Day 23: Exploration leads to discovery.
One of the best parts of riding a bike is discovering all the new places you never knew were practically in your own backyard. As someone who is still fairly new to her current surroundings, I am still making these sorts of discoveries ALL THE TIME. It's great. It really helps at times when you feel like a robot who's only purpose is to train.
Bikes are fun, like super duper fun, and finding new places is great! California is such a beautiful place, and it makes long rides far more enjoyable than when I was riding endless circles in a city park.
Yesterday I decided to explore Richmond California, I took the roads wherever they lead and I discovered a new place, just ten miles from my apartment. It was so beautiful, and I was able to interact with a few other humans, something I don't normally do on my rides. I felt obligated to tell them how beautiful I thought this place was.
One gentleman was shocked that I'd never been here to bask in the beauty, but I assured him I would be back. And I will.
On my way home I caught a flat tire. It was annoying, but merely an inconvenience.
If you don't know how to fix-a-flat, I highly recommend learning how. It's a game changer for bike riding. I learned to fix a flat years ago as a part of an adult teacher training program for Bikes Not Bombs in Boston. It was my first peek into bike advocacy, and the empowering nature of bicycles in general. Of all the skills learned in that class, fixing a flat has given me the confidence to ride wherever I want with the full knowledge that I'll be able to take care of myself if my tire goes flat.
Beyond that, a lovely mom in a minivan stopped and offered her assistance. I assured her I was fine. As I was struggling to take off my stubborn road tire, a man walked by, told me how much it sucked, then offered to help as well. Again, I was fine and got the tire off. Another woman pulled off of the road, hopped out of her car, and approached me with what I assume was some sort flat fixing spray. She didn't even ask if I needed help! She goes "LET'S DO THIS!" it was fantastic. I showed her my spare tube, and thanked her graciously for being so ready to take on my misfortune as her own.
As usual, there were looks of disbelief from folks in passing cars. It's always fun seeing children and adults alike wowed by the sight of my fixing my own flat.
This year I have been looked after and cared for by so many strangers, and it's a constant reminder that despite all of the horrible things happening, there are still good things too!