched teeth. I got the wheel on the bike but I knew that the wheel wouldn't track right. I was sort of flabbergasted when the guy before he left said that he didn't think one broken spoke would be a problem.

I made it to Zumbro Falls on the wobbly wheel. The front brake grumbled in protest all the way and the sensor for my speedometer didn't register. I called the president of the local Habitat affiliate in Red Wing to see if she could pick me up.




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