Today I was challenged and it was my Stoic beliefs and philosophy that rescued me from the pits of despair. Well that is a little hyperbole, but the event could have sucked if I let it. Every Tuesday and Thursday I ride my bike over to Karen’s house to play with Chief for a few hours. I do this for a couple reasons. One it is a nice break for me and two it helps Karen out a bit so he isn’t so crazy when she gets home. It is a nice ride almost bike laned the whole time with a few jaunts throw neighborhoods. Nothing super sketchy. I can usually make the trip from my place to hers in 50ish minutes.
Well today was totally different. I took me almost 7 minutes extra on the way there because I was battling a massive headwind. Headwind on a SS MTB on a hill. Not ideal. However, I pushed through and made it. Chief was a blast as always and we played chuck it until I wore out (he has limitless energy…literally). All is well in the world and I take off on my return trip home.
The return trip is always a little faster as I don’t climb as much and I ride a lot of downhills. The trip was no different and I am making great time when all of a sudden my front tire starts losing air. In seconds, it was completely flat. I am still miles away from my house (only a 16 min bike) and I don’t know how to fix a bike flat. F*ck. Instantly, I call Karen. Old habits die hard. She says she can’t come pick me up until the guy finishes the work in the garage. Double F*ck.
I take a deep breath and realize this is a brilliant opportunity to kill two birds with one stone. One of those birds is do one thing everyday that makes me uncomfortable. I am pretty sure a one mile walk of shame with my bike qualifies. Second, I can learn how and what I need to repair a flat if this ever happens again. Wee. Now I have purpose. Suffering without purpose is truly unendurable.
I fire up Google Maps and found a bicycle shop a mile a way! My lucky day. I arrive at Bikealot and the guy (wish I would have got his name) was so welcoming. I told him what I needed and he said “no problem, I will show you how to fix your flat and help you assemble a flat repair kit too.” Wonderful. Within 20 minutes I was on my way, with the knowledge of how to repair a flat and the tools necessary to do so.
A short aside. I bought a bike pump and was introduced to C02 cartridges. For the longest time, I thought those were whippets on the bike route. Obviously kind of douchey for people not to pick up their cartridges, but also really funny for me to think cyclists just like to party hard.
Once again Stoicism showed me the optimal outcome. Once again, The Obstacle is the Way (just read the damn book already or listen to it already). By framing the situation in a way that had a purpose, outcome and goal to work towards (walk my bike to the bike shop) all my worry and frustration was channeled into a productive means to an end. Stoicism for the win…once again.
P.S. Huge thanks to Patrick Massey for letting me shred on his rad bike until I procure one of my own. Thanks a million brother.