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Old 07-25-06, 07:35 PM   #1
billwatson58
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Flatted on a trail - guess who asked if I needed help?

Sunday I rode the North Branch trail starting on the north side of Chicago and flatted. I think it's interesting who asked if I was ok. Approximately 25 people rode by while I was on the side of the path, and the the only two who asked if I needed help were road bike riders, and they were the only road bike riders I saw. Everyone else was riding comfort or mountain bikes. So was it a matter of roadies helping out another roadie, or the others thinking that they wouldn't be able to help as I may have looked to them like I knew what I was doing? Or were people just not willing to bother?

BTW - that trail is not a great place to ride a road bike on a Sunday afternoon. I felt much safer on the streets before and after than on that busy trail with cyclists that didn't seem to have the very good bike handling skills, and with peds meandering all over the path.
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Old 07-25-06, 07:55 PM   #2
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I was riding with a friend recently, and she is hypoglycemic. We forgot to bring food, so about 10 miles in she had to stop, I decided to ride back to the car and get her some food (since I ride over twice as fast on my own).

After I passed one person going the opposite direction on a comfort bike, I decided that it would save time if I asked someone if they had an energy bar. The next people I saw were off to the side about a mile down the trail, and I asked... they offered energy bars, water and anything else I needed... even asked how much further back my friend was...

When I got back with the energy bar, I found out that the one person I passed asked my friend if she was ok, and she said yes, not realizing that peopl actually might help one another... I'll bet that was available help as well.

So, I think it is not the type of bike, but the individual... maybe different by region, or time of day, or specific trail...
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Old 07-25-06, 07:57 PM   #3
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Well, hopefully, the roadies were the only ones who go far enough to worry about flats, and nobody else had patches, and whatever <shrugs>

Sorry you brought up the peds. They're one of my sore points, at least those deafened by those little things sticking out of their ears.
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Old 07-25-06, 08:01 PM   #4
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ugh, i know it's an ******* thing to think but i hate it when couples ride side by side on narrow bridges and stuff. then they clog up the path and ride all slow and ugh. sorry i'm an ass i know.
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Old 07-25-06, 08:14 PM   #5
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It's okay, kyle!, but pedestrians do the same, except I've never seen slow riders start riding backwards, and without looking behind them. I did see a video clip of someone on a fixie riding backwards, but he did seem fairly alert.
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Old 07-25-06, 08:35 PM   #6
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A lot of people on mountain bikes and other fat-tire bikes don't have a patch kit... you don't get nearly the same number of flats when you have over 1/4" of tread protecting your tube as you do with the tiny road tires with 1/8" or less. I'd vote for most of them being casual riders out for a couple miles and they probably wouldn't know what to do if they did get a flat... other than walk the bike home.
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Old 07-25-06, 09:00 PM   #7
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I had the opposite experinece this past weekend. I was riding a popular bike route (Beach Drive) when I noticed that my bottle cage was a bit loose. I stopped and pulled out my multi-tool to tighten it. In the three minutes or so it took me to finish, I had four groups of cyclists slow down and ask if I needed help. It was funny and a little embarassing. Half were roadies and half caual riders.

Two weeks ago I was on another local trail. I topped a hill and saw a bike on the side of the trail, flipped over, being worked on. I slowed and asked if he needed help and he said he was just trying to free up a stuck chain. I know how hard that can be, so I stopped to help. The chain was firmly caught between rings and wouldn't come loose. We were working on it for a couple minutes when another cyclist stopped to help. Even with his better tools we couldn't free the chain. Then another cyclist stopped. Then a group of three roadies stopped, one of them a bike mechanic. With the help of the "professional" we were able to get the chain loose and after many thankyous we all went on our ways.

