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Tale of Tube Pities!
Paying it Forward on the Trail
By Dax Kent
Whenever I go riding or out into the bush, I try to be the “Boy Scout” and always be well prepared. There is no hesitation in helping others who need help, and I can honestly say I have done everything from towing vehicles out of ditches to repairing other riders tires for them, simply because they didn’t know how. I have never accepted payment, although it was offered, and have always come away with the feeling of appreciation and a good deed done. But this time it was I who was stranded and in need of somebody else’s assistance.
End of the week Friday rides are the best. Letting go of all that week pent, work built frustration and welcoming in the weekend lax, always makes for a good all around fun ride. A surprise visit from an out of town friend, a sunny afternoon and an early release from work simply added up to one thing “Lets go ridin”, and to top of the whole thing, Lisa (my girlfriend) offered to shuttle us up to the top, saving us the long after ride vehicle pick up drive. (The advantages of living at the bottom of one of the best trails in BC will never end!)
I was pretty excited to get up to the top, my bike had been down for two weeks previous with mechanical difficulty, and was now repaired. I was more than ready to try out my new Michelin 2.8 front tire, and a brand new set of Hayes Purple’s with 8” rotors, a long needed upgrade over my previous two year old Hayes 6”, and Specialized 2.4 Evil “Baldy” Twin.
The two of us blasted down the hill with every corner re-affirming my money well spent on repairs and upgrades. About two thirds of the way down the trail just after a light drop to the road, we stopped for some bragging, water and oxygen where I noticed that my back tire was completely deflated. Upon closer inspection realized that not only was it flat, but a sharp rock on the last drop had actually shredded a 2” flap in the tire and kept going thru both sides of the tube and then into the rim, which luckily stopped it’s progress and only suffered a small dent. Deflated is probably the same word to describe the way I felt as I suddenly remembered that I hadn’t replaced the spare tube in my camel pack that was used in my front tire episode just two weeks earlier. Being creative with my patch kit, I got the tire rip semi sealed and then started attempting to patch both sides of the tube, (anything to save the 6km downhill walk to home).
Three riders popped out from the trailhead and stopped out of curiosity to see what we were doing. I explained the situation with a little embarrassment, and was left speechless when they offered me their only spare tube to have if I couldn’t get mine sealed. Neither of us had any cash to offer, which did not deter the good will of these out of town riders from Jasper. I was amazed at the generosity of these guys, it was like being offered the shirt of their back. They had no idea if they would need their only spare on the way down, but if I needed it, it was mine.
As it turns out I didn’t need to use the spare, and ended up patching my damaged tube enough to get me down to the house and the comfort of my patio and cold beverage.
Many people do not hesitate to offer assistance to others, while someone else would have just said, “good luck” and kept riding by. Karma is a wonderful thing and I can definitely attest to “What goes around comes around.” I’ll probably never see those riders again, and whether it was an inexpensive $10 tube I didn’t have to use, or the time they took to stop and make sure that we would make it down OK, I guarantee that the favor will be paid forward to the next person I come across in need of assistance.
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