|2 1/2 miles out from home, flat|
That song, and the lyric from it, was in my head during some of my commutes this past week. I mulled over clarity, its methods and sources, and related topics of fearlessness and calmness of mind as opposed to anger. I had some threads that I wanted to bring together in a blog post here, but perhaps because of the intensity of work stresses this week, along with other distractions, the threads wouldn't come together like I wanted them to. With storms forecast for Friday night and Saturday but also cooler temperatures, I thought that perhaps a long meditative weekend ride would clear things up.
|The gauge seems accurate enough for field use, and the pump with its little foot peg is very easy to use.|
All set, I headed out. Made it about two miles, then got a psssshhhhhtttt! type flat from what seems to have been a roofing staple. There is stuff washed all over the streets from the storms, so it's hard to tell for certain what may have done in the tire. There was enough damage to the sidewall right at the stem (particularly on the inside which was basically cut through and shredded) that I decided to replace the tube and head home to avoid having to try to deal with another flat later on.
Cutting short the ride was kind of a bummer. The weather was cool as it has been in months, and the air was clean as only after a storm in Phoenix. Instead of perhaps 20 miles, I end at less than five.
|Probably something more like this is what I had in mind. Group I saw earlier this week.|
Those seemed like strong threads for mulling over on a long, fine ride, to tie into something coherent and whole, perhaps. But this post-storm flat ride, where I went in seeking clarity on a long joyride, but ended up instead sitting on the storm-muddied pavement changing a flat tube in a ruined tire, seemed to mock my plans while reinforcing the message of the song. I even contemplated not fixing the flat and just doing my own walk of shame home the couple of miles, but decided it was farther than I wanted to walk. Thinking these things, I noticed the mosquitoes that had been raised by the torrential rains starting to swarm around me, attracted to my sweat and exertions, I suppose. Great.
Then, when I was nearly finished, a woman in a black SUV stopped on the other side of the road and asked me if I was OK, if there was anything wrong. "No, just changing a flat tire. I'm pretty close to fine," I called back. Or would have, if I could think of clever things like that in real time instead of when I'm writing about them later on my blog.
It is possible, I reckoned on that short ride home late on a fine afternoon on my spare tube, that those threads are as tied up as they're going to be, or possibly as they need to be. Be fearless. Endeavor to maintain calmness of mind. Seek clarity. Take notice of, question, and doubt their opposites. I do look for, and sometimes find, definitive answers, unlike that old song. For example, carrying a spare tube, a good pump, and a wrench (or 2) for axle nuts when riding a single speed, along with nice strong plastic tire levers, is clearly good and effective. It sounds minor, and in the grand scheme, probably is. But I see it as a pattern, or habit, of clarity. Don't get angry at flat tires.
Calm, fearless clarity is powerful, even on a shortened bike ride late in the afternoon. Maybe that's as close as I need to be to understanding them. It sounds like a good-enough sentiment to send out: may your rides be calm, fearless, and filled with clarity, and may you be enabled to detect and repel anger, fear, and confusion, whether in the arguments and positions of others, or inside yourself. I hope my next ride is flat-free, and yours too, but having the right tools and supplies will always be a good, clear idea.
|PDW 3wrencho (black, coated), a good tool for axle nuts, and a tire lever in a pinch|