Maybe it depends on where you live.
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Old 07-26-06, 02:37 PM   #8
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MTBs are so common and weekend warrior and recreationalists ride them as well as the hard core bikers. Odds are, the vast majority of the hybrid and MTB riders didn't have a clue. Also, in their defense, as a former MTB rider, I don't ever remember getting a flat on the trail. And until recently, I never carried a spare tube. And that was only because I was doing longer rides(at least 10 miles out) on glass strewn roads. 10 miles is a long walk. Any trails I have been on, never had any glass. They were also mostly loops, so I was never far from the car or home. If I got a flat, I would have just walked it home or to the car. You just don't have to plan for flats like you do on a road bike.
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Old 07-26-06, 02:56 PM   #9
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My one gripe about the local riding trail is that there so many peds who make the wrong move when I call out 'passing on your left'. I've taken to slowing down before I pass. On the other hand, I do carry a first aid packet and have found others who were in need of it several times. People do appreciate it when you have the stuff to stop the bleeding. Start carrying one if you don't already. bk
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Old 07-26-06, 03:00 PM   #10
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I've had motorists stop and offer to help when I've been changing a flat on the sidewalk. Everybody seems to stop on the bike trail around here, not really bike-specific. Maybe the trail does does have a higher than typical percentage of people 'going somewhere' rather than just wandering and returning.
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Old 07-26-06, 03:07 PM   #11
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It's all about good Karma...I always stop to help=someone will stop when I need it.
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Old 07-26-06, 03:24 PM   #12
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I'll pretty much always ask "you ok?" but so far, every response has been affirmitive. Then last Sunday I came up on what must have been the 10th flat I saw that afternoon (organized ride), and instead of asking "you ok?" I said "you need help?" and the gentleman replied with much more than a "yep," --he said words to the affect of 'got everything under control, thanks for asking " So I think I'll be asking 'need help?' instead from now on--it may be less intrusive?
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Old 07-26-06, 07:02 PM   #13
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Quote:
Originally Posted by Little Darwin
So, I think it is not the type of bike, but the individual... maybe different by region, or time of day, or specific trail...
+1 My only bike right now is a mountain bike so I ride it everywhere. My road rides are anywhere from 15-40 miles so I'm very much prepared for flats, mechanical issues, and I carry a mini-first aid kit just in case. If I come upon a rider on the side of the road/path I always ask if the person needs help. Last week was the first time I was actually flagged down by a roadie. The guy was on his way to work, flatted and needed air. Unfortunately my mini-pump doesn't handle 120 psi too well and I didn't have any co2 on me so I wasn't much help, but we did have a good 15ish minutes conversation about bikes and whatnot.
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Old 07-26-06, 07:13 PM   #14
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On my new commute (where there actually are other bikers) I've gotten numerous offers of help when I had a flat. I've only helped one person, although I've offered a number of times most people just say "no thanks". One guy went so far as to explain the reason he was taking his bike for a walk was not a flat tire, but he'd busted off the derailler... I didn't have a repair for that one .
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Old 07-26-06, 08:33 PM   #15
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i always offer if it's a road bike - i have the right size tube and co2. if it's not, i just ask if they're ok - i figure if they need a cell phone, they'll ask. i've been stopped and had noone offer (even in the middle of nowhere country, a roadie passed and didn't give me a second look - i guess my damsel in distress look is more "red faced and competently fixing the flat"), and been stopped and had ten people offer. it's like holding a door for others...sometimes good, sometimes you become the bellhop.
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Old 07-26-06, 08:36 PM   #16
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Same thing happened to me 2 years ago. I was in a forest on this paved trail with a flat, and only a roadie stopped and helped me. He took off everything and fixed it.
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Old 07-26-06, 09:49 PM   #17
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Quote:
Originally Posted by bkaapcke
My one gripe about the local riding trail is that there so many peds who make the wrong move when I call out 'passing on your left'. I've taken to slowing down before I pass.
Umm... generally pedestrians have the right of way on trails. So, slowing down before you pass is a good thing. Just remember it the next time a car slows down to pass you when you're riding on the road (or doesn't, and buzzes you so close you think you're going to crash)

I almost always slow down when I see pedestrians on the path... the exception being when they see me before I slow down, and move over more for me.
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Old 07-26-06, 09:54 PM   #18
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I almost always offer help... and I have plenty of help to give, considering I do all my own work on my bikes, and I carry a pretty complete tool kit on the road with me... (commuter habit... I sure don't want to be late to work because I didn't bother to bring my chain tool with me and I pop a link) .... So, I most likely could have helped even the guy with the busted derailleur (Pull the derailleur off, shorten up the chain, instant single speed... Much better than walking, especially if it's a good distance)

I've stopped and helped several cyclists, including one high school kid trying to get to football practice... not only straightened his wheel in the dropouts, I trued it up a bit, so it wasn't rubbing on the frame (it was REALLY bad... I suggested he stop in at a bike shop ASAP) and a roadie who'd been walking his bike for an hour and was still 10 miles from where he parked his truck. (Flat tire... didn't think he'd need a pump and a patch kit with his brand new $1200 bike )
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Old 07-26-06, 10:20 PM   #19
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As mentioned, most path riders aren't very "hard core" and I doubt most would know how to patch a tube if they had to, let alone carry the supplies.

I generally expect a cyclist with any know-how to be carrying his/her own patch kit and pump or CO2, so I'd never expect anyone to offer assistance to me while patching a tube. I don't usually ask if someone needs help with a flat unless they appear helpless.
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Old 07-27-06, 07:20 AM   #20
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Probably the only ones that offered help are the only ones that have a clue on how to fix a flat.
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Old 07-27-06, 06:57 PM   #21
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In my neck of the woods, we have a state park called Island lake (cement path and MTB trails) on one side of the freeway, and a metro park called Kensington (cement path only) on the other side. Riders in the metro park never stop and ask if you need help, which is typically because they don't know how to service their own bike, much less yours. Then on the state park 85% of riders (myself included), regardless of which type of bike they have stop and eagerly offer to help. A big reason for this is that the novices are scared of signs that indicate that state land can be hunted, and experienced riders are sick of accidents and near accidents with wreckless novices.
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Old 07-27-06, 07:16 PM   #22
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Originally Posted by Nermal
Well, hopefully, the roadies were the only ones who go far enough to worry about flats, and nobody else had patches, and whatever <shrugs>

Sorry you brought up the peds. They're one of my sore points, at least those deafened by those little things sticking out of their ears.
Quite possible. On the beach bikepath South of Santa Monica there is a nice area on the inside of a sweeping 180 degree turn. I often would stop there to catch some sun and relax. One time I made a bit of a survey of bikes going by. Less than 10% showed any evidence of a pump of any kind. This was long enough ago that true mini CO2 inflaters did not exist. Most had no saddle bag either. So It woul dnot surprise me if the vast majority on MTN or comfort bikes had neither the tools or knowledge to help. (Appologies to true Mountian riders who would of course have both).
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