Two guys on bikes, lycra, Strava, all that stuff.
'Dude, your back tire is like, going flat or whatever.'
'You sure? I heard it hissing but wasn't sure if it was really losing air.'
'It's really flat... Wanna stop and take a look?'
'Really flat? Like all the way?'
'I don't know, mostly...'
The wiggle and thump of a tire gone from "soft" to "short of breath" brings our riders to the shoulder. Helmets come off, sweaty faces, racoon eyed from years on the road, looking down at a hunnerd dollar tire, slack on a six hunnerd dollar wheel. Threatened with pedestrianism, one rider reaches into the pockets on the back of his jersey, while the other dismounts by throwing a leg up and over the front of his bike in the casual manner of the person who values casual manners in inconvenient circumstances. 'I never get flats' remarks the victim as he leans down and "drops a shot" of CO2 into the tire,'Slow leak I bet, probably been going down slow for 30 miles'. Helmets back on, they mount, clip in and roll off.
'Yeah, but we can probably make it if we hammer. Just a slow leak, I never get a real flat.'
Thump. Thump thump.
'It's not hissing...'
'Dammit! Really? Again?'
Helmets off. Two dismounts, one casual, one tentative. The pedestrian squats next to the wheel, pinching the tire between thumb and forefinger. After a pause the remaining rider asks:
'Ever so. I guess another shot of "O2" wouldn't help.'
'Probably just go flat again.'
'Might not if it's a slow leak...'
'Hit it again and lets roll, see if we can get home.'
'Can't, only had one. I never get flats so no point carrying a bunch of cartridges. I just call my wife when I run out.'
'Yeah, Sandy, she picks me up.'
'Wonder why it's leaking, probably got a hole somewhere.'
'Assuredly. I don't see anything. Do you?'
'Not from here. Take off the wheel and check inside the tire maybe.'
The wheel comes off, the tire comes off and the tube is removed. The pedestrian speaks;
Casual dismounting cyclo-cross bike rider: 'Got a tube?'
'Just the one with the hole, you got one?'
'I do, want it?'
'If you think it will hold, I don't want another flat.'
Casually Graceful Cyclo-Cross Bike Dismounter produces a rolled up tube from his pocket and tosses it to the Pedestrian who looks at it in the manner of a person, who after asking for a cigarette, is handed a butt from the ashtray.
'What is that, like 33 millimeters? I ride like, 21s.'
'Yeah, a 33. Will it fit?'
'I guess it's got to, Sandy's at work so can't pick me up this time. I hate stuffing my bike in the back of her Civic anyway, she always freaks out about grease on the seats.'
'Sandy, that's your Wife?'
'Yeah, she comes gets me.'
The 33mm tube is stuffed into the 21mm tire and the tire is wrestled onto the rim.
'Thanks for the tube, I ought to carry one myself but no point carrying one and then never using it. You got like pump? Or a cartridge? I ought to get me pump, I'm always having to call Sandy.'
'Don't mention it. Long as you're ridin' with me you're golden, I've always got a couple cartridges and the spare tube. Ready for anything. Here.'
Pedestrian takes the inflator gratefully and is about to press it to the valve, when: 'Dude! Thumbtack...'
'Oh crap, thanks. Damn things near as wide as the tire, I wonder how I missed that.'
Thumbtack is removed and tossed onto the road.
'Look man, I really appreciate you hooking me up here and saving me hanging out for an hour waiting for Sandy.'
'Sandy's your Wife?'
'Yeah, my Wife, she comes gets me. I hate to bug her though, I appreciate the hook-up...'
'No Problemo Amigo, you'd do the same for me.'
'Damn right. I have like the best Bro's to ride with, I don't know how many times they've come through for me like this. I keep thinking I should carry a spare tube and a couple cartridges so I can hook em' up in case somebody needs one, but then if you never use them, you're just haulin' all that around for no reason and you're right back where you started. Better to just travel light I guess.'
'Yeah, nobody wants to be that Dude sittin' by the road with a patchkit and a framepump putting another patch on a tube with a dozen already. If you cant get home on one tube and a cartridge you should prolly' just go to the Gym and do Cross-Fit.'
'Cross-Fit. Ell Oh Ell.'
The tack. The last cartridge. Casually hanging out in the heat of an August Saturday afternoon. Waiting for Sandy.
Just 2 Bro's who've got each others back.
Out for a ride.