Wednesday 11 September 2013


I had to go to work today, but I had trouble deciding just how to get there. I could drive of course which would take about 15 to 20 minutes in mid to heavy rush hour traffic or I could ride my bike which would take about 30 minutes on virtually empty side streets. The plus side about riding is that by the end of the day I would have about an hour of exercise. I had a good breakfast, packed my lunch in the bike pannier along with my wallet, cell phone, change for the vending machines and my sunglasses for coming home. It pays to be optimistic.

I looked at the time when I left, 7:03 AM. If I remember correctly, it is about 15 minutes to Barlow Trail and another 15 minutes to the Mail Processing plant after that. I should get there in plenty of time to have a coffee and catch up with the people I haven’t seen for a few weeks. The morning was brisk as is the norm in September, but I will warm up pretty quick with the ride. I managed to get to Barlow in just 15 minutes which is right on time. I crossed Barlow and just past the first intersection, I heard a tik...tik…tik…tik coming from the front wheel. I pulled over and checked the wheel for a stone or God forbid a nail. Nothing there, I am good to go.

Well, only if I am going to ride on a flat rear tire. But the tik...tik…tik…tik came from the front tire! I suppose that it could have come from the back tire since it is the one that’s flat. I took the wheel off the bike and then the tire off of the rim. I felt along the inside of the tire to feel for the sharp piece of metal that made the tire flat. This usually results in a bleeding finger, but at least I won’t have another flat right away. Hmmmm…no blood. Strange? I looked at the tire and noticed that it was worn right through. How long have I been riding on this tire? I was bragging to a friend the other day that I hadn’t had to replace my tires for years and years. Me and my big mouth!

Well, I suppose that I can just use the spare tube I always carry and insert some cardboard under the hole as a temporary fix. For some reason, I had two Shrader tubes, not the Presta valves that I have on my bike. Well, shit! I guess I will have to wonder about how stupid I am at a later date, right now I guess I had better call Louise to leave work and pick me up. Hmmmm…how is it that I don’t have my phone with me? I remember unplugging it and then I put it one the table right beside the bag with my wallet. I guess it’s still on the table.

I lock the bike to a tree for later pick up and think about walking. It will take at least 45 minutes to walk to the plant. I look back into the sun and I can make out a bus stop with a couple of people standing there. I wander over and ask the lady if she knows if this bus goes near the postal plant. I am in luck, it stops right in front, now if I can only find three bucks for the fare. Yep! I’m golden.

The bus came in short order and I drop my money in the box and wander a little ways back in the bus with a smile on my face and grease on my hands. It’s been a while since I have ridden a bus, but I don’t think people are allowed to smile any more. Well, not on the 32 they don’t. I know they are going to work, but a new day, new opportunities, blah…blah…blah. I ask the lady across from me what time it is and four people tell me it’s 7:48. These people just want an excuse to talk and smile. I sit down beside a woman and we have a nice chat about her going back to work at Walmart after two weeks of holidays. It turns out that although she had a good holiday, she is kind of looking forward to seeing her work buddies again. Good for her.

The grumpy old prick that asked the driver what her problem was and why aren’t we moving, got up to get off the bus. I caught his eye and said “Hey, have a good day. At least you don’t have grease on your hands.” He smiled back at me and told me “Not yet, but I will in about ten minutes.” He got off the bus and I think there was a spring in his step that wasn’t there before. It made me feel good too.

Perhaps my lot in life is to bring a smile to transit riders one at a time.

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