So, I got two more flats on my ride and a stranger hugged me.

Last Saturday I was supposed to go on a *really* long bike ride (76 miles!!) and I was really, really nervous. So, of course, about 30 miles into my epic quest I got a flat tire. Normally a flat tire wouldn’t bum me out but this one made me particularly upset because last weekend I kept getting flats. I had to fix 5 or 6 before I thought I had solved the problem by digging out a small chunk of glass from my tire and installing some brand new tubes

The problem was clearly not fixed and I was on a group ride with people who were much faster than me (I can barely keep up). So, when we got to the nearest rest stop I fixed the flat, examined my tires inch by inch for glass and left as quick as I could to catch back up with my group.

Uphill

Things were going well and after pedaling really hard I actually caught up with my group. Then, at mile 41, I got ANOTHER flat and realized the problem (whatever it was) was not solved. It was at that point I decided I needed to just call home for a ride so that I could get my bike straightened out properly. I was really sad.

I told the group I was riding with to leave me and that I was going to use my phone to call a ride. They left, I pulled out my phone, and it was dead.

Dead.

The second I realized I called out to my group but they were long gone (I assured them I was fine and didn’t need them to wait), and I was in the middle of NO WHERE with only two houses in sight.

I had a little, tiny panic moment before I walked down the first long country driveway with tears on my cheeks worried that some monster lived there. I knocked and no one was home (more panic, more tears).

Next, I knocked on the door of the second house and asked the woman who answered if I could use her phone. I tried my best to ask without crying. She could clearly tell I was upset because she said something like, “Of course you can use my phone! My GOD what happened?!”

And then she hugged me…

I erupted into tears again.

Now, I am not a fan of stranger hugs by any means, but that hug was desperately needed. It was the best hug ever. It was strong and firm and real.

By answering her door that kind lady was able to do more for me than just let me use her phone. She didn’t even have to use words.

I hope she knows the value of what she gave me. I think I needed that hug more than I needed the phone call (or at least as much as I needed it).

How a nerdy girl goes about buying a road bike

  1. Does a ton of research online
  2. Checks lots of forums and posts questions on reddit
  3. Tweets to random bike shops and bike blogers
  4. Avoids going to an actual bike shop at all costs by sending the following email:

    IMG_20120509_194214Hey guys,

    Do you have recommendations for a first time road bike? Right now I’m on a Norco Yorkville Hybrid which I use to commute short distances.

    Knowing I’m a commuter, my friends convinced me to sign up for the STP and in a fit of irrational bravery, I signed up. Now I’m reading more, timing myself and realizing my bike (and possibly it’s engine) will not be cutting it speed and weight wise. I want something that might make my ride even a little bit easier and more aerodynamic. ;-)

    Answers to questions you might have:
    I’m short, (5’1″) and overweight (I’ve lost 80lbs, but still have awhile to go). Despite this, I’m fit for my size. No back issues, etc.

    I’ve had previous hip and knee issues with my bike. I had it pro-fit and that made a big difference. It’s still a concern for me over long distances (not sure if you can help with anything other than a fit).

    From what I’ve read I think I want a more traditional road bike (vs. Ultra light). I ideally I’d like some carbon components and reliable drive train and other confusing things that I don’t fully understand and would have trouble fixing on my own.

    I need a bike that is cut out for long distances (ie Seattle to Portland and other cool, long rides).

    I’ve never clipped into a bike before.

    My budget is $700 or hopefully less (I know that’s tricky).

    Totally open to used bikes and/or old models.

    Also, I’d love to know what a touring bike is? Is that what I’m looking for?

    Can you help? Any recommendations? Things I should think about/consider? Are you just gonna tell me to come in? ;)

  5. Waits enthusiastically for a reply knowing that, of course, they will tell her just to come in.