Monday, July 26, 2010
The $80 dollar bike ride
Today's bike ride started out routine enough. All I planned to do was ride for an hour at a moderate pace to flush out the legs after yesterday's race. I figured I'd keep it super simple, so my plan was to ride south on Pacific Coast Highway for half an hour and then turn around and come back.
I was feeling pretty good. At 30 minutes, I was 200 yards north of where Brookhurst Street hits PCH. I figured this would be a good place to u-turn and ride home.
But just before I got to the traffic signal, I flatted. Though annoying, this is routine enough. I had a spare tube, a Co2 cartridge and tire levers. I could get this sorted in a few minutes.
The truth is, I don't mind changing flats. I actually dig loading the Co2 cartridge into the inflator and letting it rip. Maybe it's how fast the tire fills up. Maybe it's that insta-freeze coating of leakage that clings to the valve. I'm not sure why, but it's one of those little things that I never get sick of.
I must have hit something sharp, because there was a one inch slice clean through the tire. The tire was toast, but I figured it could get me home. So I took off the wheel, pulled out the old tube, put in the new tube, re-cinched the tire, and let the Co2 rip.
But the new tube started to leak around the stem. I had a defective tube and no patch kit. Great.
At this point I figured my best bet was to take a cab to the bike shop, get a new tube and tire, and carry on with my ride. But this is Southern California, and I don't think I've ever ridden in a taxi here. So I broke out the Iphone and Googled "Huntington Beach Taxi". A company called Orange County Taxi came up first so I called them.
Operator: Orange County Taxi. Can I help you?
Me: Yeah I'd like to get a cab please.
Operator: What's the pick-up address?
Me: Ummm...I'm at Huntington Beach at the intersection of PCH and Brookhurst.
Operator: What's the address?
Me: I have no idea.
Operator: Where are you?
Me: Huntington Beach at the intersection of PCH and Brookhurst....
Operator: Which Huntington Beach?
Me: The one near the Pacific Ocean.
Operator: Do you have an address?
Me: This is Orange County Taxi, right?
Me: Orange County California, right?
Me: Do you know where Huntington Beach is?
Me: Do you know where Brookhurst Street is?
Me: Well then can you send a cab?
Operator: Sir, I need an address.
So I hung up and walked over to the parking attendant's shack and asked her if the parking lot actually had an address. It turns out it did. You learn something new every day.
I called back Taxi company. With an actual address, the call took 30 seconds. I was told a cab would be there in ten minutes.
Five minutes later, my phone rang. It was the cab driver.
Driver: Did you call a cab?
Driver: Where is 21600 Pacific Coast Highway?
Me: It's the beach parking lot at Brookhurst.
Driver: Why didn't you just tell the dispatcher that?
The cab turned into the lot and I loaded up my bike. I gave the driver directions to the bike shop and we were there in 15 minutes.
The bike shop is the sister store to the one I go to near my house. A lot of the guys work at both stores, so we know each other well enough in that casual frequent customer way. They are a Specialized, BMC, Felt and Cervelo dealer. I bought my TT bike from them and almost everything else bike related since. However, they are NOT a Bianchi dealer. So if I ran into the wrong sales person, I might have some explaining to do.
Well, I ran into the wrong sales person. As I came through the door he came walking over, looking at my bike first and then me. But when he saw that it was me, he looked at the bike again. And then at me again. After a few seconds (that felt like hours) he asked me how I was doing.
I gave him a rundown of the situation. Within a few minutes I had a new tire, 2 tubes, another Co2 cartridge and a sleeve of Nuun tablets thrown in for good measure. As I was changing the tire he walked over. I knew the jig was up. "So...." he said, "How do you like that Bianchi?" Yep, I just got caught cheating on my LBS.
So after $15 for the cab ride, $40 for the tire, and $25 for everything else, I set off for home to finish my "easy" ride.