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Riding east on route 36 in eastern Colorado…

March 22, 2010

You come across the little town of Idalia. It’s about 16 miles from the Kansas border.  I rode into Idalia at about 2:30 p.m.    I remember the time because the diner closed at 2:00; I just missed it.  It was hot: the bank’s temperature said 105.  I’d been riding all day, occasionally stopping to rest in a silo’s shade, checking for rattlesnakes as I walked up to it.  Mice like silo’s and rattlesnakes like mice.

I went to the towns post office and asked if I could sit in the lobby and cool down.  “Make yourself at home.” said the postmaster, Terry.  As she sorted mail we talked about my ride and about her horses.  The town’s only bar opened at 6:00 and I invited her for a burger and a drink.  She accepted.  About 8:00 p.m. we said good bye and I started off for Kansas.  Five miles out of town, at sunset, my rear tire was flat.

It’s too bad that cursing doesn’t fix a flat.  If it did I’d have been up and running again in no time.

I unloaded the bike, flipping it upside down.  Pulled the tire.  Pulled the tube and found the hole.  Traced back to the corresponding spot on the tire and checked for glass/wire or whatever caused the flat.  Found nothing.  Put a new tube in, put the whole thing together, and was about to start off when A guy on a very nice road bike came pedaling by.  A motor home was following him.  Phil was a preacher, raising money for orphans in Africa.  He sent he motor home to the town 20 some miles ahead, and we started off.  Five miles latter I had another flat.  Now it was dark. I told Phil to go ahead; I didn’t want to hold him up.  “Nothing doing.” he said  “I’m not leaving you alone at night in the desert with a flat.”  So we fixed it together.  This time we found a piece of wire in the tire.

We rode together in the dark, talking.  His congregation, back home in New England, had paid to have his son drive the motorhome out.  Paid to fly his wife out.  Was paying to drive the motor home back.  Had paid for the fancy bike with GPS.  He averaged 100 miles a day, but he wasn’t carrying anything. 

I was disgusted.  To me, it didn’t seem like much of a ride.  He may as well have been riding an exercise bike in his living room.  And his congregation was out thousands of dollars for his comfort.

Oh well.  He was a better salesman than I am.  To each his own.  That’s why I can’t take my buddy up on his offer.  I’d rather he contribute the money to PD research.


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