Well, fellow commuters, I am beginning to feel like I have really started the initiation process toward full-fledged membership, having achieved two of the required experiences.
INITIATION PHASE THE FIRST:
About three weeks ago, I achieved the first -- a spectactular, highly visible, but, luckily, not too damaging crash. First day on my new bike. On the way home. Just two or three blocks from work. Canal Street, New Orleans, Louisiana. A crowd of high school kids waiting for the bus as spectators. Drizzly. Crossing a street car track at a safe angle, which I had done countless times before, the front tire slipped a little on the wet metal track. Hit the brakes slightly. Got over that track groove OK, but wobbled a little and caught the other track, or rather the other track caught me. Went down in a great spreadeagle slide, left leg trailing, right leg atop the bike leading. Needless to say, the high school kids were highly entertained. There was nothing I could do but take a deep bow to acknowledge there appreciation and support. Oh, I did bow towards them, lest there be any misunderstanding.
1. A very bad scrape on left foot where sliding on the concrete wore through my shoe. Took until just a few days ago to stop hurting.
2. Strained ligaments and muscles up and down the left leg. Cleared up in a few days.
3. Front derailleur bent, presumably by right leg crashing down on it.
I was able to straighten the derailleur enough to ride to the bike shop. Advance planner that I am, I bought the bike from a shop right on the way home. The mechanic was able to straighten and adjust the derailleur and true up the front wheel which had gotten warped just a touch. If I had had to replace the derailleur, it would not have broken my heart. For, after all, what is a repair/replacement if not an opportunity to upgrade a component or two. Am I right?
INITIATION PHASE THE SECOND:
Yesterday on the way home I had my first flat while commuting. Better on the way home with some light left than on the to work in the dark. Rear wheel, naturally. Thank goodness for quick release wheels. This is my first bike to have them. Luckily, the weather was mild and I actually did have a spare tube, tool kit, and pump. By the way, I have a little Blackburn Shorty Mammoth, SMP-1, which I got on Campmor.com's bicycle Hot Deals page for $14.97. I just checked; they still have them for this price. If you need a new pump, you might want to consider this one. Fits Schrader or Presta. This little cutie is only 8 inches long, but will, theoretically, pump up to 90 psi. I got up to 60 (my street tires go 85) and figured that would get me the four miles home to my big pump.
So how many phases are there to this intitiation process, anyway?